Mandy Smithberger

Mandy Smithberger

Mandy Smithberger is the director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).

Articles by this author

Pentagon logo is seen ahead of a press conference on January 28, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia on January 28, 2021. (Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) Views
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Why the Pentagon Budget Keeps Rising
The first 100 days of President Joe Biden's administration have come and gone. While somewhat exaggerated , that milestone is normally considered the honeymoon period for any new president. Buoyed by a recent election triumph and inauguration, he's expected to be at the peak of his power when it...
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Make no mistake: the addiction to Pentagon spending is a bipartisan problem in Washington. (Photo: Staff/AFP via Getty Images) Views
Tuesday, March 02, 2021
The Pentagon, First, Last, and Always
This country is in a crisis of the first order. More than half a million of us have died thanks to Covid-19. Food insecurity is on the rise , with nearly 24 million Americans going hungry, including 12 million children. Unemployment claims filed since the pandemic began have now reached 93 million...
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Two decades into the twenty-first century, it’s clear that more money for the Pentagon hasn’t made this country safer.  (Photo: Stock photo/Getty) Views
Thursday, January 28, 2021
How the National Security State Has Come to Dominate a "Civilian" Government
This month’s insurrection at the Capitol revealed the dismal failure of the Capitol Police and the Department of Defense to use their expertise and resources to thwart a clear and present danger to our democracy. As the government reform group Public Citizen tweeted , “If you’re spending $740,000,...
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The arms makers and their allies in Congress and the executive branch won’t give up without a fight when it comes to the pandemic of Pentagon spending. (Photo: Master Sgt. Ken Hammond / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons) Views
Monday, November 30, 2020
The Pandemic of Pentagon Spending
Now that Joe Biden is slated to take office as the 46th president of the United States, advice on how he should address a wide range of daunting problems is flooding in. Nowhere is there more at stake than when it comes to how he handles this country’s highly militarized foreign policy in general...
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"Continuing to prioritize the Pentagon over the needs of every other agency and Americans more generally keeps us on a glidepath to disaster," writes Smithberger. (Photo: Peace Education Center/Flickr/cc) Views
Monday, September 14, 2020
National (In)Security and the Pentagon Budget
The inadequate response of both the federal and state governments to the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the United States, creating what could only be called a national security crisis. More than 190,000 Americans are dead, approximately half of them people of color . Yelp data...
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While Americans are overwhelmed by the pandemic, the Pentagon and its boosters are exploiting the emergency to feather their own nests. (Photo: Master Sgt. Ken Hammond / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons) Views
Monday, June 29, 2020
Covid-19 Means Good Times for the Pentagon
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Washington has initiated its largest spending binge in history. In the process, you might assume that the unparalleled spread of the disease would have led to a little rethinking when it came to all the trillions of dollars Congress has given the Pentagon in...
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A man wearing a mask checks his phone in Times Square in New York on March 22, 2020.(Photo: Kena Betancur / AFP - Getty Images) Views
Monday, May 04, 2020
Beware the Pentagon's Pandemic Profiteers
At this moment of unprecedented crisis, you might think that those not overcome by the economic and mortal consequences of the coronavirus would be asking, “What can we do to help?” A few companies have indeed pivoted to making masks and ventilators for an overwhelmed medical establishment...
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Shouldn’t the U.S. military be made into a far leaner and more agile force geared to actual defense instead of disastrous wars (and preparations for more of the same) across a significant swath of the planet? (Photo: Master Sgt. Ken Hammond / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons) Views
Monday, March 02, 2020
Letting the Pentagon Loose With Your Tax Dollars
Hold on to your helmets! It’s true the White House is reporting that its proposed new Pentagon budget is only $740.5 billion, a relatively small increase from the previous year’s staggering number. In reality, however, when you also include war and security costs buried in the budgets of other...
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For too long Congress has largely abdicated its responsibilities when it comes to holding the Pentagon accountable. (Photo: Master Sgt. Ken Hammond / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons) Views
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
How The Military-Industrial Complex Gets Away With Murder in Contract After Contract
Call it a colossal victory for a Pentagon that hasn't won a war in this century, but not for the rest of us. Congress only recently passed and the president approved one of the largest Pentagon budgets ever. It will surpass spending at the peaks of both the Korean and Vietnam wars. As last year...
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Revolving-door hires and former defense executives in government remain a powerful force for the status quo in Pentagon spending. (Photo: Master Sgt. Ken Hammond / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons) Views
Friday, September 27, 2019
Bestselling Pentagon Fiction: Beware of Defense Secretaries Pledging Reform
For the Pentagon, happy days are here again (if they ever left). With a budget totaling more than $1.4 trillion for the next two years, the department is riding high, even as it attempts to set the stage for yet more spending increases in the years to come. With such enormous sums now locked in,...
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