Good morning!

Would you pay $1,220 for a coffee cup?

The Department of Defense (DoD) did. Twenty-five of them! 

With the federal government spending more than $8 million every minute, costs seem to get lost in Washington.

That needs to change.

As a combat veteran, one of my key priorities is to make sure our nation’s military has the resources to perform its critical duty in protecting our homeland. Part of that effort means making sure no dollar provided to the DoD goes to waste, so our servicemembers have the support they need and taxpayers can be assured their hard earned money is being spent wisely.

While there’s no question DoD-sponsored projects have led to improved capabilities for our military and technological breakthroughs, the Pentagon also has made its share of budgetary blunders.

Here are just a few questionable Pentagon projects that might not have been funded with a little more scrutiny…

  • Puppy Personalities: A $209,000 Office of Naval Research (ONR) grant that measured the “sociability” of 18 domesticated dogs of various breeds.
  • Trek-nology:  A $25,000 Air Force study to examine the physics of teleportation, a theoretical concept involving “the instantaneous and or disembodied conveyance of objects through space,” other dimensions, and “parallel universes.” The report recommends spending $7.5 million to develop the teleportation technology.
  • Distracting Doughnuts: A study funded from a $3.9 million DoD grant with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to examine whether junk foods are more distracting than healthy foods. The study concluded doughnuts, pizza, and ice cream are about twice as distracting as carrots, apples and salads.
  • Spidey Sense: In a study titled “More than a Feeling,” ONR is spending $3.85 million investigating “Spidey Sense,” the tingling sensation the fictional comic book character Spider-Man experiences when in impending danger.
  • Cheating Robots: A study funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NSF to understand if cheating makes robots more human-like. This project involved 20 rounds of the game “Rock-Paper-Scissors” played between 60 human participants who were individually pitted against a humanoid robot that was programmed to cheat.

May Squeal Award: the Pentagon

For these reasons, I’m giving my May Squeal Award to the Pentagon for out-of-control wasteful spending.

What I'm doing about it

Putting an “easy-to-see” price tag on federally-funded projects makes spending more transparent and accountable, while ensuring your hard-earned tax dollars are used most effectively.

That’s why earlier this year I introduced the Cost Openness and Spending Transparency (COST) Act that would put a price tag on every project funded by the federal government. This gives YOU, the taxpayer, the ability to decide whether or not the price is right.

As a first step to improving accountability of the Pentagon’s spending, I’m proposing a measure to the National Defense Authorization Act—the annual Defense spending bill—that would apply the COST Act specifically to the DOD.

Do you have an example of government waste or inefficiencies that I should take a look at? Send me an email by clicking here.

Thank you!