Posts Tagged ‘Department of Defense’

Irradiated U.S. veterans to get help from Japan

July 11, 2017

Former diplomat Peter Van Buren reported on his web log how the U.S. Department of Defense rejected claims by U.S. troops who were irradiated during rescue efforts at the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster.   It has fallen to a former Japanese prime minister to come to their aid.

Junichiro Koizumi

The U.S. Navy rushed thousands of troops to the scene in 2011 to help Japanese disaster victims, after an earthquake and tsunami caused meltdown of the Fukushima plant.

A few years later, hundreds of them began to report symptoms of radiation disease—rectal and gynecological bleeding, thyroid problems, leukemia and testicular and brain cancers, Van Buren said.  Some had worked in the area of the nuclear disaster, some had flown over it and some had drunk desalinated sea water from the contaminated ocean.

The U.S. Department of Defense, relying on information from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), said they couldn’t possibly have received high enough levels of radiation to be harmful.   Some 400 service members are suing TEPCO, but this lawsuit will take years to resolve, and seven of the plaintiffs already have died.

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who left office five years before the disaster, has started a fund-raising appeal to raise $1 million to help the U.S. veterans pay medical bills.   Van Buren said Koizumi already has raised $400,000 through lecture fees.

As an American, I am grateful to Prime Minister Koizumi and ashamed of this example of U.S. government neglect of American veterans.

LINK

Abandoned by U.S. Government, Irradiated Servicemembers Turn to Japan for Help by Peter Van Buren for We Meant Well.

Pentagon spending out of control

August 22, 2015
What $8.5 trillion looks like

What $8.5 trillion looks like

My friend Mike Connelly e-mailed me a link to an article on the Antimedia web site pointing out the lack of auditing or spending controls by the Pentagon, along with a helpful graphic showing just how much the Department of Defense has spent since 1996.

The article was based on a three-part series in Reuters news service in 2013 about how nobody knew exactly how much money was being spent or for what, and the general lack of financial control.

As one example, Scot Paltrow quoted Admiral Mark Harnicheck, head of the Defense Logistics Agency, as saying “we have about $14 billion in inventory for various reasons, and probably half of that is in excess of what me need.”   Note the “probably.”  He didn’t really know

The Reuters articles reminded me of a similar series in the Washington Post in 2010 reporting the same situation in regard to secret intelligence and national security agencies.  There, too, nobody knew the extent of what was being done, how much was being spent or whether it was effective.

Claire Bernish, author of the Antimedia article, was rightly concerned about money being wasted being wasted on the military that could be better spent on other national priorities or left in the pockets of American taxpayers.

I have another concern.  Just how effective can the U.S. armed forces be if the Secretary of Defense can’t set priorities or know just what the department’s budget is being spent for?

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U.S. contract workers cost 2X civil servants

December 18, 2013

DoDcontractors.v.personnel

When Eastman Kodak Co. was downsizing in the 1980s, it sometimes happened that a laid-off worker went back to work at Kodak as an employee of a temporary help agency.  There were cases where they were hired to do the same jobs that they had done before—except at lower pay and with little or no benefits.

Investigative reporter David Cay Johnson wrote that it doesn’t work that way with the federal government’s contract workers.

The budget deal just worked out between the White House and Capitol Hill … does nothing to curtail wasteful spending on companies that are among the nation’s richest and most powerful – from Booz Allen Hamilton, the $6 billion-a-year management-consulting firm, to Boeing, the defense contractor boasting $82 billion in worldwide sales.

In theory, these contractors are supposed to save taxpayer money, as efficient, bottom-line-oriented corporate behemoths.  In reality, they end up costing twice as much as civil servants … . Defense contractors like Boeing and Northrop Grumman cost almost three times as much.

via Newsweek.

The federal government does not count the number of its contract employees.  Prof. Paul C. Light of New York University is widely quoted as saying that, based on government procurement data, the number of employees working on government contracts exceeds the combined total of federal civil servants, postal workers and members of the armed forces, and employment of contract workers is increasing faster.

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