Coburn Outlines $68 Billion in Defense Cuts

Beef jerky roll-ups, a coffee break app, and robots playing with children… These are some of the items detailed in a new report released by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) which identifies what he describes as “non-defense” spending taking place within DoD that he says should be cut.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has released a report which outlines how the Department of Defense can save $67.9 billion over ten years by making cuts to what Dr. Coburn describes as “non-defense” spending which is any spending that DoD can cut without instituting cuts to vital defense priorities.

Coburn has identified five areas which he says have nothing to do with national security that are outlined in the report:

  • Non-Military Research and Development ($6 billion)
  • Education ($15.2 billion)
  • Alternative Energy ($700 million)
  • Grocery Stores ($9 billion)
  • Overhead, Support and Supply Services ($37 billion)

Some of the specific wasteful items cited in the report include:

  • Pentagon raids weapons funding to develop its own brand of beef jerky roll-ups
  • A study using robots as playmates for children
  • Studying the science behind storytelling to determine if how a story is told will impact understanding and comprehension of listeners
  • Development of a phone app to let you know when its time for your next coffee break

“I prepared this report because the American people expect the Pentagon’s $600 billion annual budget to go toward our nation’s defense,” Dr. Coburn said. “That isn’t happening. Billions of defense dollars are being spent on programs and missions that have little or nothing to do with national security, or are already being performed by other government agencies. Spending more on grocery stores than guns doesn’t make any sense. And using defense dollars to run microbreweries, study Twitter slang, create beef jerky, or examine Star Trek does nothing to defend our nation.”

The full report, “Department of Everything,” offers additional details on wasteful spending programs identified by Dr. Coburn.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.