Tester: Cut spending on unnecessary overseas military construction

Senator leads bipartisan group making recommendation to joint committee

(U.S. SENATE) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester and a bipartisan group of Senators have a money-saving recommendation for the bipartisan committee in charge of recommending to Congress $1.5 trillion in spending cuts: Consider cutting overseas military construction projects that have “minimal negative impacts” on U.S. security and military readiness.

In a letter to the joint committee, Tester noted that a lack of cost information for military construction projects leads to billions in wasted spending.  He also believes that advanced military capabilities decrease the need for outdated overseas bases.

Tester added that the Defense Department has failed to properly analyze costs for base projects.

“We believe that significant savings can be achieved by dramatically reducing our overseas military presence, halting associated overseas military construction and returning those forces to installations with adequate existing infrastructure in place in the United States,” Tester and his colleagues wrote.

Tester in May asked the Defense Department to consider closing Cold War-era military bases and installations on foreign soil—a move that would save taxpayers billions of dollars.  Tester noted that the United States still operates 268 military installations in Germany and 124 in Japan.

Tester and his colleagues are now pointing to numerous examples where a lack of cost information could result in billions of wasted taxpayer dollars.

“We believe that in these difficult financial times, taxpayers deserve to have assurances, and funding should be significantly reduced until those assurances are provided,” Tester wrote.  “It’s the Defense Department’s responsibility to prove that it needs these taxpayer dollars.  And with our federal debt a serious issue, the time to address wasted spending is now, not down the road.”

Tester is an outspoken advocate for cutting government spending and the national debt.  He supports cutting trillions in spending and debt using the proposal put forward by the bipartisan debt commission late last year as a starting point.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) all signed Tester’s letter to the joint committee.

Tester’s letter appears online HERE.