Rapid Fire Jan. 30, 2013: Defense Dealings Lack Transparency
- Non-profit Transparency International asserts [PDF] that a vast majority of countries exert little, if any, political oversight of defense policy or scrutiny of defense procurement. Only Australia and Germany are ranked as at “very low risk” of defense-related corruption, followed by 7 low-risk countries including the US and the UK. Unsurprisingly Saudi Arabia is the worst-ranking country among major arms importers.
- The Peter G. Peterson Foundation thinks the recent legislation passed in the US to avoid the fiscal cliff “does not come close to solving longer-run structural deficits, nor does it yield significant improvements to our 10-year budget outlook.” Even sequestration – which looks more likely each day – would only buy a few more years. Only taming healthcare costs can put the federal debt back to a sustainable course.
- US Undersecretary of Defense Ash Carter recently acknowledged in an interview with Defense News that the Pentagon and the services had been quietly working on sequestration planning for a while (despite their repeated claims to the contrary) in order to avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the end it looks like pretending to be playing ostrich did not make a difference, but this explains why they do have some amount of guidance ready, like this memo and budget presentation [PDFs] from the Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations (via Navy Times).