Pentagon insider reveals shortfalls

Will Caverly

Pentagon insider Chuck Spinney lectured at the University on Monday, speaking on his experiences as an employee of the federal government. His lecture, titled “Versailles on the Potomac – A Quick Trip Through the American Hall of Mirrors,” focused on how the American people are under-represented in Washington, D.C.

Spinney also discussed his research on various historical budgets and compared them to the current Bush administration budget. Furthermore, Spinney compared the actual costs of military projects to the projected costs, using the F/A-18 fighter jet to illustrate the loss of millions of dollars over the course of the project.

The Pentagon insider also compared the cost of military spending in the United States to that of other countries.

“This is the most uncertain era we have ever lived in,” Spinney said, referring to weaknesses of high-tech military techniques against terrorists who operate in secret and use unusual means to accomplish their goal. He also pointed out the severe problems with Social Security and admitted that the future of the program was questionable.

Spinney emphasized that the facts and numbers he referred to could be found on government web sites.

“He made great points … he gives the context,” Chris Davidson of the philosophy department said. “You need to fill in the gaps.”

Spinney worked for the federal government for 30 years and recently retired from the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation in the Pentagon. Prior to working at the Pentagon, Spinney served in the Air Force.

He authored the Defense Facts of Life Report, commonly known at the Spinney Report, which outlines many of the problems with government defense spending. It stated that if continued, defense spending trends could lead to severe budget problems.

Spinney testified in front of Congress in 1983 and was pictured on the front cover of Time magazine during the same year.