Mad Dog gets some Mad Money
In an unprecedented move, Congress has effectively given Sec/Def Jim Mattis $28.6 billion in Mad Money over and above the regular $658.1 billion defense budget, with few real strings attached. Theoretically, he’s required to give Congress a fifteen day notice before he actually disburses any of the funds but as Sydney Freedberg, writing for Breaking Defense, notes, blocking a specific expenditure would require new legislation and Congress simply lacks the ability to move that fast.
While $28.6 billion seems small potatoes juxtaposed against that total budget, consider that it could buy a few squadrons of the new F-35B Lightning II fighter as well as a couple of Landing Helicopter Carriers or Amphibious Assault Ships to serve as mobile bases for those fighters, greatly expanding America’s ability to extend her power and influence in B-level hot spots around the world without bringing in a huge super carrier task force. Or ponder that in an outbreak of major conflict, we could be stinging our enemies with our fifth generation fighters from multitudes of floating bases rather than our obvious, easily targeted carrier task forces. Look at it as smacking our enemies with a smaller, yet every bit as persuasive, mailed fist.
Freedberg has a lot of informative graphs about military spending and how this much needed bit of congressional lagniappe could effect it accompanying his article so go there and take a look. It’s an informative read for those who follow defense spending.