The Pentagon‘s budget has been a long–standing source of contention between the Republican and Democratic parties. Despite the massive budget increase proposed by the Biden administration for the 2024 fiscal year, Republican lawmakers are still questioning where the money is being allocated.
This week, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was pressed on spending priorities by comedian Jon Stewart during a symposium put on by the War Horse at the University of Chicago. While the conversation was about “The Human Impact of Military Service,” the most contentious point came when Stewart brought up the Department of Defense’s trouble keeping track of its funds and equipment.
The 2022 audit, released in November, marked the fifth year the Pentagon had failed its audit, and the most recent Pentagon audit found that the military could not account for more than 60 percent of its assets. Stewart argued that this reflects “waste, fraud and abuse” and that the Department of Defense has been given a $50 billion raise despite these shortcomings.
Okay who gave Jon Stewart the manifesto pic.twitter.com/JQHncLdc34
— 🏴 (@corncommunist) April 9, 2023
Hicks argued that the results of the audit do not show corruption, and asked Stewart to explain what he saw was the issue with the Pentagon’s budget. Stewart noted that despite the large budget, many service members and their families are still struggling with food insecurity.
This is a point of contention for Republicans, who feel that the Biden administration’s proposed budget increases are not going to the right places. Although the military is aiming to boost pay by 5.2 percent this year, it is not clear if this is enough to effectively address the needs of service members.
The Republican party has long been advocating for more effective management of the Department of Defense’s budget and a better allocation of funds. This debate will continue to be a point of contention between the parties.