As defense budgets trend downward, retired Marine Major General Arnold Punaro has emerged as a key player in the military reform debate. The former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Georgetown University professor has launched a one-man campaign to change how the Pentagon compensates personnel and acquires weapons. He’s made a lot of enemies since a Defense Business Board task force he chaired in 2010 warned that 340,000 uniform personnel were being paid top dollar to perform “commercial” functions that could be accomplished far more cheaply by civilians. Now he’s back with new analyses in his capacity as chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board finding that the fully loaded cost of each active-duty soldier, sailor and airman is an eye-popping $400,000 annually. Punaro says if the Pentagon doesn’t get back to fundamentals and stop wasting money, there’s no way it can afford to maintain the world-class military we have today. I have written a commentary on the larger-than-life General Punaro for Forbes that you can read here.
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