Sen. Joni Ernst protects taxpayers

Fights wasteful spending at the Department of Defense

There aren’t many members of the U.S. Senate who are stronger advocates of a strong military than Sen. Joni Ernst. The Iowa Republican is also is among the best-informed federal officials about defense matters. She served in the U.S. military for nearly a quarter century before being elected to the Senate. Ernst retired from the Iowa Army National Guard as a lieutenant colonel. She is the first female combat veteran to serve in the Senate. The nation benefits from that background and her valuable military experience through Ernst’s service on the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services.

Despite Ernst’s unrelenting determination to make sure that our armed services have the funding needed to excel, she is equally committed to ensuring that the tax dollars they receive are spent frugally. That’s why she has responded aggressively to a Government Accountability Office finding that the Pentagon has an inefficient storage and inventory system that is wasting huge amounts of money each year. To bring about needed changes, Ernst has introduced the Defense Storage and Supply Efficiency Improvement Act.

According to the GAO, the Defense Logistics Agency, which manages DoD’s global supply chain, is spending vast sums to store more than 768,000 items, many of which it is argued are likely to never be used. Additionally, the GAO report contends that many storage facilities are underutilized or unneeded. Ernst wants to facilitate a consolidation and restructuring of these venues that she says could save about $500 million. Her proposed legislation seeks to make that savings possible. It also provides for regular congressional oversight of the changes DoD undertakes to achieve these efficiencies.

“When it comes to our military, it’s critical we make sure every single dollar we spend is used in the most efficient way possible,” Ernst said in a statement calling for support of this legislation. “There’s no excuse for hundreds of millions of dollars to go to waste for keeping underused and unneeded warehouses open. The Pentagon has asked Congress for the authority to rid themselves of some of these storage facilities, but they lack the authority to do it. My common sense legislation gives the DoD the authority to consolidate these massively inefficient warehouses and will save taxpayers in Iowa and across the country millions.”

The Messenger applauds Ernst’s effort to eliminate government waste. We urge her colleagues in Congress to give her Defense Storage and Supply Efficiency Improvement Act careful consideration. We strongly agree with the senator’s view that making sure our tax dollars aren’t spent unnecessarily is a top priority. We wish that more members of Congress shared her dedication to seeking out and eliminating bureaucratic inefficiencies.