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Congressman John Duncan

Representing the 2nd District of Tennessee


Both sides of the aisle are afraid to criticize the Pentagon or vote against any defense spending, no matter how high, for fear of appearing to be unpatriotic. However, it really is unpatriotic to never question or oppose unbelievably wasteful spending just because it is being done by the Defense Department.

We are now spending more on defense than all other nations combined, and those who believe in world government are seeing it in action through this Department.

Because it is so unpopular today to criticize even wasteful spending by the Defense Department, a December 1, 2008, column by Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan was almost amazing. Admiral Shanahan is the former commander of the U.S. Second Fleet. He wrote:

“Our government is sinking $700 billion in taxpayer dollars into a system riddled with waste, and often incapable of tracking where the money goes. No, I’m not talking about Wall Street. The teetering enterprise in question is actually the Pentagon. The U.S. defense establishment is in dire need of a rescue. But unlike Wall Street, where we threw billions of dollars at the problem, a Pentagon bailout requires taking money away - and fast.”

The only thing I would add is that we are spending more than $700 billion a year now when you count not only the regular appropriation, but also emergency, supplemental and omnibus appropriations, and military construction appropriations, which are all in separate bills.

Admiral Shanahan said the Defense Department’s “culture of easy money and no accountability eventually endangers us all.”

The main reason that defense costs have exploded so much in recent years is that almost all federal contracts - defense and non-defense - are sweetheart, insider deals given to firms that employ former government employees.

A GAO study found that in 2006, 52 contractors employed 2,435 former generals, admirals and high-ranking Defense Department employees. Two-thirds were hired by SAIC, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton, L3 Communications, General Dynamics, and Raytheon.

This is also why there is so much pressure to keep expanding the mission of the Defense Department from one of national defense to doing anything and everything around the world. It is all more about money and power than it is about real threats to the U.S.

More on Defense

April 7, 2017 Press Release
While I do not think we should become entangled in another ground war in the Middle-East, this measured response was appropriate to send the message that the United States will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons to murder innocent civilians, especially children.
June 10, 2015 Speeches

Mr. Speaker, several weeks ago, I spoke to about 200 people at the famous Willard Hotel in Washington in a program put on by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. I had been told that this was a group of CEOs and owners of major companies in southern California--obviously, a very upper-income group.

I got to a point in my speech when I said: ``It is long past the time we need to stop trying to run the whole world and start putting our own people in our own country first once again.''

May 13, 2015 In The News
Rep. Duncan shares thoughts on war, trade and trains during an appearance on C-SPAN's Washington Journal program.
April 25, 2015 Editorials


The following article by U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. appeared in The American Conservative in April 2015:

April 24, 2015 In The News
Republicans once stood for peace through strength, not endless war.
February 12, 2015 In The News
"If we have to go to war against ISIS,” Duncan said, “we need to get in and get it over with and not drag it out for 13 or 14 years like the Afghanistan war.
February 11, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. released the following statement Wednesday in response to President Obama’s request for use of military force against ISIS:

I am reviewing the Authorization for Use of Military Force draft very closely and keeping watch for any changes to it that will likely occur in the coming days.

If we do have to go to war against ISIS, we need to get in and get it over with and not drag it out for 13 or 14 years like the Afghanistan war.