5 of the Most Ridiculous Things the United States Military Has Spent Money On
In her latest fight for the people, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) railed against executives from an aerospace supplier at a House Oversight Committee hearing.
During her face-off with manufacturing company TransDigm at the hearing, AOC questioned the company’s alleged price gouging on a small metal part, called a “non-vehicular clutch disc,” that the government purchases for the Department of Defense.
According to the congresswoman from the Bronx, the part is about 3 inches in size and costs TransDigm $32 to produce — which is why she’s pissed the company is charging $1,443 per disc. The company reportedly sold the government 149 discs for $215,000.
“A pair of jeans can cost $32 imagine paying over $1,000 for that,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Are you aware of how many doses of insulin we could get for that margin? I could’ve gotten over 1,500 people insulin for the cost of the margin of your price gouging for these vehicular discs alone.”
It’s not the first time Ocasio-Cortez has gone after military spending. She’s done it on Twitter and while cooking coconut curry shrimp on Instagram live. It makes her just one in a long line of people who have been critical of excessive military spending.
And this time, it worked! She tweeted Monday that the government had secured $16 million in refunds from TransDigm.
But AOC’s callout isn’t the first time the military has been caught spending money on something ridiculous — and it doesn’t always end with a refund. Here’s a roundup of ridiculous military expenses to potentially fuel your next Instagram live rant.
Back in 2004, the Army reportedly spent $5 billion to create and manufacture a new uniform with an improved camouflage pattern that would blend in anywhere. The result was the massively unpopular pixelated camouflage that literally did the opposite of its goal and had soldiers feeling like they were actually standing out. The Army ended up having to buy new uniforms.
President Trump’s ban on transgender military servicemembers caused a big hubub over spending with an even higher cost: “medical care” for erectile dysfunction. As noted by the Military Times, total military spending on erectile dysfunction medicine totaled $84 million in 2014 — 10 times the cost of annual transition-related medical care for active-duty transgender servicemembers.
At sporting events, honoring hometown troops can come with a hefty price. A report from a few years back conducted by now late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and then Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) revealed that the Department of Defense was spending millions of dollars on contracts with major sports leagues and teams.
According to The Washington Post, the military gave over $10 million to NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS leagues. The contracts — referred to as “paid patriotism” — paid for services like a surprise meet-and-greet with a player for a soldier returning from deployment, videoboard messages, or military members holding a large U.S. flag for a military appreciation game, according to SB Nation.
In 2015, an Alaska Air Force base paid more than $1,580 for 1,600 tubes of “fruity lip moisturizers” with a sticker on the packaging that encouraged military members to ask for consent. About 400 were distributed by the base’s sexual assault response coordinator office as a free promotional item, according to the Air Force Times.