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December 5, 2016
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After a 2015 internal study requested by Pentagon leaders suggested that $125 billion was spent on administrative waste in its business operations, the report was quickly hidden over concerns Congress might use the information to cut the defense budget, The Washington Post reports.

Through interviews and confidential memos, the Post discovered that the point of the study was to make the Pentagon's back-office bureaucracy more efficient, and the money saved would then be reinvested in combat power. The Defense Business Board, looking at personnel and cost data, found that the Pentagon was spending $134 billion of its $580 billion budget on overhead and operations like human resources, accounting, and property management. More than 1 million people work in business operations, nearly as many as the 1.3 million active-duty troops. The report recommended early retirements and attrition, making better use of information technology, and cutting back on expensive contractors in order to save $125 billion over five years, the Post says. It did not suggest any layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel.

This report didn't go over well with some Pentagon leaders, who had no idea how much money was being spent on these operations and worried that by showcasing administrative waste, Congress and the White House might slash their budget, the Post says. A summary report had been made public, but was removed from the Pentagon's website, and they placed secrecy restrictions on the data. "They're all complaining that they don't have any money," Bobby Stein, who served as chairman of the Defense Business Board, told the Post. "We proposed a way to save a ton of money." He called the data "indisputable," and said it was a "travesty" for the Pentagon to keep the results hidden. "We're going to be in peril because we're spending dollars like it doesn't matter."

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work, the second-highest-ranking official at the Pentagon, told the Post he didn't dispute the findings about the size and scope of the Pentagon's bureaucracy, but said the $125 billion savings proposal was "unrealistic" and the board did not understand how difficult it would be to cut so many federal civil service jobs. Read more about the report, how it was developed, and Defense Secretary Ash Carter's reaction to it at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

12:37 p.m. ET
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The Argentine navy has been unable to make contact with one of its submarines, a diesel-powered craft carrying 44 crewmembers, since Wednesday, Argentine officials confirmed Saturday. Naval authorities have ordered "all terrestrial communication stations along the Argentine coast to carry out a preliminary and extended search of communications," and the U.S. military is assisting the search with aerial surveillance.

TheARA San Juan has been in service since 1983 and has operated without incident throughout most of that time. It was on a routine trip up the eastern coast of South America to its home port of Mar del Plata when communications capabilities apparently failed without warning. The submarine crew did not send an SOS signal before going silent, and the ship was last seen near the San Jorge Gulf, about halfway through its journey from the southern tip of the continent. Naval policy dictates the sub should surface after spending this much time incommunicado.

The ARA San Juan is due to arrive in Mar del Plata on Sunday. Bonnie Kristian

11:27 a.m. ET

AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young died Saturday, three years after he was diagnosed with dementia and retired from the band. He was 64. "With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band," said a statement posted on AC/DC's Facebook page. "He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed."

Born in Scotland and raised in Australia, Young co-founded AC/DC in 1973 with his brother Angus Young as lead guitarist. "As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special," Angus wrote in the Facebook post. "He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever." Their brother George, who also worked in the music industry, died last month at 70. Bonnie Kristian

10:33 a.m. ET

The Navy on Friday confirmed responsibility for an obscene sky drawing made by a practicing aircrew over the town of Okanogan, Washington, northeast of Seattle.

The crew of an EA-18G Growler attack jet flew the plane in a pattern that "left a condensed air trail resembling an obscene image to observers on the ground," a Navy representative said. "The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value," officials added, "and we are holding the crew accountable" for the phallic drawing.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it will not be involved unless there was a safety violation because the agency "cannot police morality." Bonnie Kristian

10:26 a.m. ET
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Beijing said in state media reports Saturday "the traditional friendly relations between China and North Korea was founded and cultivated by both countries former old leaders, and is valuable wealth for the two peoples." The comments come after meetings in Pyongyang between representatives of both governments Friday.

The timing of the talks so soon after President Trump's conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping during Trump's tour of Asia has led to speculation that Beijing may have conveyed a message from Washington. Pyongyang said Friday nuclear diplomacy will not proceed unless the U.S. and South Korea stop conducting joint military exercises. Bonnie Kristian

10:16 a.m. ET
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Former Secretary of State Hillary on Friday drew a contrast between Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is "accepting responsibility, apologizing" for sexual misconduct allegations made against him, and President Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, "who have done neither."

Her remarks came a day after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky scandal, while allowing that the political climate surrounding sexual misconduct was different in the 1990s. "Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances, there should be a very different reaction," Gillibrand said. "And I think in light of this conversation, we should have a very different conversation about President Trump, and a very different conversation about allegations against him."

Gillibrand is historically a Clinton ally, and her comments are the latest development in the Democratic Party's renewed debate and division over sexual harassment and assault accusations against Bill Clinton. Clinton defenders argue it is disingenuous to suggest the former president escaped consequences for his behavior by putting him in the same category as Trump and Moore. Bonnie Kristian

10:01 a.m. ET

Thousands of Zimbabweans marched in the streets in cities around their country on Saturday, demanding an end to the rule of 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 and is widely considered a dictator. Marchers carried signs with slogans like, "no to Mugabe dynasty," "this is the Zimbabwe we want," and "selfless not selfish government."

The demonstrations come several days after the Zimbabwean military, backed by the ruling Zanu-PF party, put Mugabe and his wife, Grace, under house arrest. The couple are "ready to die for what is correct" and will not step down, Mugabe's nephew said Saturday as the army, which supports the protests, prevented demonstrators from marching into the Mugabes' official residence. Bonnie Kristian

8:17 a.m. ET
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President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner did not give congressional investigators access to campaign-era email communications he is known to have had with Wikileaks about a "Russian backdoor overture," Senate Judiciary Committee leaders said in a letter Thursday. On Friday, citing an unnamed source familiar with congressional probes into Russian meddling with the 2016 election, CNN reported Kushner also denied any memory of those emails when testifying before Congress in July, contradicting the senators' account.

Kushner's attorney dismissed the story in a statement Friday night, maintaining Kushner was correct to say he did not have "contacts with Wikileaks, Guccifer, or DC Leaks." "From all I have now seen, his statement was accurate then as it is now," added Kushner lawyer Abbe Lowell. "In over 6 hours of voluntary testimony, Mr. Kushner answered all questions put to him and demonstrated that there had been no collusion between the campaign and Russia." Bonnie Kristian

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