Representatives Jack Kingston and McCollum have teamed up to stop the military from sponsoring professional sports through an amendment to the DOD authorization bill. This practice, which is an $80 million a year expense, has shown little in the way of effectiveness towards its ultimate goal of recruiting more members for the military. The large price tag and lack of any direct benefits is what has brought this unlikely team of a Republican and a Democrat together. Even those who support the program have little to offer in defense. USA Today reports:
Creech (resource and contracts manager for the National Guard recruiting division) said that in fiscal year 2012, the National Guard has been contacted by more than 24,800 individuals interested in joining because of the racing sponsorship. Of those, Creech said that 20 were qualified candidates and that none joined.
The military is obviously a vital program, and having a way to recruit people is necessary for its success. There is also little doubt that NASCAR fans are strong supporters of the military. All that being said, the military sponsoring professional sport is not yielding results. Not one candidate joined the military from the $80 million dollar program, and the program is not doing what it is meant to.
While no one wants to harm ability of the military to recruit, there has got to be a better way for them to use the money they receive to reach more qualified recruits, and actually have them sign up. This money, however small the amount in comparison to what we spend, is being wasted on a program that is not working. Regardless of amount, our elected leaders need to be held accountable for how tax dollars are spent and not waste them on programs that do not work.