Does not the Defense pay the bills?

(To Giovanni De Paolis)
11/12/18

Who says it is the study service of the Chamber of Deputies. Following the analysis of the 2019-2021 DPP1 it is clear that the budget law for 2019 (L. 205 / 2017) did not provide the resources necessary to reduce the debt of the Ministry of Defense which, at 31 December 2017, amounted to over 358 Millions of euros!

Possible? How can a Ministry get so many debts? And again, how can these passages be accumulated without anyone answering them?

The mystery is immediately revealed: the debts have been contracted towards suppliers of water, electricity, gas and solid urban waste.

One might think that, given that the Ministry - which then is nothing but a part of the Italian State responsible for the management of public affairs in relation to Security and Defense - he acknowledged his lack, now he can take steps to bring things back to normal.

One could therefore reasonably expect that a chapter entitled "Paying back bills" or, perhaps, a little more diplomatically: "Recovery of past debts", perhaps with a distribution, is clearly highlighted in the forecast and budget formation phases. of recovery in two or three years so as not to burden the already thin ministerial finances too much.

Surprisingly, however, we must note that once again the defense budget has been subject to cuts, in our opinion inconsiderate. Cuts that not only will not reduce previous debts but that will most likely create new ones.

I would not be in the role of the commanders who, perhaps taking the command of a glorious regiment, will have to "fight" with unpaid bills and the Italian bureaucracy that, most likely, will have no mercy!

These problems are not new, they did not emerge today for the first time yet it seems that nobody cares anything.

Naturally the question of unpaid bills is nothing but a pretext to highlight the more serious general situation. And in this sense I invite everyone to read the Dossier of 7 December 20182 in which the summary of the interventions foreseen in the "2019 Budget Law" is presented. From the 71 pages of the document emerges in all its brutality the power of Italian lobbies (meaning in the good sense, of course ...): while we can read, with pleasure, the increase of resources for the "Health" sector, where " the budget bill sets 114.439 millions of euros for the standard national health requirements for 2019, increasing 2.000 million for 2020 and additional 1.500 millions for 2021 ". It fills us with joy to read that "a temporary mission structure is established (with a duration not exceeding that of the current government) to support the activities of the President of the Council of Ministers concerning the coordination of INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT, Government and 'political and administrative address of ministers on public and private investments' (even if we have always thought that these tasks are typical of some ministerial office ...).

On the other hand, we regret and worry very slightly that in the "Defense and Security" sector the term that is fashionable is "reduction", in fact: "There are a number of measures to reduce and reschedule defense investments. In this regard, it is generally observed that the financial maneuver for 2019, implemented with Sections I and II of the draft budget law, altogether determines a decrease in the final expenses of the Ministry of Defense of 254,6 million, attributable entirely to capital expenditure ", in that part of the budget, that is, destined mainly for investments and in which not only new weapon systems reside, but also considerable resources devolved to the purchase of the replacement of defense vehicles and platforms. That is, the ability of the Defense to keep what exists exists.

For the sake of clarity, it should be noted that the transfer of funds from the "investment" sector to that of "operation" can not take place on the basis of decisions within the Department of Defense, since the Budget Law would change. Therefore, a regulatory provision of the same level is necessary.

On the other hand, the funds of the operation are largely insufficient to guarantee the survival of the Armed Forces and cover sectors in which the needs are regulated by other laws of the State. Just think of the salaries and resources needed for the normal operation of the barracks, airports and navy bases.

Even if the current Government (in good company with its predecessors) has repeatedly stated that it would significantly reduce the debts of the Public Administration, in the Defense budget there are the conditions for continuing to generate new debts, without paying, or paying only partially, the existing ones.

1 http://documenti.camera.it/_dati/leg18/lavori/documentiparlamentari/Indi...

2 http://www.senato.it/service/PDF/PDFServer/BGT/01084683.pdf

(photo: ministry of defense)