The process by which the military procures and spends money needs to be altered. As it stands, each unit must annually spend all its funds or else risk receiving less money the following year. Additionally, these funds are split into different "colors" of money. There is no incentive to save money, and ample incentive to spend every dime.
The process should be streamlined to the following:
Each unit should be given a set amount of money with no "color" attached. Commanders are not granted their positions for lack of responsibility. They should be given a lump-sum budget with direction to not exceed it. At the end of the year, if the unit still has excess money, it should go into a pot at a level not lower than the wing. These funds should be able to carry over to the following fiscal year. In the event that a unit has budget overruns, the wing can dip into this pool and give the unit the funds they require. Once every couple years, or when the funds reach an arbitrary number, the funds should be recapitalized for the Department of Defense and allocated to the services to buy whatever a given service feels it needs to conduct its mission.
This proposed process benefits the government in several key ways:
1) More efficient spending. Throughout my career, I have seen end of year spending sprees dropping thousands of dollars on useless flatscreen televisions and new furniture. This process generates incentives to save money and does not penalize commanders for being frugal.
2) More flexibility during contingencies. Having a communal pot of previously unspent funds at the wing level allows individual units to procure needed funds in an expeditious manner if necessary.
3) Targeted expenditures. Not every unit will need to spend $500,000 on maintenance. A string of good luck could cut that to $300,000. However, they may have the requirement to send personnel TDY in excess of authorized budget requirements. These funds could be used for that purpose.