I work in Medical Logistics (supply) at Spangdahlem AB in Germany. I see massive amounts of waste every day.
Taxpayer funds are allowed to purchase things like customized stethoscopes, fancy gel pens, etc. We don't need these items to function. I have a nice pen... that I bought with my own money. If commands were made to make sure units were purchasing the simplest day to day items that best get the job done DoD wide, I am sure it would eliminate millions of dollars in waste. It makes it hard when an O-6 or higher really needs their gel pens when E-4's an lower try and thell them that the cheap ballpoints will work just fine and they ask for your supervisor.
Second, it makes me sad that at the end of the year if accounts (operating or war reserve) have not spent their alloted cash for the year, they are essentially "made" to spend their money or risk losing funding for next year. Sections should be rewarded for not using all of the funding awarded to them (such as a % of the unused cash for free, awards, etc). This causes accounts to purchase items and equipment they don't need and ends up not being used and being turned in as waste later.
Finally, on that last note, I run the DRMO (equipment/supply turn in) for our med group. I see thousands upon thousands of dollars in resources turned in as "excess" or junk because it is no longer wanted. Many of the items are very serviceable. We're in the process of opening a new clinic, and the amount of waste (and much of it is VERY serviceable) just coming out of the old clinic is just sickening. This is just at one base. I cannot imagine the amount of unneccessary waste going on at all the bases, from all the branches DoD wide.
It pains me to see our government in such an economic crisis and still wasting money like this on a day in and day out basis.