In the latest example of egregious government spending, the Air Force Times reports on a letter this week from Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley that calls out the AF for spending upwards of $300,000 on apparently easily breakable coffee cups.
The Air Force explains that the in-flight cups can plug into outlets on cargo planes, which reheats their contents. But the handles on the cups break easily, then making the entire cup useless. The cost of the cup then quickly adds up when each one costs $836, according to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson; Grassley cited them as higher than even that amount in his letter. The AF Times states that in the letter to Wilson, “Grassley said that 25 replacement cups, each costing roughly $1,280 each, have been bought this year alone, for a total of roughly $32,000.” Because the cups plug into the plane, Wilson said, they have to be Federal Aviation Administration-approved, explaining why the 391 of these cups purchased since 2017 totaled $326,785.
The Air Force has announced plans to use 3-D printing to hopefully bring down the cost of replacing the reheating cups to a much more reasonable 50 cents. Grassley says he’ll keep “pushing the Air Force to find cheaper ways to warm up their coffee.”