Forget missile defense systems.
Pay no attention to any of those terrorism alerts.
The Real Mission of the U.S. military is … gopher protection!
A total of 650,000 civilian employees are now being furloughed at U.S. military bases in response to sequester cuts — but the Department of Defense is still spending millions to protect fuzzy critters.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington state just received a $3.5 million department grant to purchase land around the base in an effort to protect the Mazama pocket gopher, a species that has not even been listed as endangered or threatened.
Under REPI (Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative), the Department of Defense and other federal agencies have spent $397 million to protect 264,000 acres around bases since 2003.
In addition to the $12 million in federal and state funding to buy 2,600 acres around JBLM, the Department of Defense also issued a $1.75 million REPI grant to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida to protect tortoise habitat.
Call it the Department of Gopher-land Security.
Judge Smails was unavailable for comment.