Why Defense Spending is Bloated

POLITICIANS: You want more tanks!

MILITARY: Nah, we’re good…

POLITICIANS: You want more tanks!

MILITARY: We don’t need anymore. Thank you.

POLITICIANS: YOU WANT MORE TANKS!!!

MILITARY: No, WE DO NOT…

POLITICIANS: YOU WANT MORE TANKS!!!!
Oh, and please cut your budget by $500 billions.

http://news.yahoo.com/army-says-no-more-tanks-congress-insists-115422396.html

***

So why this insanity, where politicians force the military to buy equipment they do not need or want?

I believe this article highlights the answer. 560 different sub-contractors.  40 of which are in Pennsylvania.  Okay, so it seems like Pennsylvania is to blame. But wait 560/50 states = 56 each. So actually, Pennsylvania may not even have it’s full share of the blame.

So what gives?  It’s the “economy stupid”.  We have evolved the military machine into a jobs machine.  And what better way to keep a program from getting cancelled than to make sure every politician benefits.

If the entire production of the M1 Abram was done in Pennsylvania. It’s cancellation at the request of the military would only cause “job losses” in Pennsylvania.  But by dividing production across multiple states, even though it greatly raises inefficiencies, we can prevent a program from being killed.

Now it’s not just Pennsylvanians losing jobs, its dozens of other states. This is also a large part of what has made the F-35 probably the most abysmal acquisition failure in the history of the United States military.  A jet fighter to support the more capable F-22, as a more budget friendly fighter.  Except its total cost per plane after development and procurement costs will now exceed the F-22 by millions. Ooops.

First off, I believe we don’t need to have as big of a military force as we do.  And I feel localized development where you have a few locations capable of manufacturing equipment of a given type.  But localized within a state. While slow downs hurt. It allows those reductions to be done politically.

And why is this important? Because I believe the defense of this nation is jeopardized by such projects. We’re spending a trillion dollars on the F-35. When the #1 threat to America is a sailboat coming into a U.S. port from West Africa or Indonesia with a WMD.  And might I inquire where is all the new equipment for the U.S. Coast Guard. Who now has to address drug dealers smuggling in submarines.

Do we need more super-carriers to police the whole world? Or safer borders to protect our own cities. Answer that question and you see how screwed up military/defense spending in the U.S. is at the moment.

We’re focused on the wrong weapons development.  It’s like history repeating itself. We’re building battleships when aircraft carriers are the future. Now we’re building aircraft carriers, when fast nimble border guarding equipment is priority.

And yes, I fear another “Pearl Harbor/9-11” type incident because of this…one that would be far far worse.

 

 

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Women in Combat

“We will eliminate the policy of ‘no women in units that are tasked with direct combat,’” a senior defense official says.

http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/23/military-to-open-combat-jobs-to-women/?hpt=hp_c1

But the officials caution that “not every position will open all at once on Thursday.”

(I’ve long advocated that women should have to register for selective service just like us males. Hey, even without combat roles, the military is often in need of technology professionals – yes, imagine if you got drafted because you’re a female network engineer. Why not?)

 

 

Published in: on January 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A proposed solution to friendly fire…

CNN.com had an article on a company trying to resolve the age old issue of friendly fire.  Since before firearms, this has been an issue on the battlefield.  In fact it has been the demise of many soldiers, even generals such as Stonewall Jackson, or more recent headlines regarding the death of  Pat Tullman.

This proposed solution utilizes a laser, and a reflective unit.

http://whatsnext.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/09/could-lasers-solve-the-militarys-friendly-fire-problem/

I am skeptical as to whether such technology would be successful. And quickly wonder what would prevent an enemy from merely collecting fallen soldier’s helmets and stripping the reflector off. But I am glad this is being researched.

I think the only effective solution would have to incorporate some sort of code capable technology. So that the code would be updated periodically to prevent the use of recovered technology by the enemy. 

Still, I wager that nothing is quite capable of overcoming the “fog of war” and all the casualties it brings.

Published in: on August 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Guns on the streets…

Do they come from our local gun shops? The Mexican military? Or our own military?

Per the following document: http://militarytimes.com/static/projects/pages/ngic_gangs.pdf

(U) A 2006 GAO probe revealed that undercover government investigators purchased sensitive surplus military equipment, such as launcher mounts, signal converters, and body armor, from a DOD contractor.25 A 1993 GAO report similarly concluded that there was widespread theft of military small arms due to lax inventory control.26 US Army CID maintains that the military has implemented stricter inventory controls over weapons.27

(U//LES) In June 2006 an incarcerated US Army soldier and active gang member identified 60 to 70 gang-affiliated military personnel in his unit allegedly involved in the theft and sale of military equipment and weapons. The solider reported that many of the military personnel in charge of ammunition and grenade distribution are sergeants who are active gang members. The soldier also reported that military commanders were aware of the actions of these gang-affiliated personnel.28

(U//LES) A May 2006 interview with a former Marine and Gangster Disciple member incarcerated in Colorado detailed how easily soldiers—many of whom were gang members—stole military weapons and equipment and used them on the streets of US cities or sold them to civilian gang members.29

(U) In December 2005 a National Guard soldier allegedly smuggled several machine guns back from Iraq and sold them to a gun dealer in Georgia, according to open-source information.30

(U//LES) In November 2005 a gang member and active duty Navy service member in California was discovered in the possession of firearms and bullet-proof vests, and is suspected of distributing stolen firearms and hand grenades, according to uncorroborated FBI source reporting.

http://militarytimes.com/static/projects/pages/ngic_gangs.pdf

Published in: on May 6, 2009 at 2:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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