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

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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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