Military Waste and Fraud Continue In the Middle of the Government Shutdown

 

Regular readers know that the government shutdown is caused by bad policies supported by both parties, including out-of-control military boondoggles.

We wouldn’t be in this crisis of hitting the debt ceiling in the first place if we hadn’t spent so much money on unnecessary wars … which are horrible for the economy.

But it goes far beyond actual fighting.  We could easily slash the military and security budget without reducing our national security.

For example, homeland security agencies wasted money on seminars like “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?” and training for a “zombie apocalypse” instead of actually focusing on anti-terror efforts.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn notes that the Department of Defense can reduce $67.9 billion over 10 years by eliminating the non-defense programs that have found their way into the budget for the Department of Defense.

BusinessWeek and Bloomberg point out that we could slash military spending without harming our national security. Specifically, we could slash boondoggles that even the generals don’t want:

A devastating series by our colleagues at Bloomberg News shows that “the defense budget contains hundreds of billions of dollars for new generations of aircraft carriers and stealth fighters, tanks that even the Army says it doesn’t need and combat vehicles too heavy to maneuver in desert sands or cross most bridges in Asia, Africa, or the Middle East.”

BusinessWeek also notes that redundancy wastes a lot of money:

“One need only spend 10 minutes walking around the Pentagon or any major military headquarters to see excess and redundancy,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in September at an event organized by the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington. He should know. As defense chief in 2009, he culled 20 weapons systems he thought unnecessary or too expensive, including the F-22 fighter. One place to start thinning the bureaucracy: the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That office has more than tripled in manpower, to 4,244 in 2012 from 1,313 in 2010, according to the Pentagon’s annual manpower report. (Fewer bureaucrats means fewer memos and fewer meetings. Win-win-win.)

BusinessWeek provides a list of cost-cutting measures which will not undermine national security. American Conservative does the same.

So why doesn’t Congress trim the fat? Because politicians want to bring home the pork. As BusinessWeek notes:

Why is sensible military budgeting so difficult? Because lawmakers, including small-government Republicans, protect defense business in their home states with the ferocity of Spartans. Even if the Pentagon offered up the cuts we’ve outlined here, Congress would almost certainly reject them. The senators and representatives don’t have the political courage to face voters and tell them that the republic simply does not need the weapon under construction in their hometown.

American Conservative reports:

The cuts to the Pentagon budget will be only 7% or some $40+ billion, not the $500 billion they bandy about! Anyone who confuses the (unlikely) ten year cut with next year’s cut is just promoting lies. A good example is the Wall Street Journal editorial, “The Coming Defense Crackup,” warning that the cuts would create the smallest navy since 1914. It intentionally confuses next year’s cut with the consequences of 10 year cuts. [In reality, the size of the proposed sequestration cuts aren't really that big.]

Ok, but when every smart bomb and missile hits its target, why does one need as many shells as the old battleships where most shots missed? During the Korean war the Air Force tried futilely for months to bomb a bridge over the Yalu River. Today destroying a bridge takes one cruise missile from a hundred miles away. In Washington we find all the big media opposed to cutting defense spending, waste and all, even the Washington PostPolitico, usually a leftist paper, publishes articles also intentionally confusing 10 years of cuts with a one year cut. Today’s congressmen can’t oblige future congresses on what they will spend; defense apologists use the 10-year number to try to stop the sequestration for one year, 2013. All the big Washington newspapers are full of costly ads from defense contractors.

Of course, this just scratches the surface.

In reality, the military wastes and “loses” (cough) trillions of dollars.  See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

The former Secretary of Defense acknowledged in May 2012 that the DOD “is the only major federal agency that cannot pass an audit today.”  The Pentagon will not be ready for an audit for another five years, according to Panetta.

Billions In Wasted Defense Spending Are Continuing During Government Shutdown

If you assume that the waste in defense spending has stopped during the government shutdown, you’d be wrong.

Top military and constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley noted yesterday:

We recently saw how [American politicians and military personnel] prefer to deliver bags of money to Karzai, buy Russian aircraft that Afghans can’t fly or maintain, or build huge buildings to be then torn down unused. Of course, no one is ever fired for constructing massive buildings that no one wants only to tear them down. After all, these are contracts going to powerful companies with friends in the government. Now, we buying huge planes at $50 million a pop only to roll them directly from the factories into mothballs because no one wants them. To make this even more incomprehensible, we are not even making the cargo planes. Like the Russian helicopters that the Afghans cannot fly, we are buying the cargo planes from Italy . . . and we are continuing to order more as we struggle to find places to dump them.

The dozen Italian-built C-27J Spartans have been shipped to an Air Force facility in Arizona dubbed “the boneyard.” We are ordering five more, which are expected to be immediately sent with the others into mothballs. The Air Force has spent $567 million on 21 of the planes which will join some 4,400 other aircraft and 13 aerospace vehicles at the boneyard — more than $35 billion of unused airplanes.

Why order planes to be immediately mothballed? Ohio’s senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman wanted them to give a mission for Mansfield Air National Guard Base and to save 800 jobs. So we will spend $567 million to save 800 jobs. Wouldn’t it have been easier to give half a million to each of their constituents and save the rest of the money?

Of course, with citizens rising up against the latest effort of the Administration and Congress to intervene in another war, we could have a pile up of unused weapons . . . until we find a use for them.

(Even in the middle of the government shutdown, the CIA is ramping up covert training program for Syrian rebels.)

Ralph Nader points out this week:

Now seems like an ideal time to turn the attention to the $716 billion elephant in the room. If we are going to shutdown non-essentials in our country, let us start by shutting down the waste and fraud in our military budget.

And former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds wrote yesterday:

To give you an idea I am going to provide a few examples:

Afghanistan gets around $7 Billion= $7,000,000,000. Now, don’t mistake this for our money spent on our war in Afghanistan. That’s in the trillions of dollars. That’s a separate deal. No, this money goes to Afghanistan’s government – known for being crooks, criminals, heroin dealers, and terrorist breeders. ***

Of course Israel gets quite a lion’s share. That goes without saying. They get nearly $3 billion=$3,000,000,000, in military aid and another large sum as financial aid for …well, let’s put aside all the diplomacy and political correctness and call a duck a duck: They get all the military and foreign aid so that they can turn around and spend those dollars through their powerful network and lobby here, to make sure we are all screwed up in developing and implementing our foreign policy…. They get all those billions of dollars in foreign and military aid, come over here, get us into wars so that we go spend trillions of additional dollars in wars ….

Egypt gets its $1 billion of our tax money for … for what? Thank God it’s been in the news lately so even the mass ignoramus population in our nation is able to have an idea: guns and bullets to kill political dissenters, tanks and tear gas to be used against civilians, helicopters to fire at civilians below … bring about a coup de tat, and then bring about another one …Okay, so that one we get. We know what they use our money and military equipment for. No brainer. ***

Pakistan gets more or less $1 Billion. They get military aid to make sure they create desirable conditions so that our military can send its drones out there and bomb the hell out of them every day.

***

So, yes. Our government, somehow, amazingly, has plenty of money, thanks to its limitless money printing authority with zero oversight or accountability. They have trillions to spend on target practice, killing, butchering, torturing, kidnapping. They have billions and billions to spend on spying on you and just messing around with you and me for the heck of it-too much printed money gives them that luxury, you know. And of course, as we see, they’ve got billions of dollars to give crooks, criminals, tyrants, despots, heroin dealers and producers, terrorists, terrorist supporters …

The next time around when our government tells you we are miserably broke, believe them. It’s a no brainer: we are a broke nation. However, don’t let them give you bullsh.. about where they’re going to cut and snip to make ends meet. Do not let them tell you we must go on this way, and just keep printing the green in order to survive. Give them the amount in trillions spent on wars and target practice-shooting around the world.

Point to the billions of dollars yearly given to despots, torturers, criminals, and human target practice fields. Show them the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted by unaccountable agencies every single month. Just question, demand, and insist. Show that you matter and count. For once!

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

39 Responses to “Military Waste and Fraud Are the Main Cause of Our Problems”

  1. baldski says:

    Yesssss! Start cutting this military frankenstein running out of fiscal control! Can anyone in the Pentagon or Congress explain why we have more Admirals and Generals in the military today than in World War II when we had 15 million men under arms? They create myriad levels of command to give all this brass a job. This is ridiculous! How many bases do we have overseas? How many have golf courses? Mind numbing!

  2. Expat says:

    Barry, it’s not waste. It is what Americans refuse to recognize as socialism. A toilet seat costs $2000 and we “waste” billions on pointless fighters in order to support the arms industry. Overstaffed Pentagon services keep psychotic soldiers off the streets and ideally stop them from gunning down children with their AR-15′s.

    If the government stopped handing out hundreds of billions to Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, and 3rd World dictators, the US economy would take a huge hit…unless of course we took that same money and used it to build bridges and schools, hire teachers, fund free clinics, and give food to the neediest. But, of course, we would not want to do that because THAT’S socialism.

    Fuck you, America!

    • willid3 says:

      well, that toilet seat one a one off, built for an aircraft that might have to do some fancy flying to keep from being shot down. that said, there are still some things that could be done to cut back on spending. but dont ever seem to come up

      • LeftCoastIndependent says:

        What are you saying, they might have to crap flying upside down ?

      • ilsm says:

        I was around the business back then, not involved in those. The seat was for a transport, which has the same G force ratings as a 737.

        The issue was not “one offs”. It was supposedly loading fees etc.

        Why DoD won’t ever pass an audit…….

        No accounting for how the inputs go into the outputs, a definition of fraud and waste.

        Fighter pilots need to be contortionists!

      • willid3 says:

        no. just that the standard toilet wouldnt work if the plane was doing evasive maneuvers

  3. courageandmoney says:

    Interesting read…but at least you can pull a trigger and in most cases and the gun goes bang! you mentioned billions in the article. Maybe the TRILLIONS spent on Social engineering should not be forgotten. It’s not the wars, It’s our own people that the wagon is pulling and the fraud that goes along with it thats starting to destroy the country. Wagon pullers are tired of so much spending and the government trying to solve problems that in most cases they have created.

    Sincerely,

    A wagon puller

    • ilsm says:

      @A wagon puller

      Unlike mandatory spending no one has shuttered (Aug 2011, and this recent extortion) the US government to get a handle on the score of so trillions sloshing through the pentagon trough.

      Mandatory spending does not have sell funding unwarranted influence skimmed from a vast trough.

      A few skim a lot from the pentagon trough and buy congress.

  4. theexpertisin says:

    Waste is rampant – but don’t blame the folks in uniform who volunteer to serve.

    The author of the blog has obviously spent no time in the trenches with career officers, especially those in acquisitions. These folks are cutting and eliminating waste every minute of every working day Unfortunately, their political mandates coming from civvies and Congress and the White House defeat the best of efforts. Saving thousands (or millions) when the mandates are in the tens of billions sums up military spending.

    I tend to agree with the bloat in the upper officer echelon. The military is addressing this issue by drumming out of the service the mid and bottom ranked officers at the Captain-Lt. Colonel levels with a vengeance. Retired Ad’s and Generals are as a rule not being replaced. As with most any public bureaucracy over time bloat happens (look at your public school administrative staff in the central office now compared to the 1980′s). The military is addressing bloat – now.

    Regarding weapons systems and r&d, what armed forces volunteer wants to go into battle with less than dominant equipment? Would you?

    Our planes and boats fleet are old (Coast Guard cutters from the 1960′s are still a main component of patrol with hulls so thin you can literally punch through them), our adversaries show no sign of cutting their military programs – in fact, quite the opposite, and the quality of our recruits is bad and getting worse at the enlisted level across the spectrum of our military.In previous ages, a country had months, even years, to prepare for war. Today wars can be won or lost in a period of one hour or less. Without real time optimum preparedness, our country is a sitting duck.

    Still demand that the military cut spending? Use a mandatory draft of all able men and women for three years without exemption. Eliminate the subcontracting out to civilian employees and guns for hire outfits. And halt politicians playing armchair generals mandating political correctness, using troops as hired flesh to fight undeclared foreign wars and keeping alive 19th century military bases of no value whatsoever.

    • Internet Tourettes says:

      RE: theexpertisin.

      Yes, you are very right that the acquisition officers are trying to do the best that they can when congress or the executive branch is not meddling with procurements. I have seen however a huge amount of overlap and parallel efforts when it comes to DoD, DHS, and “some other” agencies. When it comes to black projects there is no interagency transparency and congress tends to bow to the SAIC’s and GDIT’s as well as the agency heads who have intel inferiority complexes with duplicative procurements and terribly wasteful spending (approved by the same sock puppets who have shut down the government). You are right that, despite the meme, most functions can be performed internally for less cost and better performance but it’s hard to make that case when the public is constantly fed the lie of the overpaid federal worker (I’d like to see how people react when they see the military pay grades and the type of work these people perform).

      • theexpertisin says:

        I failed to mention the role our armed service comptroller’s perform to minimize waste and fraud as well. It may surprise reader’s of the Big Picture that these folks are given accolades for a job well done in those areas (an “attaboy” and commendation, not a fat cat bonus like New Yorker’s expect ) – and face a career lapse if they do not meet benchmarks.

        I appreciate your observations, Internet Tourettes..especially the overlap. It reminds me of overlaps between city police, state police, county police. And the maize under the auspices of the EPA. Or the tax code.

    • ilsm says:

      @expert,

      Coast Guards problems are not lack of money, rather lack of strategy and ineptitude in developing , defining and buying “system” requirements. Like DoD.

      The Coast Guard, wearing itself out in the war on drugs, is part of DoT not DOD. It is used during time of war as a military force other times they just wear uniforms. The Coastie’s “Deep Water” acquisition [because the hulls are so 'thin', are maintained to spec in dry dock as you may know] is a tale of mismanagement and contractor profits for nothing. Their excuse is they learned “acquisition” from the pentagon.

      You can probably finds on line pages 32 and 33 in Military Officer magazine for Oct 2013 and see that the pentagon has studied reductions over 10 years from FY 2014 of $150B, 250B and 500B [$500B is about the extent of the sequester] of a more than $6000B baseline [2014$] “plan”. The USAF might reduce 5 fighter squadrons [per squadron: 24 airplanes plus 2 to cover break downs] from the 61 they have in 2013!! The F-35 is going to be so expensive to operate the reductions would not be much. The navy may only run 8 of their super unique to the world carriers. Note the budget baseline numbers are not in the article, so the number seem severe.

      While it is reported China’s military budget is growing, between China and Russia the budgets total less than 20% the DoD and DoD does not cover things their budgets cover. Like DHS, Coasties, Energy labs for nukes, etc.

      The goatherds’ military budgets would double if they got 200 bucks.

      The pentagon has disarmed itself through ineptitude: buying unneeded stuff that don’t work and stuff it cannot maintain.

      • theexpertisin says:

        The Coast Guard is a part of Homeland Security, not DOT,

        The Coast Guard is not wearing because of the so-called War on Drugs. Many patrol craft are Viet Nam-vintage wrecks that are only marginally seaworthy because of the incredible stamina and creativity of the line officers and crew. Pulling drug enforcement or fisheries or assisting with maritime law matters not with ships that are way beyond their intended lifespan being used on the high seas.

        The craft are just old. The USCG has been underfunded for years.

        Your observations about Russia and China.s budget is suspect, as the real budget (like ours, frankly) is hidden. If we paid our military like they do, our budget would be significantly less counting the benefit packages and twenty-year retirements. We would also have lots of inexpensive uniformed personnel via the draft doing the work of high priced civilian contractors. The draft would be a good thing to cut costs, Maybe our Ivy League students would contribute to cost savings through their brilliance and learn a thing or two about citizenship along the way.

  5. [...] Thank you, Barry Ritholtz, for telling it like it is. [...]

  6. CSF says:

    There is waste in the Pentagon, and we could spend less. However, this piece’s credibility is undermined by the sweeping, misleading claims. Any high school teacher would splatter it with read ink. Examples:
    - “The generals don’t want” new generations of fighters. Beware drawing broad conclusions from anecdotal evidence. Try some weasel words: “some generals don’t want new generation fighters.” Also, consider the counter factual. Do they really think they prefer their worn-out, 1970s-era, 4th Gen designs?
    - The F-35 is “untested.” Check your sources. The F-35 test program has flown 10,000 hrs to date.
    - There are 4,400 “unused” aircraft at the boneyard worth 35 billion taxpayer dollars. You are using the word “unused” when you mean “no longer in use.” Google the Davis-Monthan boneyard. View the pictures of these aircraft, and decide for yourself whether they are “unused.”

    You’re passion for fighting government waste is palpable. Keep up the effort. B.

    • ilsm says:

      @csf,

      As of the GAO last spring test hours are up, test point not. Flying hours does not means test are completed. Worse if you read the report the software won’t do the job the war plans call for.

      New C-27J bought for congress whims are going to the bone yard direct from the acceptance at the plant.

      • CSF says:

        @ilsm,

        My post was not about the F-35. The simple fact is that some of the journalism cited by Wash Blog is absurd. “The generals” are not anxious to dump our 5th gen fighters. The F-35 is well into its test program, not “untested.” The 4,400 aircraft at David-Monthan are mostly worn-out antiques, far from “unused.” Other examples abound.

        Wash Blog is thought-provoking, but sometimes it’s hard to take the sweeping generalizations, conflation of facts, reliance on anecdotal evidence or less-than-credible sources. It’s like reading zero hedge: it all sounds good until they write about your own little area of expertise, and then the BS meter goes off the charts. BR is so good about providing us with quality reading – and seeing through the BS – that I’m kind of surprised he includes these. Then again, Wash Blog is genuinely thought-provoking, entertaining, and I enjoy reading it. I guess I can’t have it both ways.

  7. timeflies says:

    http://www.wunderground.com/news/most-poisonous-substance-world-discovered-20131010

    10 kilos of this stuff would take care of everyone with some extra to spare. How much could 10 kilos possibly cost? Cost savings would be off the charts.

  8. jeff in indy says:

    I have heard ad nauseum lately “what’s a couple of billion relative to the size of our budget” when talking financial aid to x, y or z country. If we don’t have the juevos to cut (really cut, not just the rate of increase) those ‘measly’ billions, how can we expect any action on the elephants in the room?

    I hear the ghosts of the Dirksen Axiom and Orwell turning in their graves.

  9. ilsm says:

    Strong on security is measured by the profits of Lockheed.

    Two ships of a new “class” aircraft carriers [no one has anything like what the US navy has, nor any idea why they are needed] in works with electromagnetic rails for catapults, which are rocket science and won’t be ready when the new carriers need to provide landing space for the $1500B joint strike fighter whose software baseline won’t deliver performance for the warfighters.

    Since the cold war heated up the military industry complex roughly 25,000B (2010$) has flowed through the pentagon, a massive trough that feeds a lot of “unwarranted influence”. A warfare economy which gets about $400B (2010$)a year in contracted spending, half for services.

    Today 18% of US government outlays is for the pentagon. Nearly 5% of GDP and half the money the entire world spends.

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
    This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. Dwight Eisenhower… 1953

    Warfare welfare. A strategic goal of senior pentagon officials for decades is to improve the health of the defense industry.

  10. willid3 says:

    while there is waste no doubt, but why should our front line pilots still be flying planes designed in the 1960s? that when the current fighters were all designed. they have been updated but still. and the newest of the planes that they do fly, is from the late 1980s and early 1990s (that F22).
    but if you really really ant cut waste. why do we have the marines? most other countries dropped that service long ago. and why do we have duplicate training facilities? take just flight training. there air force and navy basic flight schools. why? and why hire mercenaries (after all thats what they are, and former military) to do some of the work the military can do much cheaper (after all, paying for labor is multiples higher than the military pay). and why can’t the DOD figure out how much it has spent? thats what audits are all about. that means they really dont know what they spent on. and for all of the mis direction, and mis use of Rome, the Romans toward the end had lots of mercenaries in the armies. not that was the real cause of the fall of Rome (that was a major drought that had made so they couldnt feed them selves. when your economy is 99% agriculture, thats takes a huge bite out of your economy too)

    • ilsm says:

      @willid3,

      Big issue with audit of DoD figuring out what military equipment valuation (even has an acronym MEV) cost.

      The R&D bills are skewed, tests are not done, the specifications are not matched to the delivery. So many waivers that what was billed does not match what was ordered.

      No auditor would sign off on a “price” when there is no test data……..

      Auditors are more thorough than the rest.

      Besides folks would choke!

      • ilsm says:

        “I am in the side of reality, and against horse shit and wishful thinking”

        Sam Damon, character in the book Once and Eagle by Anton Myrer Fictional WW II leader criticizing Masengil a career officer shining the apple of perception.

        On Mr. Panetta saying DoD is at least 5 years from an audit:

        Government Performance and Results Act was enacted in 1993. DoD is the only department that has not passed an audit in the twenty years since the act established the requirement.

        Judging from what I see in the news, GAO, my contacts and writings about DoD; the department has an ingrained issue with perception being different than truth it will never be auditable.

        Recent reading:

        “Because of the Myths We soldiers Tell Ourselves”: http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/MilitaryReview/Archives/English/MilitaryReview_20131031_art010.pdf

        It is in the culture of building an empire and feathering the nest.

    • DeDude says:

      The real question is not the age of the design but whether our enemies have something that would outclass us. Actually we should not have any front line pilots. There is no reason to have a human put into a plane. Indeed if we got rid of that extra weight and frail human bodies inside the planes we would be able to make them much better at a lower price. We could also add the Airforce to that list of obsolete military services and just have army and navy. One service that puts boots on the ground and one that provides protection for supply lines and floating weapons platforms.

      • willid3 says:

        well they have produced newer aircraft since then. consider trying to race an 1960′s 911 against one from the 1990s. not even going to be close. the reason the reason that the drone planes have limits is that all most any country can come up with a way to block commands to the aircraft. they work fine if you are planning on going into a heavily defended area, if you know where you are going first. but then so would cruise missiles. and do you really want a robot to kill? cause because of jamming, you would need that ability. so far we haven’t done that.

  11. 4whatitsworth says:

    I could not agree more. Our government is oversized and filled with waste and the department of defense may be the worst offender.

    This said I am surprised that those who believe in big government are not arguing that the department of defense is a wonderful department and its funding should be increased after all it invented the internet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARPANET it also invented GPS (Global Positioning System) and where would we be without those two innovations? Political B.S. is probably even more prevalent than government waste.

    • ilsm says:

      @4whatitsworth,

      Internet was invented in colleges for ARPA, at thousandths of a penny compared to the DoD R&D empire which is about1/8 pentagon spending. GPS is Newton’s laws, satellites and radios, not big deal from a science perspective, again micro dots in DoD spending.

      Barry provided some good ideas on fallacies of reasoning, you could read through them, and try avoiding…………………

      • 4whatitsworth says:

        Fact: The network (ARPA which became the internet) was initially funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later DARPA) within the U.S. Department of Defense. At least according to wikipedia. Feel free to argue facts with those guys. As far as reasoning I was not arguing. I agree that most government agencies have huge waste especially the department of defense. I was pointing out that one should be careful with the political B.S. and hypocrisy that goes with this discussion. The same people who say that the Department of Defense is to large and riddled with fraud will argue that we need to increase the size of the Social Security, Medicare and welfare (also riddled with fraud and abuse) and will make the case for increase underperforming departments like the department of education or the department of energy.

        As far as fallacies goes did you really say that Newton invented the GPS and satellites that we utilize today?

      • ilsm says:

        @4whatitsworth,

        Newton invented orbital mechanics. Germans invented usable rockets, Marconi radio……

        GPS is tinkering with billions and billions based on ideas from others who think.

  12. bonzo says:

    All of the industrial complexes are wasteful: military, healthcare, education, legal, prison, financial. We need waste, to give people jobs to do. At least for the next 10 years. About 10 years from now, we will start to face labor shortages, and then the waste will become a problem. But not now.

    • DeDude says:

      It is true that whenever something is done it will be done in a less than 100% efficient and effective way and hence wastefully. However, it does make a difference where the money is directed whether it is 5% or 50% of it that is wasted (not furthering the goals). I would much rather see 50 billion of infrastructure build with a 20% waste ratio than 50 billion spend on expanding the worlds largest navy with the same waste ratio.

      • ilsm says:

        The US navy is a $300B a year insurance policy that the Imperial Japanese navy can be kept out of Manila Bay.

        That there is no Japanese navy is consequential, but DC would rather get confused over imagery and not worry about the real fraud which is “experts” selling trillions in weapons that are not needed. Fighting WW II over, with huge high paid a standing and part time military second only to China is numbers.

        So the F-35, Stars Wars, Etc do not have to work they are needed to make sure there are pretty looking plane parked on the new flat tops.

  13. rwboomtown says:

    I agree with everything you have said. I think an equal argument could be laid out against medicare and medicaid (We can also talk about education and foodstamps.. The waste and fraud is staggering). How many unnecessary tests and prescribed drugs that are at best ineffective (Staten drugs alone are one of the biggest frauds ever pulled off in this country). Total it all up and it would rival the Pentagon’s waste easily.

    • WallaWalla says:

      Can you give some examples of medicaid/medicare or the foodstamp program misplacing trillions of dollars?

      This comparison is just a horrible false equivalency.

  14. Willy2 says:

    - Does one B. Rithotlz contribute to the “Washington’s Blog” ?
    -

  15. panskeptic says:

    And Washingtons Blog wins the Chuck Todd False Equivalency Award, again!

    Only two presidents in the last 40 years have lowered the debt during their terms, Clinton and Obama. The Republicans have repeatedly skyrocketed the debt as part of their “Starve the Beast” program – the idea is to drive up military expenditures so there’s no money left for rich white guys to pay for programs benefitting poor black ones.

    Don’t tell me that both parties are equal in this. That’s just laziness and self-congratulation. Washingtons Blog cedes himself the Wanker’s Moral High Ground once again. Pfui.

  16. jbegan says:

    Thank you! I have been singing this song for years! Our real Defense Budget is $1.08 Trillion dollars (there’s more to defense than just the Pentagon Budget) . Unlike Social Security, which is primarily funded through payroll/employer taxes, and Medicare, which is partly funded in the same fashion, our War Machine is that ‘Unfunded Liability’ that the RW completely ignore as they prattle on about cutting food stamps, schools and retirement. For the most part, it does little to serve the American people. It does however, serve the interests of our Big Businesses. Everyone from Lockheed, to Big Oil, and the Service Industry that sends food to our far flung, never ending wars makes a buck out of it. That ‘buck’ is paid for by the citizenry. Even those that receive food stamps and Medicaid pay their ‘widow’s mite’ towards this overblown monstrosity that our Congress refuses to tackle. No other developed country in the world devotes as much of their GDP to this sector as the US.

  17. ilsm says:

    If you are still on these comments: Raytheon awarded US Navy next generation Air and Missile Defense Radar contract.

    http://www.providencejournal.com/business/press-releases/20131010-raytheon-awarded-us-navy-next-generation-air-and-missile-defense-radar-contract.ece

    The radar is two band, challenging from a number of perspectives on a relatively small, 9800 ton ship. With a control “suite”, and integration in communication networks. The “engineering model” is due in 2016. The ship that needs it is due out in 2017. Arleigh Burke class has been around since 1989, there are more ships in the class to be commissioned. The Zumwalt class was to replace Arleigh Burke, but it is very expensive, and needs better radars, missiles etc which this deal might address one issue.

    A problem that you would know if you followed US navy’s strategic plan for Air and Missile Defense is this is entwined with a bigger unsolved set of “strategic investment” issues about replacing the entire Arleigh Burke class with either a larger ship a Frigate or a new destroyer, neither of which get off the ground because the prices are real money, and would take from the other two (submarine navy and amphibious navy) navies the US keeps.

    Were I to bet I would say the “engineering model” for the $1.6B potential deal could be passing watered down tests around 2021.