Is This the Reason Why Most US Military Projects Go Over Budget?

Illustration for article titled Is This the Reason Why Most US Military Projects Go Over Budget?

Open this chart and look closely. After you get over the sudden nausea and dizziness caused by your eyes and brain trying to adjust to it, try to get deeper into it. Repeat until something, anything, makes sense.

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If you can't make any sense out of it, don't worry. The only more difficult thing would be to interpret cuneiform tablets using your toes after walking your way from New York to San Francisco and back. Barefoot.

This soup of pastel colored noodles is the Pentagon's "Integrated Defense Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Life Cycle Management System," a workflow chart that details the entire process of proposing, contracting (or not), researching (or not), developing (or not), manufacturing (or not), deploying (or not), and maintaining (or not) weapons, vehicles, gear and all kinds of technology for the US armed forces (or not).

Now you know why the Federal Budget has such a huge pie dedicated to feed the most advanced and powerful military force in the History of Humanity.

Carry on. [Danger Room]

DISCUSSION

taniquetil-old
taniquetil

The biggest problem with the military right now is that a lot of the existing contracts were put into place during a time when warfare was very different, and obviously the government can't renege on their contractual agreements.

Take the F-22 Raptor. Generally speaking, very useless in a brushfire war. So why do we keep buying them? Because during the height of the Cold War, we needed air superiority fighters, so we already signed a contract for Lockheed Martin to deliver working planes. That money is already paid for, and the procedures you have to go through to scrap a 30-year contract are not something anyone wants to deal with.

The same can be said about Battle Tanks, Future Soldier projects, Aircraft Carriers, Advanced Munitions, etc...

These contracts and spendings were decades in the making, and you can't as a politician suddenly cut-off 30-year contracts. You're going to wake up the next morning not a politician anymore. Or you won't wake up at all.

Anyway, the point is that a LOT of projects that were relevant in the Cold War and Nuclear Proliferation Era don't matter anymore, but the R&D money was already spent. We're talking high-tech energy weapons, rail-guns, anti-missile systems, etc... At this point in time those weapons will not be used anymore, but all of that money has already been spent and allocated. You can't exactly go to Lockheed and say, "Hey, you know how we said we were going to pay you $50 billion for F-22s? Listen...you're great...but...I just don't think it's going to happen right now. I mean I'm just super busy."

Military industrial complex at work? Certainly. But what are you going to do? During the Cold War, voters and Congress were so scared that they were approving those contracts for the protection of the American people.