Posts Tagged: military-industrial complex

Didn’t Dwight Eisenhower Warn About This Kind of Thing?

Boeing's C-17 Globemaster: Buy one now at $250 million-a-pop

Boeing's C-17 Globemaster

Via ProPublica, Ben Elgin and Keith Epstein have a really terrific piece in Business Week about the struggle to rid the defense spending bill of expensive, largely unnecessary Cold War-weapons projects. A few things caught my eye here, first a breakdown of how spending on weapons changed from the last Geroge W. Bush administration Pentagon bill to the first Barack Obama administration miltary budget (which the president signed Wednesday) (more…)



Justin Elliot of Talking Points Memo has a nice pick-up of two reports critical of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, which is supposed to police all dealings between military and industry — or $501 billion worth of government contracts. It’s hard to audit that many contracts, but what the Government Accountability Office and Pentagon Inspector General find most problematic is not that the auditors are overwhelmed, or even incompetent. It’s that the auditors become friends with the military and private contractors, and don’t make serious audits. Pruning the Pentagon budget is one the biggest ways curtail government waste and reduce the national debt. But the DOD bureaucracy still seems far away from internal reform.


The Housed Armed Services Committee’s decision last month to put $1.75 billion into the defense spending bill to keep the production line for the F-22 fighter jet open is even worse than you think, reports the Washington Post’s R. Jeffrey Smith. It’s been well-documented that the F-22 is a Cold War relic that hasn’t been used once in Iraq or Afghanistan. The F-22 costs, on average, $350 million. Defense Sec. Robert Gates has spoken out against the F-22 and, in a compromise, said the Air Force should build four new planes to add to its current fleet of 18, ending production there. The compromise is with the thousands of Lockheed Martin subcontractors and lawmakers with constituents who build the F-22.

Smith, though, goes one step further reporting that the F-22 requires 34 hours of maintenance time for every hour that it flies. Including this maintenance time, the plan costs $49,808 an hour to fly. A former Lockheed Martin coating specialist has sued the company for using coatings it knew to be defective — the Justice Dept. is investigating. Meanwhile, an entire subset industry for subcontractors is repairing defecting F-22 planes.

The F-22 has come to symbolize defense department waste. Hopefully Smith’s article will help build momentum to shame members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to erase F-22 money from their version of the defense spending bill. It’s hypocritical for lawmakers to grouse about the national debt and then fund a fighter plane that’s either useless or counterproductive to national defense.-MB