It's like the Cold War all over again. The Defense Department is now spending more of its money on "black," or classified, programs than at any time since 1988.z01.jpg19 percent of the Pentagon's acquistion budget -- the money to research and buy things -- is being devoted to super-secret items, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. That comes out to about 28 billion dollars, almost double what was spent in 1995."The record for classified acquisition programs has been mixed," CSBA's Steven Kosiak argues.Some successful and effective weapon systems were developed and even produced as black programs. These include the F-117 stealth fighter and the B-2 stealth bomber. On the other hand, some classified programs have had troubled histories. Restrictions placed on access to classified funding have meant that DoD and Congress typically exercise less oversight over classified programs than unclassified ones. This lower level of scrutiny, coupled with the compartmentalization of information generally associated with classified efforts has contributed to performance problems and cost growth in a number of programs, such as the Navys ill-fated A-12 attack aircraft program. (via Secrecy News) THERE'S MORE: "The Defense Department is unable to track how it spent tens of millions of dollars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the U.S. war on terrorism, Congress's top investigator said on Wednesday." (Thanks to RC for the tip.)

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