Pentagon Burns Cash

Eric is right: this story in the Times today, about massive cost overruns in Pentagon weapons programs, is "something of an evergreen." And no, the article doesn't add many branches to the tree.ergm.jpgBut still, we're talking about hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars going to waste here. We're talking putting the future of the American military at risk. Isn't that a subject that could use some repeating?

The Pentagon has more than 80 major new weapons systems under development, which is "a lot more programs than we can afford," a senior Air Force official, Blaise J. Durante, said. Their combined cost, already $300 billion over budget, is $1.47 trillion and climbing...In interviews and public testimony, military leaders, arms makers and government auditors generally agreed on why the nation's arsenal costs so much.They said the military conjures up dream weapons, like the Extended Range Guided Munition... It sets immensely expensive technological requirements that are far beyond the state of the art of war, weapons executives say. Officials at the handful of major military contractors cross their fingers and promise to fulfill those visions.Almost no one flatly rejects the wish list for weapons and requirements. The military adds new technologies to many weapons already under development. Those systems add complexity and weight, which add costs to planes, ships and tanks.Military officials routinely understate the anticipated costs of weapons... When costs rise far beyond the promised ceilings... almost no one takes responsibility.
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