Legislative Sausage in the Works



[EDITOR: Good morning folks. I want to introduce to you a new guest blogger we're going to feature here occasionally. He's a defense insider and that's about all I can say here, but you'll recognize his post from last week on the HK416.

It's probably the jading effect of being so close to the biz that's made our new team mate boil over, so for now, we'll just call him "military curmudgeon" as he tells us how it really is.]

Earmarks are earmarks. I don't care what is being done with those earmarks right now.

That is not the case, from the perspective of American warfighting capability.

It is the DoD's responsibility to tell the President/Congress what they need, not for an individual politician to decide for himself what the military needs.

You assume that the people running the DoD actually have the best interests of the fighting man and woman at heart.

They don't. Not when it comes to funding unsexy things like trucks, amphibious ships and cargo planes over their favored toys.

The various services -- who write the requirements that DoD sends to Congress -- game the system to get the favored toys paid for, while ignoring the unglamorous and non-career enhancing.

The USAF's fascination with the F22 over everything has been much commented on here.

How the USAF shorts cargo plane and ground support plane production has been a US Army complaint for as long as there has been a separate air force. The A-10 would not exist at all were it not for legislative log rolling that over ruled the "Fighter pilot generals."

The Marines are in the same position versus the US Navy when it comes to amphibious transports with carriers, fighter planes and subs playing the "F22 role."

The US Army Generals from the "Treadhead," "Grunt," and "Gunbunnie" unions (aka Armor, Infantry and Artillery branches) always short the Army supply of trucks during peace time. (The USMC does not do separate unions, but they short trucks as well, since, hey! That is what the Army is for.)

All of the above play budget games shorting unsexy but mission critical trucks, cargo planes and troop transports for their favored projects.

There are no "white hats" in all of this.

This is the normal "clash of competing interests legislative sausage making that our founding fathers anticipated in the Constitution. It is not efficient or pretty, but it works.

The usual results when legislative reformers try and 'reduce the corruption' of normal legislative sausage making is that it empowers the permanent bureaucracy at the expense of both the troops and the general public.

Legislative sausage making has the ultimate accountability of elections.

The Permanent Bureaucracy is accountable only to itself.

-- Military Curmudgeon

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