The new commander-in-chief made some sweeping pronouncements earlier this week regarding procurement and acquisition reform. He specifically called out the defense industry and the services, two of the three legs of the "iron triangle" of the defense business. But what's key is the leg he basically left out: lawmakers.
Without changing the way Congress protects jobs back home no real change will happen. The Washington Post framed the nature of the beast nicely today:
It was Democrats who stuffed an estimated $524 million in defense earmarks that the Pentagon did not request into the 2008 appropriations bill, about $220 million more than Republicans did, according to an independent estimate. Of the 44 senators who implored Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in January to build more F-22 Raptors -- a fighter conceived during the Cold War that senior Pentagon officials say is not suited to probable 21st-century conflicts -- most were Democrats.So with this kind of chasm between word and deed is procurement reform a wave President Obama can surf?
And last July, when the Navy's top brass decided to end production of their newest class of destroyers -- in response to 15 classified intelligence reports highlighting their vulnerability to a range of foreign missiles -- seven Democratic senators quickly joined four Republicans to demand a reversal. They threatened to cut all funding for surface combat ships in 2009.Within a month, Gates and the Navy reversed course and endorsed production of a third DDG-1000 destroyer, at a cost of $2.7 billion.
I'm predicting a wipeout. And Kerry and Kennedy don't surf.Read the entire Post artice here. (Registration required.)