Murphy's Law: F-22 Battle Gets Vicious

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November 23,2008: Ever since the end of World War II, when the United States, for the first time in its history, maintained a large peacetime military, there has been a growing problem with lobbying taking precedence over military needs when it comes to procurement. The latest example of this the lobbying efforts of the U.S. Air Force to get money for more F-22 fighters, more than the Department of Defense wants them to have.

The four services (army, navy, air force and marines) have each allied themselves with defense suppliers and members of Congress to lobby for what they want, despite what the Department of Defense leadership believe the military as a whole needs. The F-22 is no different. Air force lobbyists have convinced Congress to provide money for more F-22s. The air force wanted 381 F-22s, the Department of Defense is not willing to go that high. Congress has provided money for another twenty, towards a new goal of 250 fighters. .But the Department of Defense refuses to release the money (which they can do, unless nudged by Congress, a process that can get legally and politically messy).

Now there is a new president coming into office next year, and a Congress demanding money for all sorts of non-Defense projects, and hostile to the idea of giving the military any more cash. It will get interesting, but not unexpected. Half a century ago, president Eisenhower (a former World War II, and post war, commander) warned of the machinations of the "Military-Industrial Complex."

 


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