The U.S. Department of Defense has 72 major weapons projects underway,
worth a total of $1.6 trillion (for development and manufacturing). That amount
is double what was being spent eight years ago. Overall, these projects are 23
percent over budget and 21 months late. For decades, weapons manufacturers, the
military and Congress have gone along with a system where costs and schedules
were underestimated. Sometimes this was done to make it easier for Congress to
approve the project, sometimes everyone was in on the scam in order to avoid
public outcry at the high costs. During the Cold War, the Department of Defense
and the CIA pumped estimates of how powerful and well equipped the enemy (the
Soviet Union) was, to make it easier to get increasingly expensive programs approved.
Often, however, the troops and the taxpayers got screwed, when unneeded or overpriced
weapons were delivered.