Procurement: February 21, 2000


In the American military, a large chunk of the annual budget goes to multiyear development and procurement of new weapons. For example, the big projects underway at the moment are; DDG 51 (new class of navy destroyers)- $54 billion, F-18E/F (new version of navy F-18 warplane)- $47 billion, SSN 774 (new nuclear sub)- $65 billion, C-17 (air force transport)- $45 billion, F-22 (new fighter) $48 billion. Army projects tend to be puny in comparison. Two big ones the army has at the moment are 85,000 new trucks- $14 billion, and destroying old chemical weapons- $13 billion (disposing of a weapon, rather than building one.) In the last fifty years, the U.S. military budget has remained remarkably stable. The low point was in 1950, when it was $91 billion (in year 2000 dollars). The Korean war bumped it up to $317 billion by 1953, but then peace came and it declined to $263 billion by 1960. It peaked again at $370 billion in 1969 for the Vietnam war. For the rest of the century, it varied between $200 and $300 billion a year. Procurement varied between 20 percent and 33 percent of the entire budget. Over the years, it's been found easier to concentrate on a few very expensive projects. Such monster projects are easier to sell Congress and harder to kill. 


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