Procurement: August 4, 2004

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The U.S. Congress has long used its authority to create, modify and approve defense budget requests, in order to tell the military what weapons they should buy. This often results in weapons and equipment being bought that the military doesnt need or want. But the contracts involved  will help someone in Congress get reelected, so the purchases are made. Sometimes, requests are turned down or cut. Its often the result of poor publicity a weapons project has received, or simply because Congress wants to cut money from one project so that they can give to another. Sometimes money is held back to send a message to the military. A current example of that is Congress deciding that, instead of giving the air force the 360 JASSM missiles they requested (at $410,000 each), they could only have 303 (costing $460,000 each, because it is cheaper to produce larger quantities). Congress noted that it was upset because the report by the Pentagon Director of Operational Test and Evaluation noted that the JASSM was ready for mass production, but that there were still some problems. JASSM reliability was not all it could be, which would probably require firing two missiles at a target, instead of one. It was also believed that the missile could be made easier to use. Thus, the Congressional solution to a report indicating that more missiles might be needed, was to cut the number be produced. This also increased the cost per missile, but that sort of thing was never an issue here. The air force wants JASSM for taking out well defended targets, especially enemy air defenses, before sending in manned bombers. 

 


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