Procurement: March 18, 2005


The U.S. Congress has caught on to how the Department of Defense is using up to 20 percent of the money, earmarked for Iraq or Afghanistan operations, for regular operations and special projects. In particular, the U.S. Army, which is getting most of this Supplemental Appropriations, money, is using a lot of it to finance a transformation and reform program. Actually, a lot of the transformation efforts the army is paying for with the Iraq money is unavoidable. Congress is under lots of political pressure to support the troops, keep casualties down and win the war. This means trying new ideas, and new equipment. The army was already working on lots of new ideas, and equipment, before they invaded Iraq in 2003. Now the army has what amounts to a blank check, and they are using it. Congress, however, is also worried about ideas, especially expensive ideas, that dont work. Right now, all you have to do is shout, dont you know theres a war going on, in order to get what you want. But a lot of these bright ideas are not working. No surprise there, thats what happens when you try anything. But as the war in Iraq dies down, the investigative reporters will be out looking for recent examples of wasteful military spending. There will be plenty of procurement-gone-wrong to jump on. Now every bright idea works, and you dont find out what works, and what doesnt, until you try it. The successes, everyone can stand around and salute. But the failures will make a lot of reporters famous and rich.


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