Procurement: Screwing the Defense Budget

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April 7,2008: 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.

 


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