United States military spending continues to prove its staggering mismanagement as multi-billion dollar contracts are issued and high-tech products are finalized; while cost-overruns, program shutdowns, and outright tech failures continue to be documented.
Perfect evidence of this dichotomy is the current state of U.S. air power. On one hand, the U.S. military continues to make news for its unconscionable F-35 program failure. Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a boondoggle that has now reached an astounding $1.5 trillion, and has actually posed more of a threat to its own pilots than “enemy combatants” due to a massively flawed ejection seat mechanism. It is a program that has mushroomed so far out of control that, although the Pentagon has now admitted total failure, they can’t stop the program due the tens of thousands of people who have been contracted to build it in 45 states. The pilot helmets alone were reported to have cost $400,000 each. The F-35 is now the costliest Pentagon program in history among a history of many others.
Never learning from history, and due no doubt to a seemingly endless supply of taxpayer dollars, 100 stealth nuclear bombers have been commissioned for a reported $100 billion over a 20-year period to be produced by mega defense contractor Northrup Grumman.
Meanwhile, we are often told about new drone programs that will reduce these costs by implementing more easily upgradable technologies, as well as reducing the overall staff requirements. It would seem to make sense until a recent report indicated that the entire drone program is looking for a taxpayer bailout. Once again, using the tired logic of “too big to fail,” the military is asking the public to ignore the fact that drone pilots are quitting in record numbers, as well as the rising sentiment that remote control death might be a really bad idea. But if the military is known for anything, it is audacity. The Air Force has requested from Congress (read: taxpayer) a five-year, $3 billion dollar commitment to expand the number of drones and pilots, as well as add additional bases. Perhaps most telling is that the Air Force is offering $125,000
bribes bonuses to pilots who renew their five-year contracts.
And it’s not just the drones; budget cuts have forced half of current Air Force bombers to be grounded.
According to a recent investigation from Fox News, more than half of the B-1 bombers at one air base can’t fly, and other squadrons are in desperate need of parts. Some maintenance crews have even been forced to scavenge for parts from aircraft housed in museums. After years of constant deployments coupled with recent budget cuts, America’s air power is crumbling.
To any sensible reader, this waste and ineptitude should already have become tiring. But, wait, there’s more…
We can’t forget about the Navy.
Not to be outdone, the Navy is somewhat celebrating the arrival of their latest toy, the Zumwalt, a 610-foot warship that is the “largest and most technologically sophisticated destroyer” ever produced. But, once again, the Devil is in the details.
The Zumwalt arrives into the hands of the Navy many years late and carrying a price tag of $4.4 billion. Sorry, I should say “expected to be” $4.4 billion, as indicated by the report. Given the track record for this creation thus far we would be wise to cautiously finalize the price tag. Emphasis added:
The original concept for the land-attack destroyer was floated more than 15 years ago then underwent several permutations. The final design called for a destroyer with a stealthy shape and advanced gun system that can fire rocket-propelled projectiles with pinpoint accuracy.
But the growing cost forced the Navy to reduce what was originally envisioned as a 32-ship program to just three ships. The loss of economies of scale drove up the cost of the individual ships.
The slow-going and rising costs were little surprise after the General Accounting Office warned that the Navy was trying to incorporate too many new technologies into the ship.
(Source: Associated Press)
That is about as honest an insight to the process of taxpayer fleecing that you are likely to find coming from the establishment media. For our investment, we are going to get 3 ships instead of 32 … and they knew this was likely to happen. And they’re not even finished with the other two ships yet!
Perhaps it is a little late for outrage given the documented decade after decade wastefulness of U.S. imperial ambitions and hubris. American citizens clearly have lost control over the purse that contains any potential wealth and security for future generations. It might be time to reevaluate, on an individual basis, where we choose to issue our payments.
Image Credit: Anthony Freda Art