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Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:51 PM

Bloomberg series on Pentagon weapons spending


Pentagon Budget Stuck in Last Century as Warfare Changes
By Gopal Ratnam - Feb 18, 2013 11:01 PM CT

The Obama administration foresees 21st century wars fought with fewer boots on the ground and more drones in the air, while the Pentagon continues buying weapons from the last century.

In his Feb. 12 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said America no longer needs to deploy tens of thousands of troops to occupy nations or meet the evolving threat from new extremist groups. Cyber-attacks are the “rapidly growing threat,” he said.

Nevertheless, the defense budget contains hundreds of billions of dollars for new generations of aircraft carriers and stealth fighters, tanks that even the Army says it doesn’t need and combat vehicles too heavy to maneuver in desert sands or cross most bridges in Asia, Africa or the Middle East.

GRAPHIC: Defense Budget at Center of Spending War



Defense-Cut Hypocrisy Makes GOP Converge With Democrats
By Laura Litvan & Julie Bykowicz - Feb 19, 2013 7:00 PM CT

He’s an anti-tax Republican representative from Ohio. She’s an anti-war Democratic senator from Washington state. Jim Jordan and Patty Murray have little in common, save this: Protecting multibillion-dollar defense projects in their states from budget cuts.

Together, they embody why reducing the defense budget is difficult, even with wide agreement that the government spends too much. The Pentagon’s largess is so sprawling that, through military bases and contracts, it touches all 535 members of Congress -- money that translates into jobs and revenue for companies that are major campaign donors.

“It’s hellishly hard to cut a major defense acquisition program” because of those connections, said Gordon Adams, a U.S. foreign policy professor at American University in Washington who as an associate director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton reviewed the Defense Department’s annual budget requests.

GRAPHIC: Defense Cuts Elusive as Lawmakers Protect Local Projects



Ships Leaking $37 Billion Reflect Eisenhower’s Warning
By David Lerman & Nick Taborek - Feb 20, 2013 7:00 PM CT

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus confronted a tough choice in the competition to develop a small, speedy and adaptable ship to patrol close to shore in politically turbulent waters from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea.

When opposing bids from teams led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) and Austal Ltd. (ASB) came in for less than the Pentagon projected, Mabus made a costly and unusual decision: Build both versions of the Littoral Combat Ship -- a conventional steel-hulled vessel and a sharp-angled aluminum alternative that has been compared to a “Star Trek” spaceship.

The 2010 decision guaranteed jobs in shipyards building the two designs and ensured political support from the communities and defense contractors that benefit. It also has added at least $400 million in taxpayer costs to support and maintain dual sets of ships over their lifespan, according to the Navy’s estimate.

GRAPHIC: A Rough Start for Navy's Newest Vessel



Flawed F-35 Fighter Too Big to Kill as Lockheed Hooks 45 States
By Kathleen Miller, Tony Capaccio & Danielle Ivory - Feb 22, 2013 2:08 PM CT

The Pentagon envisioned the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as an affordable, state-of-the-art stealth jet serving three military branches and U.S. allies.

Instead, the Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) aircraft has been plagued by a costly redesign, bulkhead cracks, too much weight, and delays to essential software that have helped put it seven years behind schedule and 70 percent over its initial cost estimate. At almost $400 billion, it’s the most expensive weapons system in U.S. history.

It is also the defense project too big to kill. The F-35 funnels business to a global network of contractors that includes Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) and Kongsberg Gruppen ASA of Norway. It counts 1,300 suppliers in 45 states supporting 133,000 jobs -- and more in nine other countries, according to Lockheed. The F-35 is an example of how large weapons programs can plow ahead amid questions about their strategic necessity and their failure to arrive on time and on budget.

GRAPHIC: No Program Left Behind

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Reply Bloomberg series on Pentagon weapons spending (Original post)
jsr Feb 2013 OP
Angry Dragon Feb 2013 #1

Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:56 PM

1. Have the leaders fight the wars and we would have less wars .........

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