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Dumb defense spending

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re: Dumb defense spending
MarkDW   12/15/2008 7:50:54 PM
The North Koreans have ICBMs that can hit the California coast now. So do the Chinese. The Chinese have said they will attack the United States with nuclear weapons if we interfere with their conquest of Taiwan. The Iranians have missiles that can hit Israel and southern Europe. The North Koreans and the Iranians only lack nuclear warheads. As for the missile defense program few technical problems remain. Test flights are successful. Remember, Al'Qaida wants to kill four million Americans in one event. So, yes we need additional projects too.

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re: Dumb defense spending
arclight_arclight   12/9/2008 12:48:30 PM
It's easy to kick the Defense Department for being wasteful, but that ignores several realities: (1) Per Title 10 of the US Code (the body of law for the US, and not to be confused with the Code of Federal Regulations), the Services and the Department of Defense are funded independently. This makes it much more difficult to coalesce around a coordinated Defense vision, and makes it much easier for work to be duplicative or just plain wasteful. Congress keeps it this way for their own reasons, but it has to be deliberate, since they control what's in the US Code. (2) Due to some fraud cases years ago, Congress has so complicated Defense procurement that it requires far more to procure in the DoD world than it does in other parts of the Federal government. That paperwork and process costs extra money. (3) Whereas Defense spending used to be a primary driver of technology development, with many businesses lining up to work on Defense programs, now businesses can make more money faster (and isn't that what businesses are focused on) by doing commercial work. As a result Defense development is almost an afterthought. This leads to fewer competitors, higher prices, and longer leadtimes. Those things in turn drive potential competitors even further away. As long as this vicious cycle continues, not much changes. If you want to see real change, tell your Congress to (a) change USC 10 to prevent duplication and waste through the Defense procurement processes, and (b) require changes in the Code of Federal Regulations to streamline processes but hold individuals more accountable for their actions. As far as the last item is concerned, that doesn't change until we return to the idea that we are citizens rather than just hoarders of resources. That will require a heart change, and that's not something that even the Congress can bring about.

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