09 March 2009

Zombie Alert

No, not these zombies, I mean hyper-expensive, previously killed defense procurement project zombies.

For example:

[L]ast July, when the Navy's top brass decided to end production of their newest class of destroyers -- in response to 15 classified intelligence reports highlighting their vulnerability to a range of foreign missiles -- seven Democratic senators quickly joined four Republicans to demand a reversal. They threatened to cut all funding for surface combat ships in 2009.

Within a month, Gates and the Navy reversed course and endorsed production of a third DDG-1000 destroyer, at a cost of $2.7 billion.

Production of the DDG-1000 was previously capped at two ships (from an originally planned seven) due to cost overruns and decreased military relevance. Existing destroyers cost about a third as much of as the DDG-1000, whose original primary justification was primarily to provide sea based fire support for Marines during amphibious invasions.

Also back from the dead, although less obnoxiously because of the implied promise that other Air Force programs would be cut to pay for them, is the F-22 fighter jet buy which was limited by Congress to 183 planes, but which is about to have 60 additional planes tacked on, in the face of rising prices, delayed deliveries and performance concerns about the F-35B.

The budget also had 15 C-17s not requested by the military added to it by Congress, and Congress has insisted on have a backup engine design for the F-35 at immense cost.

The issue isn't a partisan one. Democrats are at least as guilty as Republicans, driven by the desire to bring home pork for their districts. But, it is the single biggest source of bloat in the military budget.

1 comment:

Michael Malak said...

Surface ships and manned aircraft are both relics of previous wars.