06 January 2006

Lack of Body Armor Kills

There have been a little more than 2,000 U.S. soldier deaths in the Iraq War so far. Body armor would have prevented 270 of them. The cost of buying better quality armor for every soldier is on the order of magnitude of the cost of one or two littoral combat ships or F-22As ($1,000 to $2,000 per soldiers in the conflict area), and is far less than the cost of a single Virginia class submarine or DD(X) destroyer (ten to twenty times as much as that).

It isn't that military spending is a necessarily bad thing. There are people who believe that, but I'm not one of them. It is that we spend vast sums of money on fairly low priority needs, while trying to be thrifty in areas where a little more spending can make the difference between life and death in the wars we are fighting right now. It isn't waste and abuse that I'm worried about. There is corruption and waste in military spending, but it pales in comparison to the money wasted on a procurement agend based on the status quo, rather than a piercing examination of our nation's strategic needs.

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