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  1. #1

    USS Gerald Ford - A $13 Billion Boondoggle

    USS Gerald Ford - A $13 Billion Boondoggle



    The US Navy's newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford, is so over-budget and riddled with errors that it's practically useless. Never is it asked whether we need such a ship for the defense of this country. It is about spending and maintaining steady growth in the defense industry. Our own safety and security are completely irrelevant to the military spending juggernaut. And it's not just this carrier...
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul
    They are what they hate.” - B4L


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.



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  3. #2
    Bankrupt and Irrelevant: the Presidential Debates and Four Recent Studies on Pentagon Spending

    In the almost 12 hours of Democratic Party presidential primary debates on June 26-27 and July 30-31, the words “Pentagon budget” or “defense spending” were not uttered, except for a fleeting, unanswered comment from Senator Bernie Sanders. Nor did any of the cable news moderators ask a single question about the more than $1.25 trillion dollars spent in 2019 for national security.

    This is sad but unsurprising. Despite the parade of scandals and the billions of dollars wasted on poorly performing, schedule busting, cost exploding weapons systems, the dismal failure of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) audit, the grossly overpriced spare parts, the ethically challenged senior leaders and the widely reported collapse in training and readiness, the issue of Pentagon spending and a decaying defense has been steadfastly shunned by both the candidates and the debate moderators.

    Many people are quite happy about that. They wear star decorated uniforms in headquarters around the globe and expensive suits in corporate board rooms, congressional hangouts on Capitol Hill and wood-paneled offices on the E-ring of the Pentagon. The brass and the suits are well aware that candidate interest in their stewardship could get more than a little embarrassing.

    Clearly, the Democratic candidates think they have good reasons for their silence on defense spending. Political gurus urge them to avoid serious, fundamental criticism of the military services. After all, such criticism can get costly – both in unkind media fault-finding and vanishing campaign donations. There’s a long history of Pentagon-critical politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, trashed by the warhawk media and the corporate shills for being “anti-defense” and not “supporting the troops.”

    Being literally non-existent, this year’s defense debate is every bit as bankrupt as ever.

    Obviously, real scrutiny is badly needed. Tinkering with defense budget cuts here and there won’t do. Instead, changes must be based on a deep understanding of why we are now spending more in inflation adjusted dollars than at any time in post-World War II history, excepting Obama’s 2010 spending peak — and why we now have the smallest, most problem-riddled forces as well.

    We need to start with the simple fact that defense spending since the Korean war has never fallen below a long term 5 percent growth curve (in current dollars), quite independently of strategy, worldwide threats or changing alliances. As shown in the figure below from a new analysis tracking annual appropriations, the American political-military-industrial system has developed a safeguard system to perpetually increase the money flow.

    In other words, for 65 years the military budget’s inexorable expansion has not been controlled by the dramatic changes in America’s actual national security needs but by political and independent cash flow demands from inside the Pentagon, Congress, industry, and think tanks.

    Secondly, we need to recognize that this inexorable money growth has shrunk our forces and weakened their capabilities so dramatically that today we would be utterly unready for and incapable of supporting – much less winning – Korean or Vietnam war sized campaigns. War with Iran would be disastrous according to insightful current military assessments.

    There are underlying pathologies that connect rising spending with decaying force effectiveness. This naturally leads to the idea that we can have a better defense for less money, but only if the proposed budget changes — along with other reforms — address those pathologies. Without doing so, the big spenders in the Department of Defense, the White House and the Congress as well as the campaign-donating greasers in defense corporations, Wall Street and K Street will happily cherry pick the line item changes they like and trash the rest. Business as usual in the Pentagon will march on; the soul-destroying American wars will continue, and trillions will be wasted on perpetuating the decay of our defenses.

    Without bearing directly on these basic pathologies, how can any analysis be relevant?

    Four recent national security studies by respected Washington think tanks and issue organizations address the current defense spending problem. They each cut DOD programs and change policies to save money. The 25 authors (some with decades of experience and for whom we have real appreciation) have written over 50 recommendations supported by considerable details. That the Democratic candidates have publicly ignored them all does not speak to the studies’ quality. Instead, it speaks to the candidates’ unwillingness to pick a fight with the horde of big spending advocates in both parties who will sling Pentagon- and corporation-written slick rebuttals, but certainly not campaign contributions, at any proposed reduction. Nonetheless, the studies warrant close examination as they exemplify the character of today’s inside-the-beltway Pentagon criticism.
    ...
    There is no oversight of this broken system. For example, no one knows exactly what is done with the money DOD gets from Congress. Despite the Constitution’s requirement that “a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time,” DOD remains the only federal department that has never complied. In the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, Congress passed a requirement for all agencies to be audited. After decades of delay and repeatedly busted administrative deadlines, the Pentagon attempted to audit its spending in 2018. As reported by the DOD Inspector General, the exercise was a dismal failure. In boring auditor-ese on page 11, the IG report tells us the audit declared a “disclaimer of opinion” (I.E. un-auditable) for 56 percent of DOD agencies and 90 percent of the money. DOD literally does not know and can only estimate what happens to 90 percent of its money.
    ...
    The Constitution charges Congress with overseeing the “Statement and Account” of expenditures and, indeed, of all Pentagon activities. Tune in to any House or Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on oversight. Watch as those Members who are present frequently look down at their papers as they ask a question, assuming it is a real question and not a speech. They are reading staff-prepared questions. The DOD witness will politely answer, often misleadingly. Then the Member will glance at the paper and read off the next question. A follow-up question to probe further would require a uniquely prescient staff memo or actual and thorough preparation for the hearing by the Member. Other Members will harangue the DOD witness, often in a very convincing manner—and after the hearing do nothing.

    All of the above pathologies are facilitated by congressional staffers and Pentagon acquisition managers who come from or go to the same defense corporations that get the contracts the staffers and managers are supposed to oversee. Or, they rotate through the investment firms, lobbying shops and think tanks that profit by pressing for those same contracts. POGO has been reporting on this for decades and, in an excellent 2018 report, has documented hundreds of high ranking military and civilian passengers on this gravy train. They more or less run the Pentagon and are overseen by congressional staffers who ride the same non-stop express.

    It is a system that is not just broken, but corrupt.
    ...
    More: http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives...agon-spending/
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul
    They are what they hate.” - B4L


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  4. #3
    Any aircraft carrier built these days is a boondoggle. Military planners in W.W.II, such as some in America and the Japan, rightfully saw their ascendancy over the Battleship against the will of those that believed the Battleship was paramount in naval warfare. So too it is with carriers.



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