How Bells, Whistles & Greed Blew Up the Imperial War Budget

When you go into combat you want to do it with a complex, unproven, hi-maintenance technology demonstrator

Even as the movement to think critically about cutting the Pentagon’s budget slowly gains ground, wrong-headed arguments in favor of boosting military spending without question still prevail.

Just take a recent column in Defense One from Dakota Wood of the Heritage Foundation, who attempted to make the case that the character of the modern military operations justify $740 billion Pentagon budgets. In it, he claims that cost reductions just aren’t possible since arms and personnel costs have exploded faster than inflation since World War II.

Yet, he failed in most cases to address why military costs have grown so much and how increased budgets exacerbate problematic weapons programs.

By simply shoveling money at the Pentagon, Congress actually hinders good military thinking. Free-flowing money provides service leaders license to pursue excessively complex weapons programs with the mistaken belief that wars can be won simply by having more technology than our adversaries.

The reality is, according to John Boyd, the legendary military thinker and central figure of the Reagan-era military reform movement, wars are won by good people using innovative ideas. The weapons they use are mere tools. As anyone who has tinkered around their garage knows, the best tools are the simple, reliable ones specifically engineered for the task at hand.

Sadly, the members of the military-industrial-congressional complex do not seem to understand this. They bought an aircraft carrier so loaded up with unproven technology that it is already five years behind schedule and still has at least three years of work to go before it can set sail. They will spend more than $400 billion to buy a fighter plane that can’t shoot straight.

The weapons the Pentagon buys are too often needlessly complex and thus unnecessarily expensive. While they are sold as vast improvements over earlier weapons, the new versions often provide only marginally improved capabilities in the best cases, but are way more expensive than their predecessors. Just as often, in the pursuit of new capabilities, the excessively complex weapons are actually less effective than what came before them.

And the increased logistics and maintenance burdens make the systems even more expensive while reducing the overall combat effectiveness.

These overly complex weapons often serve as a distraction on the battlefield because they force the troops to spend far too much time focused internally on what’s necessary to get the finicky contraptions to work. This distracts them from where their focus should be: on how to fight the enemy. Training becomes an issue as well because it takes far longer to teach someone how to use the new systems. For a force that is already burdened with more required training events than it has time to execute properly, the Pentagon should not further encumber troops with training on overly complicated weapons systems.

Defense contractors intentionally load up their products with as many gadgets as possible because by doing so they make more money. They receive money on the front end during the development process, and then make more money on the back end through lucrative long-term sustainment contracts.

  1. 14th Troll says

    Stupid is always on sale in America, and in high demand!

  2. Florian Crazzi says

    Hmm , the downfall of american empire is here

  3. Ronnie&MargaretInDementia says

    They never learn anything. The F35 is a £1.1 trillion flight simulator. This is what happens when you judge military success by profit and not victory on the field.

  4. nick1111 says

    High tech weapons with software written by stupid Indian programmers

    1. Séamus Ó Néill says

      Billions to develop a pen to write in space, the Russians use a pencil, billions to develop and anti-IED device and the Russians use a sniffer dog……..and you have the nerve to imply Indians are stupid, I think Americans won that race a long time ago !

  5. Danny B says

    Keynes said that “we need perpetual warfare to perpetually stimulate the economy” The chosenites were all too happy to inflict this largess of military spending on anybody who might be a potential enemy in the future. With a total military budget of $ 1.3 trillion, we definitely have a lot of stimulus for the war mongers.

  6. michael houston says

    too late to turn back now…..”fire all your guns at once….and explode into space”…..rather fun watching the evolution of the humans returning to the status of worms…….

  7. David Bedford says

    War is a racket.

  8. ke4ram says

    Sure,,, there’s no inflation,,, gubermint says so, just ask them. And it’s true if you don’t eat, work, drive, or live in a house. Actually over 10% per annum for the last 20 years. probably higher in the last ten.

    Then one has to consider it takes $50 dollars of bribes, corruption and the (not) inflation to produce 1$ of military product that likely doesn’t work. Then another $50 dollars in bribes and corruption to fix what doesn’t work. From F35s to the literal junk littoral ships which were sooo bad they decided not to repair the first four, telling the taxpayers how they were saving them money.

    The US MIC is nothing more than a transfer of cash from tax payers to the banks and war corporations and the thousands of money filching contractors in between. Then considering our congressional thieves knowing what is going to be approved make their millions on Stock Market insider information, totally illegal for the deplorables. Check how many millionaires their are in con-gress. Couple that with millionaires / billionaires in the executive and it’s pretty easy to see we might not have the glowing democracy everyone claims we have.

  9. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

    Yeah, war is a racket but that’s an understatement.

    Imperialistic war, as waged by the US oligarchs (democrats and Jew loving republicans), IS MURDER FOR MONEY. Murder for fucking money. Take that and shove it up your virtue signaling, flag waving, money grubbing, Jesus worshipping asses.

    Yeah, I’m also an American but I haven’t supported one goddamn thing the US military and its sleazy ass Nazi, religious nut allies have done since 2000, or so.

    1. Bobby says

      Interesting take.

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