The Department of Defense has been given a free ride pretty much since World War II. The Military Industrial Complex which President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address (former 5 star general Eisenhower) is very real and it has grown and grown taking up ever more of the American economy. The contractors and the services are awash in taxpayer money. Your money. And much of this money isn’t being used wisely. It is going to hyper expensive parts procurement (see above), and for programs in sub-Saharan Africa, and jets which catch fire on the flight line (The F-35) and Lord knows what else.
For too long many Americans have just given a blank check to “defense” in this country. No one wants to be seen as undermining soldiers, sailors, and airmen. But this goodwill has been abused and it’s time that people who usually might not consider themselves critics of the military understand this. It’s your money. It’s your country.
The troubled fighter is only the latest in a long and growing number of cases where the DOD has bought poorly designed and massively overpriced equipment for the nation’s armed forces. Across the military, the average major Pentagon acquisition comes in at 40 percent over budget, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office. In spite of the Pentagon’s well-documented history of profligacy, the Congress continues to enlarge its responsibilities. The DOD’s mandate now includes wide-ranging scientific and medical research and international infrastructure projects, diffusing the focus on its core mission—like buying planes that don’t set themselves afire on the runway. That’s a disservice to America’s military and a burden to the country’s taxpayers.