Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"John Wick didn't kill all those people because they broke his toaster." -MickAK

"Everything is easy if somebody else is the one doing it." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, November 16, 2009

I am Shocked, Shocked, to Learn That

The F-35 program is behind schedule and over budget. No fucking shit. You could pick a DoD procurement program at random and insert the name of the program in the place of "F-35 program" and you'd have a near certainty of being accurate.

Every fucking defense contractor overpromises on the timeline and underestimates the cost. Everyone involved in the procurement process keeps a straight face about it when they review the bids, knowing full well that when it comes to capability, costs and production estimates, they are reading fiction. In the case of the Army's LandWarrior program, it was science fiction. It's been this way since the Continental Congress first bought muskets for General Washington's army.

Then there are the gullible reporters who are simply amazed that a DoD program is behind schedule and over budget, because they have a worse short-term memory than that dude in "Memento". There are the bombastic congressmen who also profess shock and that Something Will Be Done This Time To Fix It(tm), at the same time they take large campaign contributions from LockMart and Boeing.

Nothing ever changes. The military procurement system is inherently dishonest, if not outright corrupt.

For some fresh outrage: How the Old Cuban Farts keep purchasing enough congressman to keep the embargo in place.


BadTux said...

The only fighter program I can think of that came anywhere near on time and under budget is the F-16 project. But you're right, contractors have a long history of supplying shoddy and overpriced merchandise to the military. Some of the gunpowder that contractors supplied to the Union forces during the Civil War was more dangerous to the shooter than to the Confederates, and as for the weevily hardtack, well, extra protein, right?

Anonymous said...

In the name of fairness, let me point out one problem of procurement is that the amount is predicated on the production of certain numbers...that lower the cost of set up (factory making, parts, etc...more things cost less per piece, etc); so the first cost increase is when the number the government asks for is reduced, the set up cost is divided over fewer models.

Second, the government has a way of also changing and padding demands...all of these things cost money, so it puts the contractor behind again. It is not all just the contractors. Most of the time, big 'building things' contracts do not make much profit for the company...because it ends up eating them whole.

Now, personnel contracts ...like KBR, etc? Those are entirely different. Ordinary small item procurement might be likewise profitable. But firms like Boeing? They often take a financial bath on the projects.

Distributorcap said...

its stuff like that makes people hate health care reform - and other govt programs.

Vannevar said...

...because they have a worse short-term memory than that dude in "Memento".


Cujo359 said...

Yes, Labrys, personnel/services contracts like the ones KBR specialize in seem to be where the real gold is these days. I think one of the largely unrecognized reasons that the defense procurement process has become so bloated and inefficient is that many of those personnel/services contracts are for the development and test agencies.

Each service has a huge procurement arm that is dedicated to managing the costs and direction of weapons programs. Yet we continue to read stories like this. The only thing that actually seems to be progressing is how complex it is to develop a system for DoD.