<\body> Stories in America: The High Cost of Weapons in a Military Industrial Complex

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The High Cost of Weapons in a Military Industrial Complex

Be sure to see the documentary, Why We Fight. It does an excellent job of explaining how and why the military industrial complex continues to explode.

This is from the Boston Globe:

The Government Accountability Office, the government's nonpartisan audit bureau, warned of "the risks of conducting business as usual," and concluded in a report in November that the major weapons programs are at "high risk" for fraud, waste, abuse , and mismanagement.

The Department of Defense "has experienced cost overruns, missed deadlines, performance shortfalls, and persistent management problems," the report said. "In light of the serious budget pressures facing the nation, such problems are especially troubling."
The estimated costs for the development of major weapons systems for the US military have doubled since September 11, 2001, with a trillion-dollar price tag for new planes, ships, and missiles that would have little direct role in the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The soaring cost estimates -- disclosed in a report for the Republican-led Senate Budget Committee -- have led to concerns that supporters of multibillion-dollar weapons programs in Congress, the Pentagon , and the defense industry are using the conflicts and the war on terrorism to fulfill a wish-list of defense expenditures, whether they are needed or not for the war on terrorism.

The report, based on Defense Department data, concluded that the best way to keep defense spending in check in the coming years lies in ``controlling the cost of weaponry," especially those programs that the Pentagon might not necessarily need.

The projections of what it will cost to acquire ``major weapons programs" currently in production or on the drawing board soared from $790 billion in September 2001 to $1.61 trillion in June 2006, according to the congressional analysis of Pentagon data.

Costs for some of the most expensive new weapon systems -- such as satellite-linked combat vehicles for ground troops; a next-generation fighter plane ; and a cutting-edge, stealth-technology destroyer for the Navy -- are predicted to cost even more by the time they are delivered, because many of them are still in their early phases. In a quarterly report to Congress on weapons costs earlier this month, the Pentagon reported that of the $1.61 trillion it thinks it will need for big-ticket weapons, it has spent more than half so far -- about $909 billion.


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