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Report: Up to $60B wasted in war contracting

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posted on Sep, 1 2011 @ 04:24 PM
reply to post by dolphinfan

Thanks. More excuse ladden double speak from someone who supports the current foreign policy and military complex. Fine.

Please highlight my "double-speak" before preaching at me.

This " you're not in the military, you could'nt possibly understand" nonsense. You're right - people not in the military can't understand why we need thousands of troops in Italy and Germany, two strong economies that have a positive trade balance with the US. I guess the generals are preparing for the Russian hoards to come flowing across Eastern Europe. People not in the military can't understand why we need troops in South Korea, one of the most powerful countries in the world again with a positive trade balance with the US and a country where a large segment of the population does not want us there. Same with Japan.

If you will note - I never said it requires people in the military to make policy-related decisions. One does, however, have to possess first-hand knowledge of the commands, climates, objectives, and theater objectives before being able to adequately assess that command's necessity as it pertains to the goal in that theater.

Now, the military will have all kinds of "strategic reasons" why that investment is necessary. If it is so necessary why don't the Germans, Italians, South Koreans and Japanese pay for it? Why is the US essentially providing free military and intelligence services for wealthy countries? We have an alliance, NATO which half of the members don't support militarily nor financially. The US should be a bit character in NATO, not the driver of it. It is, afterall an alliance designed to ensure European security.

I am not opposed to allowing the U.S. military to compete for foreign defense contracts as a bidder. That would actually make things rather interesting. Although I could see the characterization of "soldiers of fortune" being paraded around, I've never seen a problem with that. Defense is a service just like anything else offered. I have ambitions to, one day, create a PMC with capabilities that rival the cutting edge of any military on the planet. I've no problems with allowing COs to bid on contracts, much like the Clan way of doing things in the BattleTech universe.

That said - The U.S. has a vested interest in the economies of many of those countries - hence our military presence in those regions. Again - we are not adequately informed to have any kind of meaningful discussion as to what kinds of presence need to be in each theater, as well as the quantity and geographic location.

We need a separately formed committee to investigate that with boots-on-ground agents gathering data and perspectives from within those commands. The committee should be composed of those with business and/or career success outside of the military (though military experience should not be an exclusionary factor, we want to draw from more backgrounds). This also needs to include data about the systems employed by each command and their real-world capabilities.

Only then can a meaningful analysis of that command's existence and deposition be made.

As far as the 700+ military bases. You say we need them. The military says we need them. Fine. Let them go through a facility by facility justification that is transparent (oh, I forgot it can't be transparent because its the military) and see if the American people think we need those facilities.

Many things can be transparent in the military. Most of the data used by this committee would be rendered obsolete by the actions of the committee - thereby minimizing OPSEC concerns.

Your credibility is shot when you attempt to justify the need for that many facilities, particularily with the investments in telecommunications connecting dispersed folks in real time. My friend just got off a tour where he was flying drones in Afganistan from Tennessee.

Those systems are some of the LEAST cost-effective in the military (until you consider their impact on 'standard' forces being empowered by the information they gather - but they are a force-multiplier, not a force-projector). Thousands of people are involved in getting that one drone to fly. And the damned thing still needs a base to take off from (that is within the theater of operation). Drones bring a lot of things to the table - but they are not a silver-bullet solution. The only costs they reduce are those associated with losing a pilot with years of experience and training.

Will have to continue in another post.

posted on Sep, 1 2011 @ 04:47 PM
reply to post by dolphinfan

Go ahead and ask 20 people if they think that American's should be on the ground in Afganistan, training people how to be police and 18 of them will say no. The American people don't want this boots on the ground, nation building bs.

This is where things get a little tricky. There is a reason, in this nation, the people are not given free reign of policy. Ask 20 Americans who the president is, and 5 of them will answer wrong. Public opinion has its place, but we also have to respect our Federated Republic. Our representatives ultimately form the policy. In -theory-, they are supposed to be more fully briefed on the issues and take into account the concerns of those within their district and their state at large. In -theory-, a decision can be made that the public disagrees with but is actually more in line with their desires and interests than they realize (due to the lack of being informed).

Reality is a little different, and that is why we are supposed to keep an eye on our representatives and do what we can to educate ourselves and each other on the issue, so we can give proper feedback and make competent decisions within the election process. We can go on with this for hours about the issues with our electoral system (how it has been turned into a "competition" where winner-takes-all, and other such silliness) - but it's really a tangent issue.

It is a wasteful exercise. It is a profitable exercise for the defense contractors and that is why we do it. The defense of our country should be about defense, not a jobs program. If you don't think the US military has become a jobs program, read some congressional transcripts when they discuss base closures. They are all about jobs and have little to do with security.

To be fair - a congressional representative is going to fight to keep a military base in their district open. Those bases drive entire counties (and not just off of soldiers walking around spending money on things). The closure of a base wreaks havoc on a local economy.

If you are sent forth, to Congress, to represent your district - and a base within it is up for closure, and you vote to close it.... are you really representing the interests of your district or acting in their best interest? Because I can guarantee you that most of the people on the streets will not be looking too favorably at the closing of a local military base. Even if they are for limiting defense spending.

At which point - I can't really fault any representative for fighting to keep a base in their district open. That is what they are there to do - to argue for the people and lifestyles they represent.

We do have civilian control of the military (at least we used to and are supposed to). The military industrial complex has so many politicians in their pockets that actually the military guides our policy and justifies it under the cloak of "need to know".

This is not entirely true.

The military conducts a number of operations the civilian world will never hear about, spare for representatives and a few analysts. Those policies were put in place by politicians elected to their office. If you want complete military transparency, it's going to be a tough fight - I can guarantee that. I'd also charge that you would end up regretting committing to that policy change. But it really makes little difference to me, and even less difference to the mentality.

The military will always be hiding something if you ask some people. It doesn't really matter what is done for the sake of transparency to them.

The percentage of the budget that is spent on the military is a false number. There are billions of dollars throughout the budget that are spent as a direct result of our military policy. The departments of energy, transportation, state, agriculture are among those who spend money in support of our military policy. That number has become a left pocket/right pocket shell game. Its not what we spend on our military. Its what we spend to support our military policy and that number is huge. Its also purposefully hidden

Please, take the time to enlighten me (and/or the rest of the thread). I'm not saying you are wrong - but I am curious as to what numbers you are coming up with, and how you arrive at them.

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