Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mayhap the Defense Budget Could Verily Use a Side Eye

The Project On Government Oversight has released the complete, unredacted Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (DoD OIG*) audit, and it is about as stupid as you would expect.

You can read a summary and get a link to the report itself here.

I think the natural reaction is to kind of freak out about this kind of stuff, and I don't really begrudge anyone that reaction.  Some of this is absolutely ridiculous.  My personal sense is that sanity is somewhere in the middle, towards the side of "buy it at Ace Hardware already."  The Department of Defense uses these parts in some pretty extreme environments, and even if not every helicopter is being used in the desert, it makes the most sense to make sure all or at least most helicopters can be used in the desert, in case some supply crisis evolves and they need to go to the desert.  The various pieces of hardware I can pick up at the local hardware store might not be sufficient for this kind of high-impact, high-stress application.  If I knew about fixing a car engine, and someone asked me to take a stab at fixing an airplane engine, I would start with finding a manual or doing some Google-fu to figured out if there were different stressors for parts in an aircraft engine, just to check.  The engines are essentially the same, but I would check.  Same thing for military resources - some of them may need slightly different things.  However, when every available part is marked up between 33 and 177,475 percent, I think we have a problem here.

One of my biggest problems with defense spending right now is that we seem to be very focused on high tech solutions at the expense of getting our troops' basic needs met, both in terms of comfort and in armament. 

* There is a reason one of the things I got when I started working for the government back in DC was an acronym dictionary. People would toss that shit off like it was nothing.  Alphabet soup has more coherent sentences.

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