Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Fraud, Waste and Abuse… in the Pentagon. Is ANYONE surprised?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 13, 2013

Here’s the one-liner you’ll remember, albeit one with significant truth:

“There’s more pork in the Pentagon budget than a Smithfield corporate hog farm feedlot in North Carolina.”

Or, if you prefer:

“There’s more pork in the Pentagon budget than a Paula Deen Christmas recipe.”

And if the Pentagon budget were a recipe, it’d be a recipe for disaster.

The budget for the United States Department of Defense accounts for very nearly 6% of our nation’s budget. It is THE SINGLE LARGEST BUDGET ITEM in the entire budget. The amount of money sifting through the Pentagon’s hands is more than the combined defense budgets of the world’s top 15 wealthiest nations. And, it accounts for 4.7% of our nation’s economy. Late former President Dwight David Eisenhower was spot-on accurate in his Farewell Address to the nation 17 January 1961 when he warned us saying:

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

None of this is to say, of course, that any kind of spending on national defense is somehow a bad thing, for it is not. Yet Eisenhower specifically warned about even the spiritual implications of the DoD spending “Gone Wild.” However, the last time the people, the Congress, the President or anyone else – including the Comptroller General, the Office of the DoD Inspector General, or the Secretary of Defense ever said anything about being budget hawks on the use of the people’s taxes was September 10, 2001 when SecDef Donald Rumsfeld spoke to the Department of Defense, and announced that the Department of Defense “cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” Not only was that money MIA, but he added that…

“The technology revolution has transformed organizations across the private sector, but not ours, not fully, not yet. We are, as they say, tangled in our anchor chain. Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building because it’s stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible.

“We maintain 20 to 25 percent more base infrastructure than we need to support our forces, at an annual waste to taxpayers of some $3 billion to $4 billion. Fully half of our resources go to infrastructure and overhead, and in addition to draining resources from warfighting, these costly and outdated systems, procedures and programs stifle innovation as well. A new idea must often survive the gauntlet of some 17 levels of bureaucracy to make it from a line officer’s to my desk. I have too much respect for a line officer to believe that we need 17 layers between us.”
-Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, September 10, 2001

He discovered $2.3 Trillion in the DoD budget of taxpayer monies which had no accounting. It was “Missing In Action.” The next day, the World Trade Centers suffered terrorist attacks. We never heard anything ever again. [Read the text of his speech here: http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=430]

Here’s a video of the CBS news report.

And now, here’s a jet plane that is the veritable aircraft version of a Jack-of-all-Trades-and-Master-of-None, which our nation’s military has previously said they do not need, and already have other more durable, reliable and operable aircraft. And this is a thing that they have continuously said they want, rather than need.

Wants and needs are two entirely different things.

And not only that, but that the entire bidding process related to Defense contracts is fraught with cost overruns, late deliveries and more – all of which would NOT be, and is NOT tolerated in private enterprise. And yet, we somehow think that the sacred cow of Pentagon spending is somehow exempted from the normal rules of operation.

And now, with the budget items heating up again, it would be ludicrously preposterous to presume that the sacred cow of Pentagon slush funds slop trough is in pristine condition.

Other agencies, like American businesses and families throughout, have learned to live within their means, and make do with less.

Why can’t the Pentagon?

F-35 Marine Model Stress Testing Halted Over Cracks

By Tony Capaccio – Jan 12, 2013

Durability testing on the most complicated version of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s (LMT) F-35 was halted last month after “multiple” cracks were discovered in the fighter jet, according to the Pentagon’s testing office.

The previously undisclosed halt in high-stress ground testing involves the F-35B, the Marine Corps’ version that must withstand short takeoffs and landings on carriers and amphibious warfare vessels, according to an annual report on the F-35 that Defense Department testing chief Michael Gilmore sent to Congress yesterday. Flight testing wasn’t affected.

Development of the F-35, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, has been marked by delays and cost increases. The Pentagon estimates the total cost for development and production of 2,443 F-35s will be $395.7 billion, a 70 percent increase since the initial contract with Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin was signed in 2001.

Durability testing is intended to stress an airframe, assessing its capability to achieve a projected aircraft lifetime of 8,000 “equivalent flight hours.”

Testing for the Marine short-takeoff-and-vertical landing version was progressing this year until last month’s halt “after multiple new cracks were found in a bulkhead flange” on the fuselage’s underside during an inspection after the equivalent of 7,000 hours of testing, according to the report to Congress. The cracks were confined to that area.

Testing of the F-35B model had been restarted in January 2012 after a 16-month delay caused by the discovery, analysis and repair of a previous crack in the plane’s bulkhead. All three models of the F-35 are required to go through ground testing to the equivalent of 16,000 hours of flight.

Seeking Cause

Analysis of the crack continues to find its root cause, plan corrective actions and determine whether the cracks had been predicted in modeling, according to the report.

Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s F-35 program, didn’t respond to e-mail and phone requests for comment on the report

Michael Rein, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, said in an e-mail today that “we discovered a crack at 7,000 hours” and “ stopped structural testing at that point, identified the causes” and “the changes needed.” The ground-test aircraft is checked every 1,000 hours, he said.

“We have implemented the fixes” and “expect to resume static testing shortly, as early as late next week,” Rein said.

“This had no impact on flight testing and this is normal engineering development and test work,” he said. “This is why we do structural testing in the first place.”

Still, the test results “highlight the risks and costs” of the Pentagon’s F-35 concurrent-development strategy that produces aircraft while they’re still being developed, Gilmore said. The aircraft have two more years of structural testing that may result in more “discoveries,” he said.

Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, said last year the dual-track approach was “acquisition malpractice.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Capaccio in Washington at acapaccio@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: