Defense Budget Series

On MotherJones.com:

Shock and Audit, by Rachel Morris

I’ve skimmed the series and it seems worth a more detailed read.  In the meantime, the opening paragraph contains this checklist, which reads like a manifesto of the Defense Reform Movement (of which Boyd was a founding member):

But although the press touted the proposals as bold and ambitious, they sounded suspiciously like the basic budgeting tips a financial adviser would dispense if you’d lost total control of your personal expenses. The essential principles were:

  • Keep track of money that comes in and goes out
  • Don’t buy things you don’t need
  • Don’t buy things that don’t work
  • If you do buy something that doesn’t work, don’t order 200 more of them

Now, we can argue over “need.”  I for one don’t feel that we need to keep a significant amount of conventional forces (particularly ships and tanks/ other armor), but there are people with reform credentials better than mine who  disagree.  Nonetheless, tough to argue with the other three.

Here’s another observation:  The cumulative cost overruns, about $300 billion, of weapons now in the defense budget is more than three times the entire defense budget of China, the world’s second biggest spender on defense, and, parenthetically, a country with a nearly 14,000 mile long border, every inch of which represents a potential threat.

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