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Why is the US military budget so large?

DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
edited April 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
The entire combined world's yearly military budget for 2008 is 1.47 trillion dollars, according to the CIA World Factbook.

The FY2009 United States military budget is $651 billion.

For reference, China is coming in second place at $70 billion for FY2009.

What the fuck?

Look, I realize I might be preaching to the choir here. But is there any reason whatsoever that our military budget is 1) almost half of the entire world's military expenditures, and 2) nearly ten times that of our nearest "rival"? (as if there's any chance of us entering war with China anyway).

And what do we get for our money, anyway? We can barely even hold Iraq. Iraq, whose pre-OIF military budget was the sort of sum that a rich person in this country uses to pay for a nice dinner. Our biggest foreign threats right now are (supposedly) North Korea and Iran, whose combined military budgets for this year are around 11 billion. Combined.

The people doling out money to our military (and deciding what projects get funded and by how much) are still fighting the goddamn Cold War in their heads. Even adjusted for inflation, we're spending more now than we did when Reagan was trying to sink the USSR by outspending them back in the eighties. And we're still spending the money on a bunch of bullshit like we're planning on fighting a prolonged tank battle through East Germany. How many billions of dollars have we spent on the F-22 Raptor, the "next-generation air superiority fighter"? ($63 billion, if you're wondering.) At least Obama's planning to kill off that fucker, but why did it take eighteen years for someone to wake up and say "hey, now that the Soviets aren't around, who the hell are we going to contest air superiority with?"

And hey, it doesn't stop at the Air Force. We have eleven aircraft carriers in service. I'm talking about the full-size Nimitz-class ones, here; I'm not even counting counting the little Wasp-class ships that can only carry helicopters and Harriers. We have eleven in service, and we're in the process of building one more. There are ten aircraft carriers in service that do not belong to the US. In the entire world. And if we're going to be perfectly honest here, only two of those ten (the French Charles de Gaulle and the Russian Admiral Kuznetsov) are anywhere near the size of our carriers, the remaining eight are limited to VTOL craft, like the additional eleven Wasp- and Tarawa-class ships the US has that I didn't even count toward our total.

What the hell are we doing? The US military here is tilting at windmills, gearing up for a fight with an enemy that doesn't even exist. The USSR is gone, and China is one of our biggest trading partners. Besides, any war between superpowers will begin and end with an exchange of nuclear missiles anyway. Is it really necessary to spend this much fucking money on the military?

Daedalus on
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Posts

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    You also have to factor in the fact that we are much less unwilling to have Americans die in a conflict. A lot of the cost of the military doing business goes either directly or indirectly to keeping people in our military alive.

    Take air superiority as an example. We have spent billions and billions of dollars pushing the time horizon further and further away in air conflict. We've gotten so good, that the moment our enemy starts fueling up planes, the pilots of those planes are already dead. We won't actually kill them for another 2-3 hours or so, but we know exactly when they will take off, as soon as they do we have them tracked on radar, and we can fire a missile from a fighter jet that is 80 miles away that the enemy doesn't even know is there. We don't necessarily NEED this capability, but it keeps American pilots alive, and also keeps troops on the ground alive.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Rent wrote: »
    It's a combination of it being one of the worst bureaucracies in the modern world with the worst oversights, the ludicrousness of how military contracts are awarded, and having one of the largest standing militaries in the world

    Mostly the second point though

    Yeah, the second point is why I don't think we can really cut more than maybe a quarter (or less) without losing our ability to project power globally. But still, you could drastically reduce military spending simply by reigning in contractors and eliminating unnecessary weapons systems.

  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    geckahn wrote: »
    Ideally, I would like a very well funded navy focused on controlling the oceans, an airforce focused on long range bombing, and a much smaller army/marines of very highly trained and well equipped soldiers. This should cost significantly less then what we do now, and send the message that we are not interested in invading and occupying countries, but that we won't let other countries be assholes and try to upset global peace and trade.

    The Navy actually is a large airforce on it's own.

  • Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The US military costs are huge because of the network of bases and power projection capabilities around the world, if the same military was kept at home you might have costs more in line with China. You can't really compare the costs because the US is doing/trying to do something no one else is trying - global force projection.

    Now debating if America should keep those power projection abilities is all very well, but comparing it with other countries is comparing McDonald's budget with that of a local diner - the latter doesn't have to maintain an international presence.

  • WifflebatWifflebat Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I can't speak for the rest of it, at least on any intelligent level, but the carriers are how we project our authority over the world, which most would deem necessary to ensure a stable geo-political landscape.

  • geckahngeckahn Registered User
    edited March 2009
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    geckahn wrote: »
    Ideally, I would like a very well funded navy focused on controlling the oceans, an airforce focused on long range bombing, and a much smaller army/marines of very highly trained and well equipped soldiers. This should cost significantly less then what we do now, and send the message that we are not interested in invading and occupying countries, but that we won't let other countries be assholes and try to upset global peace and trade.

    The Navy actually is a large airforce on it's own.

    I'm aware, they can handle pure fighters.

  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Rent wrote: »
    It's a combination of it being one of the worst bureaucracies in the modern world with the worst oversights, the ludicrousness of how military contracts are awarded, and having one of the largest standing militaries in the world

    Mostly the second point though

    Yeah, the second point is why I don't think we can really cut more than maybe a quarter (or less) without losing our ability to project power globally. But still, you could drastically reduce military spending simply by reigning in contractors and eliminating unnecessary weapons systems.

    On the plus side, it keeps sounding like Obama and Gates are going to make that attempt.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Emanon wrote: »
    It is huge and the R&D is retarded, so much so that I find it criminal. Why do we need new aircraft carriers and subs when soldiers are getting killed by cheap bullets & bombs on the streets of Baghdad? The money spent on a new submarine could have been used for awesome armor for the troops and we wouldn't have the high death toll in Iraq.

    You know, that's another thing that pisses me off. It wouldn't bother me (well, it would still bother me, but not as much) if we would spend the money on the shit we actually need to fight the wars we're going to fight. It wasn't until fucking 2007 that the Army started to look into replacing the Humvee with something that can actually survive an ambush in a Baghdad street. I mean, what the fuck did they think was going to happen?

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  • TheMarshalTheMarshal Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    War is changing and our military thinking hasn't. We're moving away from the possibility that an entire nation will sends its armies against us, and moving towards guerrilla warfare and single-serving enemy soldiers. What good does a multi-million dollar submarine and a multi-million dollar helicopter do us if our soldiers are getting killed by people hiding on the side of a road?

  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Ideally we'd like to think that if we spent more money on military that means we'll be safer in our country. But I honestly don't think that's the case.

    Games completed recently: Dead Island: Riptide, Batman: Arkham Origins, StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Dragon's Crown
  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2009
    Daedalus wrote: »
    clsCorwin wrote: »
    That money also funded military guided R&D, which drives innovation into new technologies which derived for military purposes now, will filter down to the rest of us in a few years improving quality of life.

    You know, I don't buy that. If you take an amount of money from military-guided R&D, and put that same amount of money into civilian-oriented R&D, it'll have a greater effect on our quality of life and hey, maybe it can filter down to the military in a few years instead of the other way around.
    But that defeats the purpose of military technology, it is always an arms race to have the best weapons and tools possible. It is a deterrent, everyone knows we will never use our nukes unless other nukes are used so we have to be above any potential enemies.

    Body Armor is expensive, hell some screws on a B52 bomber costs up to $5, with thousands of those on the jet. That my not sound terrible but they are constantly getting replaced along with lots of other tiny parts on the jet. That is a bomber that was last produces in the early 60s, now imagine how much it costs to maintain an F22 for an entire year.
    TheMarshal wrote: »
    War is changing and our military thinking hasn't. We're moving away from the possibility that an entire nation will sends its armies against us, and moving towards guerrilla warfare and single-serving enemy soldiers. What good does a multi-million dollar submarine and a multi-million dollar helicopter do us if our soldiers are getting killed by people hiding on the side of a road?
    Do you personally know, or are you, a military leader in the US? If not then you have no idea what you are talking about. The way of thinking has been drastically changing and if you just look at some of the military propaganda or where some of the new technology is going you will see that.



    I do think that some of the military spending can be cut, but it would not be feasible to cut it as much as some people think is possible.

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  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    nosnibor wrote: »
    Regarding the F-22 Raptor: IIRC, Rumsfeld was trying to kill off some of the more expensive next-gen programs, but ran up against too much Pentagon opposition. I know he was able to kill off some montrosity of a mobile artillery unit, but the Pentagon really wanted to keep their "stealth fighter."

    The thing is, we don't even need the F-22. Ever since the end of the cold war, nobody has come remotely close to challenging our air superiority. The current platforms are perfectly capable of doing the job, the only downside being the age of the airplanes. You know how you fix that? Build new F-16s! The contractor (Lockheed-Martin, I believe) already knows how to make them, and you can build 4-5 of the damn things for the price of a single F-22.

    The short answer is, defense spending has been a blank check for the Military-Industrial Complex to try out their expensive new toys ever since Eisenhower coined the term. It's a problem that has existed under the watch of both Democrats and Republicans, and it will take a lot more than one president to fix.

    Actually, there was an article in the Atlantic arguing that other countries are quickly achieving parity with the modern U.S. fighter. They have gotten very good at defeating many of our long-range capabilities through relatively inexpensive jamming technology.

  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Off the top of my head, the rate for me as a contractor (to my contracting agency) was hovering around $107 an hour in my first two years of working an IT job. I didn't get anywhere near that, but that's what the army paid for me to be there.

    Everyone involved in the military contracting world knows military funding will never do anything but stay static or go up, so they pretty much scam people who they think they can bribe with eventual scammy jobs later. Ohhh did my company have a habit of hiring newly retired officers of the bases they contracted on into executive or marketing roles.

    Also, um, the Osprey.

  • geckahngeckahn Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I'm also a defense contractor, involved in procurement, and my company charges a lot for me. Like 6 figures, and I'm right out of college.

    Not that I actually see anywhere close to that much.

  • RentRent I'm always right Fuckin' deal with itRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Rent wrote: »
    It's a combination of it being one of the worst bureaucracies in the modern world with the worst oversights, the ludicrousness of how military contracts are awarded, and having one of the largest standing militaries in the world

    Mostly the second point though

    Yeah, the second point is why I don't think we can really cut more than maybe a quarter (or less) without losing our ability to project power globally. But still, you could drastically reduce military spending simply by reigning in contractors and eliminating unnecessary weapons systems.

    On the plus side, it keeps sounding like Obama and Gates are going to make that attempt.

    It'd be really fucking simple too
    Executive Order whateverthefuck number: Any member of the military cannot work for any defense contractor in a lobbying capacity for X number of years (I'd say 10, but whatever) after getting discharged

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    kildy wrote: »
    Also, um, the Osprey.

    A punchline all by itself, like Daikatana. Hey, I hear they recently fixed that little problem where the thing would, for no apparent reason, flip over and kill a dozen Marines. And it only took them, what, twenty-five years?

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    You also have to factor in the fact that we are much less unwilling to have Americans die in a conflict. A lot of the cost of the military doing business goes either directly or indirectly to keeping people in our military alive.

    Take air superiority as an example. We have spent billions and billions of dollars pushing the time horizon further and further away in air conflict. We've gotten so good, that the moment our enemy starts fueling up planes, the pilots of those planes are already dead. We won't actually kill them for another 2-3 hours or so, but we know exactly when they will take off, as soon as they do we have them tracked on radar, and we can fire a missile from a fighter jet that is 80 miles away that the enemy doesn't even know is there. We don't necessarily NEED this capability, but it keeps American pilots alive, and also keeps troops on the ground alive.

    Well, pilots are fucking expensive and have long lead times. And it's not like planes are cheap either.

    Also, our ability to club enemy fighters like baby seals is part of why nobody in their right minds dreams of fucking with us.

    Lastly, it seems this whole "unwillingness to accept Americans dying in conflict" only applies to the Air Force. I shudder to think how many guys died or were maimed because the company that made M1117s (factory up-armored HMMWVs) couldn't produce them faster, and the government was unwilling to force them to allow other contractors to produce them as well and pay to ramp up production. Same with body armor. And about a ton of other shit. We have no problem with soldiers dying for no good reason, we just don't think about it.

    But pilots? Yeah, we like to keep them alive.

    EDIT: M1114, not M1117. Though there is an M1117.

  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Rent wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Rent wrote: »
    It's a combination of it being one of the worst bureaucracies in the modern world with the worst oversights, the ludicrousness of how military contracts are awarded, and having one of the largest standing militaries in the world

    Mostly the second point though

    Yeah, the second point is why I don't think we can really cut more than maybe a quarter (or less) without losing our ability to project power globally. But still, you could drastically reduce military spending simply by reigning in contractors and eliminating unnecessary weapons systems.

    On the plus side, it keeps sounding like Obama and Gates are going to make that attempt.

    It'd be really fucking simple too
    Executive Order whateverthefuck number: Any member of the military cannot work for any defense contractor in a lobbying capacity for X number of years (I'd say 10, but whatever) after getting discharged

    Oh Jesus I hope they don't do that. I already get enough shit for voting for Obama... I don't want that to start up yet again.

    (Works for a government contractor making $17.50 an hour doing IT work... As a temporary part time)

    Games completed recently: Dead Island: Riptide, Batman: Arkham Origins, StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Dragon's Crown
  • RentRent I'm always right Fuckin' deal with itRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    urahonky wrote: »
    Ideally we'd like to think that if we spent more money on military that means we'll be safer in our country. But I honestly don't think that's the case.

    I disagree, we're some of the best trained, best equipped, and most intelligent soldiers, on average, in the world
    I mean yeah there's a lot of wasteful spending but we're pretty damn good at what we do and if shit were to go down you, and everyone else in this country would be pretty safe

    Basically I'm saying I got your back :P

  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Rent wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Rent wrote: »
    It's a combination of it being one of the worst bureaucracies in the modern world with the worst oversights, the ludicrousness of how military contracts are awarded, and having one of the largest standing militaries in the world

    Mostly the second point though

    Yeah, the second point is why I don't think we can really cut more than maybe a quarter (or less) without losing our ability to project power globally. But still, you could drastically reduce military spending simply by reigning in contractors and eliminating unnecessary weapons systems.

    On the plus side, it keeps sounding like Obama and Gates are going to make that attempt.

    It'd be really fucking simple too
    Executive Order whateverthefuck number: Any member of the military cannot work for any defense contractor in a lobbying capacity for X number of years (I'd say 10, but whatever) after getting discharged

    I think they're trying to avoid the collective shit fit that would cause and actually address the other problems with procurement, but yes.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    nosnibor wrote: »
    Regarding the F-22 Raptor: IIRC, Rumsfeld was trying to kill off some of the more expensive next-gen programs, but ran up against too much Pentagon opposition. I know he was able to kill off some montrosity of a mobile artillery unit, but the Pentagon really wanted to keep their "stealth fighter."

    The thing is, we don't even need the F-22. Ever since the end of the cold war, nobody has come remotely close to challenging our air superiority. The current platforms are perfectly capable of doing the job, the only downside being the age of the airplanes. You know how you fix that? Build new F-16s! The contractor (Lockheed-Martin, I believe) already knows how to make them, and you can build 4-5 of the damn things for the price of a single F-22.

    The short answer is, defense spending has been a blank check for the Military-Industrial Complex to try out their expensive new toys ever since Eisenhower coined the term. It's a problem that has existed under the watch of both Democrats and Republicans, and it will take a lot more than one president to fix.

    Actually, there was an article in the Atlantic arguing that other countries are quickly achieving parity with the modern U.S. fighter. They have gotten very good at defeating many of our long-range capabilities through relatively inexpensive jamming technology.

    But we're never going to war with any of those fucking countries! Is Iran coming to parity with with the modern U.S. fighter? No, they're running on some obsolete Vietnam-era MiGs and the essentially unmaintained F-14s we sold them back when they were run by a fascist dictator instead of a religious dictator.

    Wars between superpowers just don't happen. The writing's been on the wall for fifty years. It doesn't matter if Russia or China has a fighter that can match ours, because we'll never get into a war with Russia or China, and if we ever do, it'll begin and end with ICBMs.

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  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2009
    What do you mean by can not work for a defense contractor in a lobbying capacity? So they can work for one as long as there is no lobbying? I know a lot of people who make careers out of their job in the Air Force, once they get out they do a similar civilian job for about $60,000. This is with 6+ years experience though.
    nosnibor wrote: »
    Regarding the F-22 Raptor: IIRC, Rumsfeld was trying to kill off some of the more expensive next-gen programs, but ran up against too much Pentagon opposition. I know he was able to kill off some montrosity of a mobile artillery unit, but the Pentagon really wanted to keep their "stealth fighter."

    The thing is, we don't even need the F-22. Ever since the end of the cold war, nobody has come remotely close to challenging our air superiority. The current platforms are perfectly capable of doing the job, the only downside being the age of the airplanes. You know how you fix that? Build new F-16s! The contractor (Lockheed-Martin, I believe) already knows how to make them, and you can build 4-5 of the damn things for the price of a single F-22.

    The short answer is, defense spending has been a blank check for the Military-Industrial Complex to try out their expensive new toys ever since Eisenhower coined the term. It's a problem that has existed under the watch of both Democrats and Republicans, and it will take a lot more than one president to fix.
    The F 117 was incredibly successful for many reasons, having a bomber that can sneak in like that to open the way for the rest of the air attacks is incredible. But the F 117 had many flaws and was incredibly expensive to maintain. The F22 is a cheaper, more reliable and much more advanced replacement.

    533570-1.png
  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Rent wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    Ideally we'd like to think that if we spent more money on military that means we'll be safer in our country. But I honestly don't think that's the case.

    I disagree, we're some of the best trained, best equipped, and most intelligent soldiers, on average, in the world
    I mean yeah there's a lot of wasteful spending but we're pretty damn good at what we do and if shit were to go down you, and everyone else in this country would be pretty safe

    Basically I'm saying I got your back :P

    Absolutely. I'd say that our military is the most trained in the world, but I don't think that money had anything to do with that. Especially not 10 times the amount China spent on military.

    Games completed recently: Dead Island: Riptide, Batman: Arkham Origins, StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Dragon's Crown
  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Now, don't get me wrong...I think we could achieve the same result for a lot less. I think it'd be relatively easy to cut the military budget by like 25% and still maintain the kind of superiority and power projection we have now. By cutting things like, as was pointed out, the F-22...a weapon we're designing to fight an enemy that does not exist. I'm more than confident in our intelligence community being able to give us a heads up as to when we need to develop our next generation of whiz-bang toys, and it's a lot cheaper to just figure out what your enemies are working on than to go ahead and build expensive-ass shit yourself "just to be sure."
    The F-22 has been under development since 1986. You're right about our intelligence community, but I don't think you quite realize the lead-up time required to develop a new weapon. The F-22 development was begun before the cold war even ended. The intelligent thing to do now would be to procure a whole shitload of them and to maintain those as our primary air superiority fighter for a very long time. Going back to the F-16 and F-15 would move the inevitable "time for a next generation of fighter" a good twenty years closer, and wouldn't get back the huge pile of money we've already spent developing the F-22. Most of the cost is already sunk; and an extra 20 years of unquestioned air superiority would be worth the additional cost of the aircraft themselves. And I'm not talking about the next 20 years, during which the F-16 would be quite adequate, but the period beyond that. At some point new warplanes are going to be necessary, and skipping out on a generation that we've already developed just seems foolish to me.

    MWO User Name: Gorn Arming
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  • ThomamelasThomamelas Bro!Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Daedalus wrote: »
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    nosnibor wrote: »
    Regarding the F-22 Raptor: IIRC, Rumsfeld was trying to kill off some of the more expensive next-gen programs, but ran up against too much Pentagon opposition. I know he was able to kill off some montrosity of a mobile artillery unit, but the Pentagon really wanted to keep their "stealth fighter."

    The thing is, we don't even need the F-22. Ever since the end of the cold war, nobody has come remotely close to challenging our air superiority. The current platforms are perfectly capable of doing the job, the only downside being the age of the airplanes. You know how you fix that? Build new F-16s! The contractor (Lockheed-Martin, I believe) already knows how to make them, and you can build 4-5 of the damn things for the price of a single F-22.

    The short answer is, defense spending has been a blank check for the Military-Industrial Complex to try out their expensive new toys ever since Eisenhower coined the term. It's a problem that has existed under the watch of both Democrats and Republicans, and it will take a lot more than one president to fix.

    Actually, there was an article in the Atlantic arguing that other countries are quickly achieving parity with the modern U.S. fighter. They have gotten very good at defeating many of our long-range capabilities through relatively inexpensive jamming technology.

    But we're never going to war with any of those fucking countries! Is Iran coming to parity with with the modern U.S. fighter? No, they're running on some obsolete Vietnam-era MiGs and the essentially unmaintained F-14s we sold them back when they were run by a fascist dictator instead of a religious dictator.

    Wars between superpowers just don't happen. The writing's been on the wall for fifty years. It doesn't matter if Russia or China has a fighter that can match ours, because we'll never get into a war with Russia or China, and if we ever do, it'll begin and end with ICBMs.

    What makes you think the Russians won't sell their next generation craft as an export version? Given that you mention Iran having MiGs, where do you think they got them? Russia is always looking for hard currency and Putin has been pushing for new military techs during his entire time in power.

  • thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    What do you mean by can not work for a defense contractor in a lobbying capacity? So they can work for one as long as there is no lobbying? I know a lot of people who make careers out of their job in the Air Force, once they get out they do a similar civilian job for about $60,000. This is with 6+ years experience though.

    This is a difficult thing to put a pin on. After all we do want defense contractors who understand the industry. Putting a time requirement puts an X year lag on the quality of information the lobbiests have.

    #someshit
  • RentRent I'm always right Fuckin' deal with itRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    What do you mean by can not work for a defense contractor in a lobbying capacity? So they can work for one as long as there is no lobbying? I know a lot of people who make careers out of their job in the Air Force, once they get out they do a similar civilian job for about $60,000. This is with 6+ years experience though.

    I'm confused what you're asking, but yes I think recently discharged members should be able to work with defense contractors in a non-lobbying capacity, for two reasons
    1) Their knowledge can be put to directly good use, and they'll make good money for that knowledge
    2) Practically every major company in the world is a defense contractor nowadays. Coca-Cola and Mars, for example, has defense contracts

  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    What do you mean by can not work for a defense contractor in a lobbying capacity? So they can work for one as long as there is no lobbying? I know a lot of people who make careers out of their job in the Air Force, once they get out they do a similar civilian job for about $60,000. This is with 6+ years experience though.

    I know a bunch who get hired on for marketing gigs after being in the command structure for bases with large contractor footprints.

    It's not that they're hiring lobbyists per se, the problem at times is they're using the jobs as an eventual payoff for throwing them business. It's nearly impossible to prove however, and laws stopping it would also maul trained military engineers who go on to get research and development gigs making the next generations of their technologies legitimately.

    The GAO is supposed to keep this under control, and they tend to do a decent job at it. The problem is they're Sloooooooooooooow about it. But if you do something illegal to scam the government, the GAO will eventually hunt you down. Who was it they busted for charging thousands of dollars shipping for 2-3 nails and shit?

  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    clsCorwin wrote: »
    That money also funded military guided R&D, which drives innovation into new technologies which derived for military purposes now, will filter down to the rest of us in a few years improving quality of life.

    Going by this argument we should be able to scale down military expenditure as parts of it should be paying for itself. Is there any stats on how much money the military actually brings in (not necessarily from R&D alone) - I'm not saying that the military should be profitable, but I think this argument comes up a lot in regards to funding NASA and it generally ends up that there are a lot better ways to spend the money if its just for research, and if it weren't that NASA and the military actually provided some other function in addition to this you wouldn't fund their R&D in to the same extent.

  • geckahngeckahn Registered User
    edited March 2009
    We already designed and then built a prototype of the best fighter ever made, but it didnt get made because it didn't have enough bullshit on it to make the defense contractors happy enough so they could run up their profit margin.


    If you want to learn a lot about the pentagon, and how fucking stupid is, and learn a lot about airfcraft design in the process, pick up a copy of Boyd.

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    kildy wrote: »
    Off the top of my head, the rate for me as a contractor (to my contracting agency) was hovering around $107 an hour in my first two years of working an IT job. I didn't get anywhere near that, but that's what the army paid for me to be there.

    Everyone involved in the military contracting world knows military funding will never do anything but stay static or go up, so they pretty much scam people who they think they can bribe with eventual scammy jobs later. Ohhh did my company have a habit of hiring newly retired officers of the bases they contracted on into executive or marketing roles.

    Also, um, the Osprey.

    The thing with contractors is they come with a lot of overhead. Your company still has to pay your benefits, pay all the admin staff that send you a pay check, pay the people who supervise you back at the company, etc. All told, contractors are significantly cheaper for the government than hiring an employee. That $107/hr is a bargain.

  • thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Rent wrote: »
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    What do you mean by can not work for a defense contractor in a lobbying capacity? So they can work for one as long as there is no lobbying? I know a lot of people who make careers out of their job in the Air Force, once they get out they do a similar civilian job for about $60,000. This is with 6+ years experience though.

    I'm confused what you're asking, but yes I think recently discharged members should be able to work with defense contractors in a non-lobbying capacity, for two reasons
    1) Their knowledge can be put to directly good use, and they'll make good money for that knowledge
    2) Practically every major company in the world is a defense contractor nowadays. Coca-Cola and Mars, for example, has defense contracts

    So can they advise the lobbiests? How is that really any different?

    #someshit
  • RentRent I'm always right Fuckin' deal with itRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    urahonky wrote: »
    Rent wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    Ideally we'd like to think that if we spent more money on military that means we'll be safer in our country. But I honestly don't think that's the case.

    I disagree, we're some of the best trained, best equipped, and most intelligent soldiers, on average, in the world
    I mean yeah there's a lot of wasteful spending but we're pretty damn good at what we do and if shit were to go down you, and everyone else in this country would be pretty safe

    Basically I'm saying I got your back :P

    Absolutely. I'd say that our military is the most trained in the world, but I don't think that money had anything to do with that. Especially not 10 times the amount China spent on military.

    Well, I dunno
    I mean, when you got a 3 million-strong military it isn't cheap to, for example, feed, clothe, and shelter all the motherfuckers, not to mention health insurance, etc etc etc
    I imagine just operational upkeep is a very significant portion of defense spending

  • ThomamelasThomamelas Bro!Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Rent wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    Rent wrote: »
    urahonky wrote: »
    Ideally we'd like to think that if we spent more money on military that means we'll be safer in our country. But I honestly don't think that's the case.

    I disagree, we're some of the best trained, best equipped, and most intelligent soldiers, on average, in the world
    I mean yeah there's a lot of wasteful spending but we're pretty damn good at what we do and if shit were to go down you, and everyone else in this country would be pretty safe

    Basically I'm saying I got your back :P

    Absolutely. I'd say that our military is the most trained in the world, but I don't think that money had anything to do with that. Especially not 10 times the amount China spent on military.

    Well, I dunno
    I mean, when you got a 3 million-strong military it isn't cheap to, for example, feed, clothe, and shelter all the motherfuckers, not to mention health insurance, etc etc etc
    I imagine just operational upkeep is a very significant portion of defense spending

    $179 billion for operations and maintance. That doesn't include pay and benefits or procurement.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The reasons we see so much spending for so much ineffectiveness in Iraq are:

    1) We're trying not to kill innocent civilians. If that wasn't a concern, we'd have totally rocked that country long ago. Of course, we'd be just as bad as Saddam, then.

    2) Most of our military technology is designed to fight a massive war against an army, rather than an urban guerrilla war against resistance fighters.

    3) We're at a point technologically where offensive military technology is far more efficient and cheaper than defensive military technology.

    Number three has been an ongoing concern pretty much forever. First, we invented clubs, which was an offensive technology that made an attacker have an advantage over a defender. Then, we invented hides, which could absorb blows from clubs. Then, we started throwing rocks, which could hit from a long way away, giving the attackers the advantage again. Then it was swords and longbows, giving attackers the advantage. Then the fortified castle and plate armor which, combined with longbows, gave the defenders the advantage. Then crossbows, guns, etc. and the defenders haven't had the advantage since. The most recent major development was the MIRV, which just enhanced the attacker's advantage that much more. I mean, really, right now, to build a vehicle with bulletproof windows, thick side-panel armor, etc. takes tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. A vehicle that can be blown through by a shaped charge you can create with a few hundred dollars and some very basic, cheap explosives. You can buy twenty-thousand-dollar body armor, which still isn't going to entirely protect you from a two-hundred-dollar AK-47, and most definitely won't from a five-hundred-dollar sniper rifle, or the few hundred dollars someone is willing to spend on an antipersonnel IED.

    A big place we need to look at for cutting military expenses is our nuclear deterrent. It's not the Cold War anymore. Even if it were the Cold War, we'd still have way too many nukes. We can cut down on our strategic subs, our silos, and our plane-dropped nukes by a whole shit-ton and still have the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. Disarmament will initially be expensive, but it will be a long-term investment in that we're not paying to guard and maintain the missiles we've disarmed anymore. I'm thinking disarming 70% of our nuclear missiles should be about right. It still gives us a far larger arsenal than anyone else in the world, while getting rid of a lot of weaponry we don't need.

  • RentRent I'm always right Fuckin' deal with itRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Rent wrote: »
    Fizban140 wrote: »
    What do you mean by can not work for a defense contractor in a lobbying capacity? So they can work for one as long as there is no lobbying? I know a lot of people who make careers out of their job in the Air Force, once they get out they do a similar civilian job for about $60,000. This is with 6+ years experience though.

    I'm confused what you're asking, but yes I think recently discharged members should be able to work with defense contractors in a non-lobbying capacity, for two reasons
    1) Their knowledge can be put to directly good use, and they'll make good money for that knowledge
    2) Practically every major company in the world is a defense contractor nowadays. Coca-Cola and Mars, for example, has defense contracts

    So can they advise the lobbiests? How is that really any different?
    It isn't, but we can just make it unlawful to associate with the lobbying portion of any military contractors, and investigate and arrest if so (much like we do for suspected insider trading on Wall Street)
    It's not perfect, but it's vastly better than our current system and just making all members of the military unable to work for military contractors is a terrible, terrible idea

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Daedalus wrote: »
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    nosnibor wrote: »
    Regarding the F-22 Raptor: IIRC, Rumsfeld was trying to kill off some of the more expensive next-gen programs, but ran up against too much Pentagon opposition. I know he was able to kill off some montrosity of a mobile artillery unit, but the Pentagon really wanted to keep their "stealth fighter."

    The thing is, we don't even need the F-22. Ever since the end of the cold war, nobody has come remotely close to challenging our air superiority. The current platforms are perfectly capable of doing the job, the only downside being the age of the airplanes. You know how you fix that? Build new F-16s! The contractor (Lockheed-Martin, I believe) already knows how to make them, and you can build 4-5 of the damn things for the price of a single F-22.

    The short answer is, defense spending has been a blank check for the Military-Industrial Complex to try out their expensive new toys ever since Eisenhower coined the term. It's a problem that has existed under the watch of both Democrats and Republicans, and it will take a lot more than one president to fix.

    Actually, there was an article in the Atlantic arguing that other countries are quickly achieving parity with the modern U.S. fighter. They have gotten very good at defeating many of our long-range capabilities through relatively inexpensive jamming technology.

    But we're never going to war with any of those fucking countries! Is Iran coming to parity with with the modern U.S. fighter? No, they're running on some obsolete Vietnam-era MiGs and the essentially unmaintained F-14s we sold them back when they were run by a fascist dictator instead of a religious dictator.

    Wars between superpowers just don't happen. The writing's been on the wall for fifty years. It doesn't matter if Russia or China has a fighter that can match ours, because we'll never get into a war with Russia or China, and if we ever do, it'll begin and end with ICBMs.

    Wha? It's not just the superpowers that are achieving parity. India, Pakistan, pretty much any country that can afford to by jets from the Russians and have the engineers to develop jamming packages targeted at our technology. You don't need a stealth fighter if you can jam all the frequencies our missiles use.

  • thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    A big place we need to look at for cutting military expenses is our nuclear deterrent. It's not the Cold War anymore. Even if it were the Cold War, we'd still have way too many nukes. We can cut down on our strategic subs, our silos, and our plane-dropped nukes by a whole shit-ton and still have the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. Disarmament will initially be expensive, but it will be a long-term investment in that we're not paying to guard and maintain the missiles we've disarmed anymore. I'm thinking disarming 70% of our nuclear missiles should be about right. It still gives us a far larger arsenal than anyone else in the world, while getting rid of a lot of weaponry we don't need.

    Long term surveillance and maintenance of key components here is pretty expensive. You can't just put them in a pile.

    #someshit
  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    A big place we need to look at for cutting military expenses is our nuclear deterrent. It's not the Cold War anymore. Even if it were the Cold War, we'd still have way too many nukes. We can cut down on our strategic subs, our silos, and our plane-dropped nukes by a whole shit-ton and still have the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. Disarmament will initially be expensive, but it will be a long-term investment in that we're not paying to guard and maintain the missiles we've disarmed anymore. I'm thinking disarming 70% of our nuclear missiles should be about right. It still gives us a far larger arsenal than anyone else in the world, while getting rid of a lot of weaponry we don't need.

    Long term surveillance and maintenance of key components here is pretty expensive. You can't just put them in a pile.

    Can you put them in a power plant?

    vvvvvv-dithw.png
  • never dienever die Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Fizban140 wrote: »

    Body Armor is expensive, hell some screws on a B52 bomber costs up to $5, with thousands of those on the jet. That my not sound terrible but they are constantly getting replaced along with lots of other tiny parts on the jet. That is a bomber that was last produces in the early 60s, now imagine how much it costs to maintain an F22 for an entire year.

    So um, is there some reason those screws cost $5 a pop? Are they special screws? (I'm being serious.)

    Spoiler:
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