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Oh hey guys do you want to sell me this fancy [military spending] thread?

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Posts

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Shawnasee wrote: »
    Which is wrong. You aren't shryke, but the whole process and everyone involved in fudging the process is wrong.

    And the whole process encourages this.

    It's pretty simple: cutting people's budgets to save money doesn't work because they will spend that money to save themselves from cuts.

    You need to find another mechanism to punish/reward budgetary issues.

  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Darklyre wrote: »
    Shawnasee wrote: »
    If you have consistently shown that you don't spend your allotted yearly budget (and by consistent I mean ALWAYS) then you don't NEED that money.

    For anything mission related, there will always be money so I don't see the harm in saying "yep, we didn't need $300,000.00 for this fiscal year. We spent $250,000.00."

    There is nothing wrong with downgrading that budget to $250k the next year. They could even do it over a 5 year span and take the average and guaranteed, if we weren't scrambling every September to FIND shit to buy, that we would save 10's of millions of dollars...if not more.

    Why not keep giving them 300K since they've proven they were responsible spenders and refund to taxpayers or something or spend it on aid or something else instead of incentivizing waste?

    Simply going under budget doesn't mean you spent the money responsibly. If I had a budget of $300k, spent $200k of it on basic maintenance of my department's responsibilities, and then $50k on hookers and blow I think there should be some heads rolling.

    Yes, but most squadrons aren't blowing the EoY $$ on hookers+blow, they're blowing it on just unnecessary items. They should not be punished for NOT blowing the money by losing that money in next year's budget. It's moronic.

    sportzboytjw on
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  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    I edited my earlier post so that instead of gabbling about things that ought to be in the thread I actually put something in - namely the Integrated Defense Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Life Cycle Management System flowchart(1.6MB). Looking at that as a civilian, aside from Lovecraftian comparisons to gazing into a pit of madness, etc, etc, you can glean a couple of things despite not knowing what any of the acronyms mean. One, the military is aware of the problems with the way they procure things and trying very hard to be more efficient. Two, the very processes designed to make procurement more efficient are undoubtedly making it much, much more complex, unwieldy, and ultimately expensive.

    It should also be mentioned that like many governments and corporations (the US auto industry, notably) one of the major factors hitting the military financially is its entitlement spending. As hilarious as the process of paying for guns and bombs and office chairs may be, a very substantial portion of the problem is pensions and heart surgery and knee replacements.
    military%20personnel%20costs.jpg

    I've always thought that the biggest problem with US military spending just comes down to the fact that the US healthcare system is a mess. The military is expected to provide full healthcare for its soldiers and veterans, but it's not quite large enough to manage a separate system like medicare, so instead it's stuck paying $Texas to buy stuff on the US market. That chart shows that almost a third of all military spending goes for health care- in other countries that have universal health care, that spending category would be there at all. Take that away, and the US spending drops from our current (insane) 4.8% GDP to a much more reasonable 3.2% GDP. We're still going to be the biggest military spender by far, simply because we still have the world's largest economy by far. But without the healthcare spending, we'd be roughly in line with the level where you'd expect a wealth nation with no serious threats to be.

  • HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    Ok am I losing my mind or does that chart show much closer to 1/6 going to healthcare then 1/3

  • KelzorKelzor Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Actually, that chart shows personnel spending only.
    Personally I think that
    32,000,000,000 out of
    1,000,000,000,000
    being spent on the health of soldiers and veterans is a fair price to pay.

    Kelzor on
  • EvigilantEvigilant VARegistered User regular
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    I've always thought that the biggest problem with US military spending just comes down to the fact that the US healthcare system is a mess. The military is expected to provide full healthcare for its soldiers and veterans, but it's not quite large enough to manage a separate system like medicare, so instead it's stuck paying $Texas to buy stuff on the US market. That chart shows that almost a third of all military spending goes for health care- in other countries that have universal health care, that spending category would be there at all. Take that away, and the US spending drops from our current (insane) 4.8% GDP to a much more reasonable 3.2% GDP. We're still going to be the biggest military spender by far, simply because we still have the world's largest economy by far. But without the healthcare spending, we'd be roughly in line with the level where you'd expect a wealth nation with no serious threats to be.

    Tricare, the military healthcare provider, would cost me ~$38 a month if I where to use it (since I'm a vet, I go to the VA where my healthcare is free), where as from a "civilian" provider it would be up in the hundreds...and that's just for me. I have friends with families and they're paying anywhere from $70 to ~$100 for their family to have healthcare through Tricare where in the civilian world it'd be a lot higher.

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  • HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    Wait, isn't it 32B out of 180.5B on that chart?

  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    Wait, isn't it 32B out of 180.5B on that chart?

    Ah, I read that wrong. I read it as 32%, not 32B. So yeah, 1/6 not 1/3. Still a big problem though.

  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    Evigilant wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    I've always thought that the biggest problem with US military spending just comes down to the fact that the US healthcare system is a mess. The military is expected to provide full healthcare for its soldiers and veterans, but it's not quite large enough to manage a separate system like medicare, so instead it's stuck paying $Texas to buy stuff on the US market. That chart shows that almost a third of all military spending goes for health care- in other countries that have universal health care, that spending category would be there at all. Take that away, and the US spending drops from our current (insane) 4.8% GDP to a much more reasonable 3.2% GDP. We're still going to be the biggest military spender by far, simply because we still have the world's largest economy by far. But without the healthcare spending, we'd be roughly in line with the level where you'd expect a wealth nation with no serious threats to be.

    Tricare, the military healthcare provider, would cost me ~$38 a month if I where to use it (since I'm a vet, I go to the VA where my healthcare is free), where as from a "civilian" provider it would be up in the hundreds...and that's just for me. I have friends with families and they're paying anywhere from $70 to ~$100 for their family to have healthcare through Tricare where in the civilian world it'd be a lot higher.

    But doesn't Tricare also get funding from the military? The money you pay to use it would actually decrease what it costs the government.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    Disclaimer: I work for a defense contractor and, occasionally, feel like some kind of "welfare queen".

    It's really easy to attack the new style of defense contracting, where we pay people many times what our soldiers make to do things that we used to have soldiers do, like cook meals or drive trucks or (and this one disturbs me the most) shoot people. It's easy to attack that kind of thing because it's self-evidently retarded. So I'm not even going to start on that, I'm going to talk about the sort of old-school contracting where I work, where the military orders a gun or tank or plane or radar system or integrated software whateverthefuck, and we build it for them and sell it to them. You know, procurement.

    This is also a total fucking mess, and it's only about half the fault of the contractors. I can't even figure out, completely, why nothing ever fucking works anymore -- I suspect it's because in, e.g. World War 2, we actually felt like we were in the middle of an existential crisis, whereas since Vietnam or possibly Korea we all really know that's bullshit. If Britain lost WWII, their country would have been controlled by the Nazis. For a modern war, when we're losing, we can just pack our shit and go home.

    In any case. It's not just that things come in late and overbudget. That's to be expected when requirements are hare-brained in the first place and change repeatedly throughout the contract when the customer changes its mind. Now, we build stuff and it turns out to be more expensive and less capable than the stuff the military was already using, so we (at best!) wad up all that money and throw the whole thing into the garbage. I suppose from a Keynesian economic perspective this isn't necessarily bad per se, in the sense of "digging holes and filling them up again" to keep money flowing through the economy.

    The military will require a new system to fulfill every possible role, and it will turn out that it does every possible role badly. This happened for everything from the Bradley to the F-35. In fact, the F-35 is a great example -- we decided "hey, we're going to replace three or four different planes with one plane, in three different configurations!" Then the three different configurations were almost as different as three different planes and the development costs were the same as just doing three different planes. Oh, and it doesn't work yet, either, but that's to be expected.

    Look at how frequently the Army decides they want to replace the M-16/M-4 rifle, only to decide, after spending a bunch of money and getting the replacement essentially fully designed and ready for production, "you know what, never mind". They're on the third or fourth try now, and I will fucking guarantee you that it's not going anywhere. Every project turns into a political shitflinging contest on the customer's side, and then all the contractors underbid one another for the actual contract. It's an utter mess and I'm convinced that the only time this turns out a capable system is entirely by accident. Or through small "interim updates" to a current broken system until we have something that kinda-sorta works the way we wanted it to in the first place, just before we decide to throw it all out.

  • thatassemblyguythatassemblyguy RESIST. Registered User regular
    You ask two questions in the OP, and the answer to both is, "Yes."

    Addressing the second part of the question first:

    Yeah, the spending model is, for lack of a better term, stupid. One of the few big problems is that spending is politically based. Not even talking about the year-end budget problem; it's literally, politically based. Politically appointed, Secretary of Defence suggest budgets that are then batted about by the House and Senate; these entities then create ear-marks for their regions. With a shelf-life of one- to four-years, the Secretary of Defence will attempt to make a, perceived, "biggest" impact. This results in Stop-Work for programs that have fallen out of favor, like Future Combat Systems. The thrashing from start-stop work orders is huge because most of the money is siphoned into the corporate coffers (related, "Cancelled For Convenience").

    Additionally, have you guys seen some of these contracts, and how the big4 treat them? It's a de facto standard now, the contract company can have a two-hour (and 14 minute!) meeting, that has nothing to do with the program at all, and allow the employee to charge the program as if they were working. This is the one that galls me the most, honestly.

    Another good waste of money is the performance bonuses. Flew everyone out for that TIM on time? $1mil. Finished your PDR (even though you had 100 action items)? $5mil!, etc.


    Addressing the first part of the question:

    Yes, boiled down to the core, military spending is a huge problem. If we're spending more money doing SD&D on advanced killing machines than we are maintaining and upgrading our countries infrastructure and quality of life, then there is something horribly wrong. We have an ageing fleet of nuclear reactors that need to be retired, and new reactors to take their place. We have ageing roads and bridges that are in need of serious repair. These things are only the tip of the iceberg.

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