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

sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeeesome more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
edited March 2012 in Debate and/or Discourse
So, we know that we spend a lot of money on our military here in the US. More than the next however many countries combined, more than we give in aid by a factor of something silly, and so forth.

Let's start you off with some Eisenhower! He was a general, and a generally good leader! http://www.h-net.org/~hst306/documents/indust.html
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

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 State house, 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 militaryindustrial complex
. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.


military_spending_big.png

military5.png

These are two of the more impactful graphs you see floating around, but keep in mind that we make a ton of money, so we're going to spend a lot on the military.

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPND.GD.ZS

We're not the biggest spender by GDP, and Mittens proposed 4% of GDP into the military would be cutting spending, however, we basically spend like a war-like, developing, or middle eastern country if you look @ GDP.

The question is, should we?
We blow money on stupid freaking crap in the US military. When I was in, our squadron had "use-or-lose" money. That meant as the fiscal year-end drew near, if we had $$ left over, some of us would take a road trip, or we'd buy 5 50+" tvs for the briefing room or we'd go get new cabinents for the breakroom.

These were unneccessary expenditures except that the way our budgeting process worked was that if we came up with excess funds in a given year, instead of being given a pat on the back and a "nice job", that money just was taken for next year's budget and we wouldn't have it if/when we needed it.

We also were constantly buying new crappy software:

it worked like this. master sergeant bob programmed a "better" program during the time he was in the military. He may have even done it on work computers; kind of a no-no, but since he was buddies with captain mike, people looked the other way. He seperates from the military and partners with captain mike when he seperates to found a software company. They use their connections and experience to present this new (basically equally functional, rarely much more functional, but NEWER DANG IT) software to major james who now is in charge of say, contracts for the wing. The major went to OTS with captain mike and so he's pretty open to upgrading with this new software.

This software is pretty funny stuff. You have all sorts of mock-ups IN THE PROGRAM for the first year or two of deployment. Plenty of, "Yea, that's going to be somethign you can do" and you can actually DO it 2 years later. It's a bad bad joke.

The end result? After ~4-5 years, we get this "new awesome" software to the functionality of the previous software with a few new useful features. Of course, since MSG Bob wasn't really an amazing programmer (I mean, he was in the military doing another job...), the military service using this software got to be the beta testers for a couple of years. And paid the ol' MSG, the old captain, and their various software monkey they've hired since getting the contract for the software.

Eventually the software is pounded into functional form. It's kind of crappy stuff, but it gets the job done and is fairly stable now. It crashes a few times each week, but you deal with it.

Then a year or two later, someone seperates and comes calling with this sweet new software...

http://www.cs.cornell.edu/gries/howbushoperates/haliburton.html

Then of course there is Haliburton, which, while not strictly military, might as well be since they're essentially the official go-to contractor for the US military in foreign lands.
Haliburton has been given uncontested contracts to rebuild in places like Iraq. They are guarenteed profit (costs+1% as a minimum) and don't have to bid against other companies.

So, is military spending a problem or is it more HOW we're spending it (as stupidly as possible I guess I'm trying to say)?

Would we receive better results for less costs if we just dropped bales of $20 bills on countries that piss us off?

Also,

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Posts

  • nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    I'd like to see more efficiency, which often means more OTS and less shoddy "it costs 10x as much because it's military grade" garbage. But I'd also like to see more dual use goodness come the other way, like, say, the internet. Killing fewer brown people would also be a plus.

    I am very glad that this thread exists, because I don't think enough people pause to think about the sheer madness of the thing that gobbles nearly half of every tax dollar being propped up by the same people who complain the loudest about taxes.

    WARNING HUGE IMAGE, but hugely informative if you can understand a goddamned thing in it. You could use 1.6mb of bandwidth for sheer shock value on worse things. Far worse things.

    nescientist on
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    My program was terminated and restarted so many times, we spent all our money on basically nothing. It would have cost less to finish it completely if someone made a decision.

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    Let 'em eat fucking pineapples!
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    what exactly is the basis for your frightfully cogent analysis of the US military software acquisition process?

    This machine kills threads.
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    How can we have this thread when our Navy is the smallest it's been since World War One? I mean, how can we feel safe in this time of comparative peace with a maritime force which is only as big as the next thirteen navies combined?

    We cannot allow a carrier gap.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    redx wrote: »
    what exactly is the basis for your frightfully cogent analysis of the US military software acquisition process?

    Serving in the USAF? Seeing exactly how it went down and was common (irritating to most of us) knowledge.

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  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    I'd like to see more efficiency, which often means more OTS and less shoddy "it costs 10x as much because it's military grade" garbage. But I'd also like to see more dual use goodness come the other way, like, say, the internet. Killing fewer brown people would also be a plus. The OP should have links to Eisenhower's speech and that absurdly enormous procurement wall chart.

    I am very glad that this thread exists, because I don't think enough people pause to think about the sheer madness of the thing that gobbles nearly half of every tax dollar being propped up by the same people who complain the loudest about taxes.

    Get me the speech (since I'm not familiar with it) and I'll put it in there.

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  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    I'd like to see more efficiency, which often means more OTS and less shoddy "it costs 10x as much because it's military grade" garbage. But I'd also like to see more dual use goodness come the other way, like, say, the internet. Killing fewer brown people would also be a plus. The OP should have links to Eisenhower's speech and that absurdly enormous procurement wall chart.

    I am very glad that this thread exists, because I don't think enough people pause to think about the sheer madness of the thing that gobbles nearly half of every tax dollar being propped up by the same people who complain the loudest about taxes.

    Get me the speech (since I'm not familiar with it) and I'll put it in there.

    It's his "beware the military industrial complex" speech he gave on his way out. I believe that it may be the origin of the term, come to think of it.

    AManFromEarth on
    Lh96QHG.png
  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    Oh duh! Thanks.

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  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    :^:

    Lh96QHG.png
  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    I even got a pun in there!

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  • EvigilantEvigilant VARegistered User regular
    It should be noted that some (keyword) of the funding that goes to the military, ala the Department of Defense, isn't all used solely for the military. Some of it goes to programs in other agencies that the Military is either part of or involved in, like NASA, DARPA, CIA, FBI, etc... but it still falls under defense funding and by cutting spending on defense it's not just the military it's impacting but these programs as well.

    Outside of that, we could save a shit ton if we made transparent the procurement process and contracts, the costs associated with the purchases, and the military R&D/spending/etc.. I believe that since 2005(or earlier), the Military has been in non-compliance, that is, GAO has been unable to provide an audit of the DoD's financial statements.

    edit: Looking it up, 1998-2010 and further, with Congress mandating a deadline of FY2017 just to get back in compliance. This is absolute bullshit.

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  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    The problem with military spending in American is that the question is rarely asked: is our military learning?

    Meaning, we just throw money at the problem and hope it goes away instead of cutting out bullshit contracts we don't need (and that the military oftentimes doesn't want). I wonder if we'd save money by getting rid of contractors all together and just having the military do it all

    EDIT:

    Meaning contractors we hire out to do military jobs, not construction/manufacturing contracts obviously.

    AManFromEarth on
    Lh96QHG.png
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular


    and yet people wonder why wars are so common.

    mvaYcgc.jpg
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    On big problem is that, while we're quite all right with notion of China, Russia, and even France underreporting their military spending, in reality, the United States does it as well and that's something that's apparently beyond belief. That 42% is probably closer to 45% or even 50%, thanks to promised payments to major military contractors (someone, somewhere, decided that payments made to Boeing or General Dynamics or whomever without getting a tank or a plane in return did not count as military expenditures, as oppose to just being stupid), and the world's largest private military market being largely (though not entirely) American, and that is not always paid over the table.

    There's a cost to having huge fucking quantities of the world's most expensive stuff.

    Synthesis on
  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    How can we have this thread when our Navy is the smallest it's been since World War One? I mean, how can we feel safe in this time of comparative peace with a maritime force which is only as big as the next thirteen navies combined?

    We cannot allow a carrier gap.

    Our ships probably have the most advanced ballistics systems, on the other hand.

  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    Meaning contractors we hire out to do military jobs, not construction/manufacturing contracts obviously.

    It is a goddamn embarrassment that we have to hire people making more than double what our soldiers make to do the laundry.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Meaning contractors we hire out to do military jobs, not construction/manufacturing contracts obviously.

    It is a goddamn embarrassment that we have to hire people making more than double what our soldiers make to do the laundry.

    Right? It makes zero sense to me that this is a thing.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • finnithfinnith TorontoRegistered User regular
    We also were constantly buying new crappy software:
    it worked like this. master sergeant bob programmed a "better" program during the time he was in the military. He may have even done it on work computers; kind of a no-no, but since he was buddies with captain mike, people looked the other way. He seperates from the military and partners with captain mike when he seperates to found a software company. They use their connections and experience to present this new (basically equally functional, rarely much more functional, but NEWER DANG IT) software to major james who now is in charge of say, contracts for the wing. The major went to OTS with captain mike and so he's pretty open to upgrading with this new software.

    This software is pretty funny stuff. You have all sorts of mock-ups IN THE PROGRAM for the first year or two of deployment. Plenty of, "Yea, that's going to be somethign you can do" and you can actually DO it 2 years later. It's a bad bad joke.

    The end result? After ~4-5 years, we get this "new awesome" software to the functionality of the previous software with a few new useful features. Of course, since MSG Bob wasn't really an amazing programmer (I mean, he was in the military doing another job...), the military service using this software got to be the beta testers for a couple of years. And paid the ol' MSG, the old captain, and their various software monkey they've hired since getting the contract for the software.

    I'm going to say that this is a problem with the line-staff organization and bureaucratic nature of the armed forces. It makes it pretty easy to advance yourself through certain connections.

    Also, does anyone have a good breakdown of what your military spends money on? I was really interested to learn that they invest in a lot of green tech, but I'm guessing a larger part is that F-35 we seem so intent on getting.

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  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Meaning contractors we hire out to do military jobs, not construction/manufacturing contracts obviously.

    It is a goddamn embarrassment that we have to hire people making more than double what our soldiers make to do the laundry.

    Right? It makes zero sense to me that this is a thing.

    Exactly. The problem is that (apparently) it's "cheaper" to contract it out than have a "freaking towel guy" who hates his job. Someone can "cut costs" by cutting the freaking towel guy. Then they still need towels so it's contracted out, but someone looked good for cutting towel-guy costs.

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  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    finnith wrote: »
    We also were constantly buying new crappy software:
    it worked like this. master sergeant bob programmed a "better" program during the time he was in the military. He may have even done it on work computers; kind of a no-no, but since he was buddies with captain mike, people looked the other way. He seperates from the military and partners with captain mike when he seperates to found a software company. They use their connections and experience to present this new (basically equally functional, rarely much more functional, but NEWER DANG IT) software to major james who now is in charge of say, contracts for the wing. The major went to OTS with captain mike and so he's pretty open to upgrading with this new software.

    This software is pretty funny stuff. You have all sorts of mock-ups IN THE PROGRAM for the first year or two of deployment. Plenty of, "Yea, that's going to be somethign you can do" and you can actually DO it 2 years later. It's a bad bad joke.

    The end result? After ~4-5 years, we get this "new awesome" software to the functionality of the previous software with a few new useful features. Of course, since MSG Bob wasn't really an amazing programmer (I mean, he was in the military doing another job...), the military service using this software got to be the beta testers for a couple of years. And paid the ol' MSG, the old captain, and their various software monkey they've hired since getting the contract for the software.

    I'm going to say that this is a problem with the line-staff organization and bureaucratic nature of the armed forces. It makes it pretty easy to advance yourself through certain connections.

    Also, does anyone have a good breakdown of what your military spends money on? I was really interested to learn that they invest in a lot of green tech, but I'm guessing a larger part is that F-35 we seem so intent on getting.

    It wouldn't be a problem if the proceedings were more highly scrutinized and it was easier to hammer people for this crap, but it's not because why the hell would the good-ole-boy network/military industrial complex either ever let that happen?

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  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    finnith wrote: »
    Also, does anyone have a good breakdown of what your military spends money on? I was really interested to learn that they invest in a lot of green tech, but I'm guessing a larger part is that F-35 we seem so intent on getting.

    Do they? I know Obama talked about it during his most recent State of the Union address, but it sounded like a new idea he was pushing, rather than something the DoD was doing on its own.

  • ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    As a guy who writes software for a Navy/Air Force contractor, I'll agree that there's really no reason for us to spend as much on the military as we do. But since we're a small company at least, I think we're a lot more efficient at what we do than the big guys. We work with Lockheed for some stuff and I'm pretty sure we could do their work quicker and cheaper than they do. Granted, we're not building missiles or reaper drones here.

    We're at least better than the example sarge above though. No actual military here, all professional code monkeys.

  • MillMill Registered User regular
    The problem with military spending in American is that the question is rarely asked: is our military learning?

    Meaning, we just throw money at the problem and hope it goes away instead of cutting out bullshit contracts we don't need (and that the military oftentimes doesn't want). I wonder if we'd save money by getting rid of contractors all together and just having the military do it all

    EDIT:

    Meaning contractors we hire out to do military jobs, not construction/manufacturing contracts obviously.

    Quite possibly yes. I happen to know some people who do work government contracts and one of the games that most of the big government contractors play involves getting their hands on a contract that someone else has been working on. Once they have such a contract, they immediately disregard all work that has already been done on the contract, start back at square one and then pretty much redevelop everything all over again.

    Honestly, probably could get the same effect if there were safeguards that prevent companies from back tracking so drastically. It should be "Grats, you won a contract that someone was already working on but not fast/cheap enough. Now gather up the notes and figure out how to start at where they left off because we're not going to waste the money we've already invested by letting you start at square one." Granted they'll just go to the next method of screwing the government out of money, which involves dicking around instead of being expedient but that's easier to document and it only takes a handful of productive employees to hose that plan up.

  • ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    Mill wrote: »
    The problem with military spending in American is that the question is rarely asked: is our military learning?

    Meaning, we just throw money at the problem and hope it goes away instead of cutting out bullshit contracts we don't need (and that the military oftentimes doesn't want). I wonder if we'd save money by getting rid of contractors all together and just having the military do it all

    EDIT:

    Meaning contractors we hire out to do military jobs, not construction/manufacturing contracts obviously.

    Quite possibly yes. I happen to know some people who do work government contracts and one of the games that most of the big government contractors play involves getting their hands on a contract that someone else has been working on. Once they have such a contract, they immediately disregard all work that has already been done on the contract, start back at square one and then pretty much redevelop everything all over again.

    Honestly, probably could get the same effect if there were safeguards that prevent companies from back tracking so drastically. It should be "Grats, you won a contract that someone was already working on but not fast/cheap enough. Now gather up the notes and figure out how to start at where they left off because we're not going to waste the money we've already invested by letting you start at square one." Granted they'll just go to the next method of screwing the government out of money, which involves dicking around instead of being expedient but that's easier to document and it only takes a handful of productive employees to hose that plan up.

    In most cases I don't think there's any other way to do it. You've got patent/copyright issues, the fact that the original system was designed based on their experts which you don't have, and your experts know entirely different stuff, relationships with subcontractors and contacts that were specific to the original contractor...

    I mean, speaking as a programmer, I'd rather start fresh most the time rather than try to figure out someone else's big half-done, non-functional system, which by this point would already be several years out of date.

  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Scooter wrote: »
    I mean, speaking as a programmer, I'd rather start fresh most the time rather than try to figure out someone else's big half-done, non-functional system, which by this point would already be several years out of date.

    You'll never get it released. There's too much red tape to keep restarting every time new technology comes out.

    Edit: also, the military doesn't have the ability to manufacture weapon systems, because it's the government, which doesn't have the ability to manufacture.

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  • finnithfinnith TorontoRegistered User regular
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    finnith wrote: »
    Also, does anyone have a good breakdown of what your military spends money on? I was really interested to learn that they invest in a lot of green tech, but I'm guessing a larger part is that F-35 we seem so intent on getting.

    Do they? I know Obama talked about it during his most recent State of the Union address, but it sounded like a new idea he was pushing, rather than something the DoD was doing on its own.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/10/24/141548273/the-military-boosts-clean-energy-with-startup-help

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/genemarcial/2012/02/19/u-s-defense-contractors-are-hidden-investment-plays-in-renewable-energy-initiatives/

    The first time I heard about it was on either the Harvard Political Review or MIT Technology Review but because of confusion over what "review" I got it from exactly I can't find it. In any case Forbes and NPR are good enough sources. If you look at news the DoD has preferred to do this for a while. Traditional generators are loud compared to solar panels, and some also want to reduce dependence on the volatile oil producing companies (how many times has the us armed forces been sent there to "resolve" a local dispute?). If I am bothered enough, I will try and work on something looking at how the army has supported new technologies after exams.

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  • ShawnaseeShawnasee Registered User regular
    Ladies and Gentleman...I think everyone knows about End of Year budgets no?

    This is where your squadron/base/what have you gets a certain budget for the year. When we don't spend it, it's a brainless mad chaotic clown fest where the word goes out to come up with things to buy so we can get our same budget next year.

    The things we buy: New office furniture (to replace the new furniture from the LAST FUCKING FISCAL YEAR)/New TV's for the offices / Extra monitors so everyone can have TWO / STUPID SHIT WE DON'T NEED!
    It's ridiculous.

    Also, on the subject of software, as I was walking out the door on my 22 year career this past December, they were JUST updating to VISTA......I bet we don't get it cheap even though we are now almost two iterations of Windows OS beyond.

    Lets not get into the waste of parts being shipped back and forth all over the world because people neglect to do their job. How some warehouses in the desert are 200 - 300% overstocked on most items that WE DON'T EVEN USE ANYMORE!

    "Hey dude...we don't have those planes here anymore. Why are you sending me 50each of an item we no longer have a use for?"
    "The system has you down as a needing them."
    "Yes, and that's because you guys FAIL AT RESPONDING TO OUR REQUEST TO GET IT THE FUCK OFF OUR BOOKS!"

    Oh hey, lets spend 2 - 5 million (and I KNOW I am being conservative in my estimate) on a base in Saudi that we're pretty sure we're not going to be at much longer. Yeah lets spend the money on building all these great buildings and just give it to the Saudi's.

    I am not even going to get into what we pay for nuts, bolts, tools, parts. It's eye opening.

    I have always said that if the military was a for-profit business, we would have went out of business a long time ago.

  • finnithfinnith TorontoRegistered User regular
    I've talked to accountants from the Big 4 who have worked on non-profits, and they say that it's a problem that those organizations face as well. Some were doing stuff like recognizing costs made past the year-end on their previous year's statements just to fulfill their covenants.

    The problem, though it's possible I'm misunderstanding it (I haven't done any research into this tbh other than conversations with accountants), is that a lot of government funding is tied to specific spending amounts. Don't spend enough money and either that entire sum is taken away or downgraded the next year. That kind of negative feedback really doesn't provide any incentive to be efficient with resources.

    Big organizations have a lot of friction, so I would rather just stay away from the army or the government.

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  • nescientistnescientist 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

  • MillMill Registered User regular
    Scooter wrote: »
    Mill wrote: »
    The problem with military spending in American is that the question is rarely asked: is our military learning?

    Meaning, we just throw money at the problem and hope it goes away instead of cutting out bullshit contracts we don't need (and that the military oftentimes doesn't want). I wonder if we'd save money by getting rid of contractors all together and just having the military do it all

    EDIT:

    Meaning contractors we hire out to do military jobs, not construction/manufacturing contracts obviously.

    Quite possibly yes. I happen to know some people who do work government contracts and one of the games that most of the big government contractors play involves getting their hands on a contract that someone else has been working on. Once they have such a contract, they immediately disregard all work that has already been done on the contract, start back at square one and then pretty much redevelop everything all over again.

    Honestly, probably could get the same effect if there were safeguards that prevent companies from back tracking so drastically. It should be "Grats, you won a contract that someone was already working on but not fast/cheap enough. Now gather up the notes and figure out how to start at where they left off because we're not going to waste the money we've already invested by letting you start at square one." Granted they'll just go to the next method of screwing the government out of money, which involves dicking around instead of being expedient but that's easier to document and it only takes a handful of productive employees to hose that plan up.

    In most cases I don't think there's any other way to do it. You've got patent/copyright issues, the fact that the original system was designed based on their experts which you don't have, and your experts know entirely different stuff, relationships with subcontractors and contacts that were specific to the original contractor...

    I mean, speaking as a programmer, I'd rather start fresh most the time rather than try to figure out someone else's big half-done, non-functional system, which by this point would already be several years out of date.

    Except there are cases where what has been developed goes with the contract or the people who original had the contract get bought up with it. Even then,
    VeritasVR wrote: »
    Scooter wrote: »
    I mean, speaking as a programmer, I'd rather start fresh most the time rather than try to figure out someone else's big half-done, non-functional system, which by this point would already be several years out of date.

    You'll never get it released. There's too much red tape to keep restarting every time new technology comes out.

    Edit: also, the military doesn't have the ability to manufacture weapon systems, because it's the government, which doesn't have the ability to manufacture.

    This is the other issue, it's pretty fucking stupid to constantly restart something every time the project changes hands. Perhaps, such contracts should be put on a much longer time line. For example, maybe we should look at 5 or 10 year terms because letting a company flounder about with a project for 5 or 10 years might be more productive than letting large companies reset every partially done project that they win.

    @Shawnasee
    Yeah, that's another area our government needs to fix. I can understand the idea behind base a budget on what you spent last year but in practice it really fails because it encourages waste, while punishing people for finding ways to save money. Every now and then, you'll get an honest administrator that finds a way to fully spend their funds without wasting it on stupid shit but most of them end up wasting the money on stupid shit in the hopes that they won't get their budget cut.

    I'm wondering if things would work out better if government agencies worked off of a two part budget. You have your yearly budget that covers things you usually fund for the year (office supplies, work pay, benefits ect) and then your big item budget that covers things you spend money every once in awhile (hardware, certain certifications ect). The yearly stuff would be based on money spent over the last five years, while also factoring in inflation, ideally that should result in having enough money set aside to run things. By throwing the big items on to a separate budget, you don't have to worry about something breaking or becoming obsolete early hosing the whole budget for the year since it would have separate funds set aside. Finally, let them keep a rainy day fund that is build up from any money that is saved (obviously, you'd want to put a cap on how big they can get), but that would give them a little more freedom and safety, in case things don't go as planned. I don't know if that would fully solve the issue but I would hope that would open the door to encourage government agencies to save money without fear of being handed an inadequate budget and then get forced to pray that nothing goes wrong.

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    The problem with end-of-year budget stuff is no one can ever seem to decide how to use it to save money. If you let departments just horde it there's obviously an embezzlement risk, but if you take it away then you've just ruined the point of someone trying to save money to deal with surprise future costs. Of course, if they do get to hold the money, then how do you ever save money by cutting costs?

    I suspect - without much basis admittedly - that the correct answer is to simply acknowledge that, at least with the government, the cost of money is pretty cheap. So why not simply insure against the risk that a department will suddenly cash in all that saved up budget surplus all at once, and accept that you're going to be borrowing money anyway.

    Departments get discouraged to 0 out of their budget allottments each year, but the government gets to benefit from investing the savings elsewhere - i.e. they get to realize real savings, without actually cutting budgets and potentially cutting them too far.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    You just need some alternate system for rewarding not going over budget.

    If someone comes in underbudget, they get rewarded with X and their budget isn't reduced next year basically.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    I don't think you can just require that project work goes with all contracts because there would be IP/copyright issues with that. What you could do, is not keep swapping the fucking contracts around and never finishing the project, but that would require the government standing up to corporations.

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  • ShawnaseeShawnasee Registered User regular
    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.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    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.

    You can't save that money though. That's the point. People will spend it just to keep you from taking it away.

  • ShawnaseeShawnasee Registered User regular
    Which is wrong. You aren't shryke, but the whole process and everyone involved in fudging the process is wrong.



  • DarklyreDarklyre 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.

    The main problem is that budgets have to be allocated before they're spent. If you simply tell your budget people "hey, I didn't need all this money, have some of it back" then next year they'll cut your share. Then, if something urgent comes up that requires you to go over your budget you're utterly screwed and get your head on the chopping block for overspending, regardless of how legitimate the need is, so bureaucratic departments everywhere (not just in the military, but other government offices and corporations as well) will deliberately spend their extra cash to prevent them from being in trouble in the future. Obviously, this is bad for the whole because money gets wasted, but expecting a single department to think of other departments (who they're outright competing with for budget allocations) is naive.

  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    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?

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  • DarklyreDarklyre Registered User regular
    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.

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