One of the worst facets of the federal management culture is the way that politicians and policymakers devalue past investments. That’s especially true with regard to Pentagon technology accounts, where every program termination is considered “savings” regardless of how much money was spent on it in previous years — and how much money will need to be spent in future years to begin a replacement project. If you add up all the money that has been spent since the Cold War ended on weapons that never got fielded, it probably tops $100 billion. Rather than reflexively blaming military contractors for the waste, we ought to finger the real culprit: a political culture that shirks accountability and only cares about the fiscal run-up to the next election. I have written a commentary on this topic for Forbes that you can read here.
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