The non-stop debate on Capitol Hill about acquisition reform is fueled by two widely-held beliefs: that the Pentagon spends a huge amount of money on weapons, and that it spends a lot more than it needs to. Both beliefs are wrong. With regard to scale, the military’s entire budget for weapons development and production in 2017, including money for overseas contingencies, will total about 17 days worth of federal spending — about what Americans spend each year on beer and cigarettes. With regard to getting a good deal, the Air Force’s new F-35A fighter only costs a fraction of what some jetliners do, and you could buy three of the Navy’s littoral combat ships for the cost of one of Royal Caribbean’s big cruise ships. So maybe the idea Pentagon weapons spending is out of control is just plain wrong. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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