We promised you the Lexington blog would keep a close eye on the defense department insourcing and outsourcing fight, as well as emerging technology issues and program pressures. I hope you have been finding our past coverage useful. Is there anyone else out there that comes even remotely close to our sources and understanding on these issues?
Of course not. They are all pretending they are the next Prince Metternich, while we are giving you useful information to help you get the job done in a real tough political and fiscal environment. And Metternich ended up being chased out of Vienna by the mob, while all those good Austrian bureaucrats and suppliers and manufacturers landed more and more business even after the ancient regime was over-thrown.
Let me ask you this: Isn’t it better for our warfighters to focus on warfighting, whenever and wherever possible, rather than maintenance and support of equipment? Wouldn’t we actually have a better chance of winning the war?
And aren’t our present forces already stretched thin, a little tired from multiple deployments, and deservedly well-paid and well-fed but awfully darn expensive?
It’s not that logistics and maintenance are unimportant, but I would prefer that our military be fighting or training, while our world-class private companies provide the necessary supply chain and repair support, where appropriate and at better cost. They built the tanks and aircraft and missiles in the first place, and should be able to do a good job keeping them in good condition for their next deployment.
Public sector logisticians have a strong hand now. The economy stinks, and the defense aerospace sector is on the front edge of a deep recession. So private companies are anxious for new business, unions are worried about job safety, and both will walk the extra mile and provide good pricing to keep a strong hand in the public sector industrial base. And the government depots and arsenals and ammunition plants are all still in place (and BRAC-proof) if the private sector can’t deliver, or decides they would rather pursue commercial opportunities elsewhere.
So let’s hope the insourcing agenda does not go too far. The Department of Defense already has its hands full with two land wars in Asia, nuclear proliferation in dicey spots like Pakistan, North Korea and Iran, an emerging near-peer in China and a clumsy, dangerous ex-peer in Russia. Let’s throw all the good minds and bodies on hand at those challenges, and make the private sector continue to prove itself as a reliable, cost-effective, and patriotic supplier and maintainer.
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