Thursday, September 29, 2016

Military Budget, Military Procurement

We are beginning to hear calls for more spending one the military.  The "sequester" ,a deal Congress set by law a couple of years ago, put a solid lid on military spending, and that lid is beginning to hurt.  There are calls to scrap the "sequester" and give the armed forces a lot more taxpayer money.
   Much of the military budget goes into "procurement" the purchase of food, uniforms, fuel, ammunition, spare parts, and new aircraft and armored fighting vehicles.  Procurment is run by thousands of rear echelon m__therf___kers (REMF for short) at the Pentagon, and the big depots.  They have created whole book selves of "procurement regulations"  which must be consulted and argued over before even a roll of toilet paper can be purchased.  Procurement regulations support and defend a number of scams against the taxpayer.
   For instance, the JEDEC semiconductor scam.  JEDEC semiconductors must be made on special production lines dedicated only to JEDEC work.  To make JEDEC semiconductors on the regular commerical production lines is forbidden.  Since the volume of JEDEC sales is low, the JEDEC lines only get fired up once a year or so, and are shut down as soon as the current order is filled.  Whereas the commercial lines run 24/7.  The people running the commercial lines get plenty of experience, and minor tuning of the process (time in this oven or that oven, concentration of dopant gases, cooling time, lotta stuff) makes the difference between a superior device (higher gain, lower noise, better voltage tolerance, buncha stuff) and junk.  In real life the JEDEC semiconductors, which cost ten times what good commercial devices cost, are inferior in every measurable respect, and a lot of 'em come in dead on arrival. 
   The taxpayers would be well served by scrapping the whole JEDEC scam and building everything with good commercial devices from American silicon foundries. 
   Then there is the urge to gold plate everything.  Can't just buy decent stuff off the shelf, everything has to be built special for the military.  The KC-46 tanker should have taken a commercial airliner, pulled out the seats, and installed fuel tanks.  Instead, the Air Force insisted that Boeing redo all the wiring on the airplane "to meet USAF specs",  Boeing talked the Air Force into replacing the entire cockpit with the fancier all digital and touch screen cockpit from the 787.  At government expense.  Add in a rediculous amount of test flying, and the program is late and way over budget.
   And everything takes too long.  Every year a project is in the R and D mode, it sucks up money.  In WWII we could design a new aircraft and get it into production inside of a year.  The current F-35 has been aborning, and sucking up money for twenty years and it still isn't combat ready. 
    Bottom line.  We need to straighten out procurement more than we need to pour mor money into it. 

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