When John McCain was shot down over Hanoi in 1967, he was flying an A4 Skyhawk. That jet cost $860,000.
Inflation has risen by 700% since then. So Mr. McCain's A4 cost $6.1 million in 2008 dollars. Applying a generous factor of three for technological improvements, the price for a 2008 Navy F18 fighter should be about $18 million. Instead, we are paying about $90 million for each new fighter. As a result, the Navy cannot buy sufficient numbers. This is disarmament without a treaty.
Having working in and around big defense contractors for more than 20 years I can say I fully agree with the former SECNAV's evaluation: the cosy relationship between the military, supplies and the civilans working in the pentagon has turned what should be a competitive market into a good ole boys network where BIG defense companies routinely milk money out of a contact for 2-3 or MORE years beyond it's orginal cost/schedule. 50-100% cost overruns are not uncommon.
In fact, I worked on one defense project back in the late '90's that was supposed to be about 3 years long and demonstrate, on orbit, new sensing and tracking technologies. Ten years later I know the program was still nursing at the government teet and the satellites STILL hadn't been launched.
How's that for return on you $100+ million investment?
Something has to be done. I'm not opposed to spending on the military, but we spend so much on so many ridiculous projects that its bankrupting the country.
People scream about potential increases in gov health care spending, but don't seem to bat an eye when we spend $350 MILLION on a single fighter jet - or worse, several hundred million on a program that goes no-where for more than a decade.
This is corporate welfare on a HUGE scale.
Will we ever get control? ... i doubt it. Something about the American pyche is at work here: spending money to kill people is "oo-raah" good; but try to spend some to help sick people and you get protests.
What the hell happened to people?