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Arion640
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A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:46 pm

I sort of know the reasons why, but thought I'd start a discussion and get some views from American viewers.

Why is the US, regardless of R or D in the whitehouse, so insistent on spending huge ammounts of money on defence? Being a Brit, we seem to have enough defence capability to sort out our own affairs.

However, the US seems to have this and about 5x more. Lots of money is plowed into projects and 90% of the time historically there's always a huge budget overun. JSF for example, a project that's late too.

I understand there's a lot of highly skilled jobs and economic growth involved, but wanted to capture other's thoughts.
 
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falstaff
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:14 pm

Arion640 wrote:
Why is the US, regardless of R or D in the whitehouse, so insistent on spending huge ammounts of money on defence? Being a Brit, we seem to have enough defence capability to sort out our own affairs.


The entire UK is 2000 square miles smaller than Michigan. Even if we only spent money on defending the homeland on our shores we would spend more than a lot of countries. It costs a lot of money to operate a military that has to cover that much area.

Back when the Empire was around the UK needed a bigger Navy and Army than they do today. They had a lot of territory to defend. We are somewhat in that position today.

Arion640 wrote:
I understand there's a lot of highly skilled jobs and economic growth involved, but wanted to capture other's thoughts.

Yes there are a lot of industries, with a skilled workforce that rely on the military; Boeing's entire St. Louis operation exists because of it.
 
Ken777
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:32 pm

The US has made military commitments over the yeas that does cost money. As a Brit you would be aware f NATO and understand our financial commitments there. We also have SEATO commitments. Troops stationed in various countries like Japan and South Korea. Wen believe in Freedom of the Seas and not only have a lot of ships any sea, but also bases around the world to support those ships. More costs that we cover. It all ads up.

Military cost over runs have moved into a strange era these days because we have far more rapid R&D and technological growth in the private sector than in the Military. Look at the iPhone which was announced around 10 years ago, and all of the tech growth in that individual product. Apple moved from a 6 core processor to an 8 core processor in the last year alone, The military simply cannot keep up with that speed of development. The military is also hindered by a lack of Economies of Scale in many areas, You certainly don't get those benefits for carriers, or even destroyers.
 
Route66
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:40 pm

Arion640 wrote:
Being a Brit, we seem to have enough defence capability to sort out our own affairs.


That's amusing.
 
DfwRevolution
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:15 pm

Arion640 wrote:
Why is the US, regardless of R or D in the whitehouse, so insistent on spending huge ammounts of money on defence?.


Because if we don't, then truly monstrous people will.
 
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Tugger
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:21 pm

Arion640 wrote:
Why is the US, regardless of R or D in the whitehouse, so insistent on spending huge ammounts of money on defence?

It employs a lot of people, is often developed from cutting edge technology, and we like things that go "boom" (it's even in our anthem).

But number one is jobs.

Tugg
 
WIederling
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:16 pm

Tugger wrote:
But number one is jobs.


Laying waste to other countries for jobs at home. I can understand that.
"Hinterland" in a way was a similar concept. ;-)
 
Arion640
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:22 pm

falstaff wrote:
Arion640 wrote:
Why is the US, regardless of R or D in the whitehouse, so insistent on spending huge ammounts of money on defence? Being a Brit, we seem to have enough defence capability to sort out our own affairs.


The entire UK is 2000 square miles smaller than Michigan. Even if we only spent money on defending the homeland on our shores we would spend more than a lot of countries. It costs a lot of money to operate a military that has to cover that much area.

Back when the Empire was around the UK needed a bigger Navy and Army than they do today. They had a lot of territory to defend. We are somewhat in that position today.

Arion640 wrote:
I understand there's a lot of highly skilled jobs and economic growth involved, but wanted to capture other's thoughts.

Yes there are a lot of industries, with a skilled workforce that rely on the military; Boeing's entire St. Louis operation exists because of it.


Apart from a Ballistic Missile threat there's not really a lot of America that needs defending apart from each seaboard. Compared to European countries your very unlikely to get invaded, and the chance of Europe getting invaded these days is close to 0 anyway.

What territory do you have to defend? Apart from Guam and Hawaii, a good navy would defend each of the seaboards plus ballistic missles on top.

When I referred above saying Britain had enough money to sort out our own affairs, we do to an extent. We're not insistent on policing the world like the US.

Of course, all this means jobs. But wouldn't that money be better spent on other things such as a free healthcare system.
 
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casinterest
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:25 pm

People have forgotten a lot about WW2 and the resulting cold war, and then the war on terrorism.

Our country has had to defend itself and it;s allies for decades. The US has had the people and the knowledge to develop and deploy impressive amounts of technology. The Defense department in a large sense has always funded projects to benefit the US and our allies for all these battles, however the lessons of WW2 always taught the US that you can't withdraw from a strong presence as their are far too many folks working to undermine the status quo.
 
MaverickM11
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:43 pm

WIederling wrote:
Tugger wrote:
But number one is jobs.


Laying waste to other countries for jobs at home. I can understand that.
"Hinterland" in a way was a similar concept. ;-)

There's a lot of money to be made murdering civilians. Just ask Betsy Devos' family!

DfwRevolution wrote:
Arion640 wrote:
Why is the US, regardless of R or D in the whitehouse, so insistent on spending huge ammounts of money on defence?.


Because if we don't, then truly monstrous people will.

Such as?

Tugger wrote:
Arion640 wrote:
Why is the US, regardless of R or D in the whitehouse, so insistent on spending huge ammounts of money on defence?

It employs a lot of people, is often developed from cutting edge technology, and we like things that go "boom" (it's even in our anthem).

But number one is jobs.

Tugg

:checkmark: :checkmark: And "defending our freedom over there"
 
dtw2hyd
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Re: A Question for American Members

Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:17 am

Because the three biggest economic regions California(Blue), Texas(Red) and Virginia/Maryland/DC/(Purple) are the primary beneficiaries of federal spending on the military-industrial complex.

If military spending is cut, these three will collapse.
 
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Tugger
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Re: A Question for American Members

Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:40 am

dtw2hyd wrote:
Because the three biggest economic regions California(Blue), Texas(Red) and Virginia/Maryland/DC/(Purple) are the primary beneficiaries of federal spending on the military-industrial complex.

If military spending is cut, these three will collapse.

Just so you know, military spending is 2.1% California GDP; 2.3% of Texas; and 11.2% of Virginia's.
http://www.ncsl.org/research/military-a ... omies.aspx

So I doubt CA or TX will collapse but it'll hurt.

Tugg
 
NoTime
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Re: A Question for American Members

Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:55 am

Because someone has to do it...

According to Justin Bronk, "a Research Fellow specialising in combat airpower and technology in the Military Sciences team at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and Editor of the RUSI Defence Systems online journal..."

“Even without the nuclear option, Europe has no ability outside the UK (and at a pinch Germany) to deploy division scale ground forces – far less command them and support them, nor to move heavy equipment fast at scale. The US can deploy multiple divisions with heavy armour support and full combat enablers (e.g. dynamic targeting support, SATCOMs etc). Without the US, we in Europe have almost no access to SATCOM, GPS targeting, strategic mobility etc etc.”

...

“In air force terms, the US have a large advantage in relevant frontline types, whilst European fighter forces are chronically dependent on US tanker, AWACS, ELINT and EW support. What’s more, even the few top-tier European air forces have no answers to the F-22, B-2 or the high-end jamming that the US deploys with the Growler, B-52 etc.”

“In naval forces…. It’s around 15 nuclear attack submarines, mostly British and French capability, with a smattering of littoral-based but capable electric boats from Sweden and Germany vs 57 nuclear attack boats from the US. The surface combatant ratios are even worse and doesn’t even contain the 10 CVN’s with associated air wings.”

Then there’s the USMC which alone can field almost as much combat power as Britain or Germany…”


https://hushkit.net/2017/01/16/could-eu ... st-the-us/
 
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Aesma
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Re: A Question for American Members

Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:13 pm

For self-preservation having some SLBM is all that's needed in my opinion, and I'm glad my country has those, and that they are self-produced. I can't fault any country that wants the same capability.

All the rest is needed only for doing war abroad, or using on your own population.

I can't fear Russia or China or the US for that matter invading my country when I'm confident we can lob a few thermonuclear warheads at their main cities if they try.

Aside from that, it's true that European armies are dependent on the US for too many things, but that's a corollary of the US spending too much on defense. If the US is ready to spend for our defense (or rather, offense), there is no incentive for us to have our own capabilities.
 
bgm
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Re: A Question for American Members

Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:15 pm

It's the US govt's largest and costliest social program...
 
WIederling
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Re: A Question for American Members

Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:01 pm

bgm wrote:
It's the US govt's largest and costliest social program...


... but the grunts still seem to be dependent on food vouchers ?
 
planewasted
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Re: A Question for American Members

Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:05 pm

The difference between the UK and US is not THAT big:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... per_capita
Depending on how you measure of course. ;)
 
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cranberrysaus
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Re: A Question for American Members

Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:42 pm

Arion640 wrote:
I sort of know the reasons why, but thought I'd start a discussion and get some views from American viewers.

Why is the US, regardless of R or D in the whitehouse, so insistent on spending huge ammounts of money on defence? Being a Brit, we seem to have enough defence capability to sort out our own affairs.

However, the US seems to have this and about 5x more. Lots of money is plowed into projects and 90% of the time historically there's always a huge budget overun. JSF for example, a project that's late too.

I understand there's a lot of highly skilled jobs and economic growth involved, but wanted to capture other's thoughts.


Three words. Military-Industrial Complex. Eisenhower warned exactly that this would happen when he left office.
 
bhill
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Re: A Question for American Members

Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:43 pm

I think because of two reasons..1) What Eisenhower warned us about...the Military Industrial Complex...defense is very profitable....and 2) While we do not have the headcount of actual standing troops/sailors, we have to rely on technology...and that is NEVER cheap. While North Korea may have the same amount of submarines, they sure as hell are not a quiet!......
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: A Question for American Members

Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:47 am

Eisenhower noted scores of years ago regarding the military/industrial complex. He was aware but too polite to mention that 'congressional' should be added.
 
stratosphere
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Re: A Question for American Members

Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:21 am

Arion640 wrote:
I sort of know the reasons why, but thought I'd start a discussion and get some views from American viewers.

Why is the US, regardless of R or D in the whitehouse, so insistent on spending huge ammounts of money on defence? Being a Brit, we seem to have enough defence capability to sort out our own affairs.

However, the US seems to have this and about 5x more. Lots of money is plowed into projects and 90% of the time historically there's always a huge budget overun. JSF for example, a project that's late too.

I understand there's a lot of highly skilled jobs and economic growth involved, but wanted to capture other's thoughts.


Because it allows countries like YOURS to spend less on YOUR defense because your government knows they have the power of the United States behind them so you might think you have enough military to defend yourself and you probably do but as much as I hate we are the worlds policeman we kinda are.
 
Arion640
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Re: A Question for American Members

Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:45 am

stratosphere wrote:
Arion640 wrote:
I sort of know the reasons why, but thought I'd start a discussion and get some views from American viewers.

Why is the US, regardless of R or D in the whitehouse, so insistent on spending huge ammounts of money on defence? Being a Brit, we seem to have enough defence capability to sort out our own affairs.

However, the US seems to have this and about 5x more. Lots of money is plowed into projects and 90% of the time historically there's always a huge budget overun. JSF for example, a project that's late too.

I understand there's a lot of highly skilled jobs and economic growth involved, but wanted to capture other's thoughts.


Because it allows countries like YOURS to spend less on YOUR defense because your government knows they have the power of the United States behind them so you might think you have enough military to defend yourself and you probably do but as much as I hate we are the worlds policeman we kinda are.


Complete rubbish. We are one of the few countries with nuclear weapons and have some of the most powerful destroyers In the world. 2 new aircraft carriers coming online very soon. You make it sound like we have plastic guns.

Yes, if we got attacked i'm sure the US+others would come to our rescue as that's what NATO is all about. The reverse would also be true. For being the worlds policeman the only people you have to blame for that is yourselves.
 
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c933103
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Re: A Question for American Members

Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:19 pm

Western nations except the US were all weakened after the WWII, if the US did not uptake the role they are currently uptaking then the communist bloc would be much larger than what it were and could also last longer.
After the end of cold war there are events that took place in Middle East and Yugoslavia which prevent the military budget from being reduced
And now there's China and other raising nations, given the size of economy and population for countries like the US and China it would only be going to consume even more money
 
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Lilienthal
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Re: A Question for American Members

Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:03 am

stratosphere wrote:

Because it allows countries like YOURS to spend less on YOUR defense because your government knows they have the power of the United States behind them so you might think you have enough military to defend yourself and you probably do but as much as I hate we are the worlds policeman we kinda are.



Never ever have the US deployed the military for charity or for "spreading freedom and democracy". That was always a codeword for securing the US's sphere of influence and economic dominance. The US have created the world where they kind of have to play the "policeman", and they have profited massively from it. Granted, other western countries benefited immensely as well. But don't fool yourself thinking this is a one way street. It' the system the US have created, the system the US success of the past century was build on. Don't forget that.
 
salttee
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Re: A Question for American Members

Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:38 am

The subject is not as simple as it looks from a first glance. Remember that for the first five years after WW2, the US essentially disarmed to the point where we almost scrapped our aircraft carriers; nuclear weapons development was on hold, the US Army had dropped from eight million in 1945 to 593,000 in 1950; and we had almost abandoned Asia (except for the occupation of Japan) in the diplomatic sense.

Then came the invasion of Korea and the Korean war where the US paid dearly for letting its military muscle deteriorate. Russian Migs even out preformed our anemic F-86s over Korea. Also there was the unwelcome surprise that Russia had very active nuclear development in place. Thus we had the "red scare" of the early 1950s which while overdone, was in some form a necessary reaction to Stalin's and later Khrushchev's global outreach; they were operating from the assumption that they were on the verge of wiping out "capitalism". This stuff sounds archaic now, but back then it was very real.

While there had been a Berlin airlift in 48 - 49, the Berlin crisis of 1960 was much more dangerous; at that time there were opposing Russian and American tanks facing each other at Checkpoint Charlie with cannons aimed and rounds in the chambers. Then came the Vietnam blunder, which highlighted the fact that American military power was not at all invincible and that we'd better see to it that Germany and the rest of Western Europe re-armed itself if we were to be sure of keeping Europe out of Russian hands.

By 1972, the Vietnam war was winding down but the Russian ICBM fleet was now online and effectively countering any US nuclear deterrent, it was believed that western security, the only thing that would keep Russia in check, depended on the Russian belief that if things went nuclear, the west would still have an overwhelming conventional force. We did then, and most of us still do, see our security as being tied with Europe's security. And that security is still tied to an overwhelming conventional force, because the Russian nuclear threat is still alive.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:43 am

The US also keeps its military to have the capability to be an offensive force instead of just defense. It costs more to attack an enemy than to defend against one. We are the only nation that can effectively invade and run a war on the other side of the world. Is it necessary? Maybe, maybe not. Does it cost a ton of money? Sure does.

Yeah Yeah Yeah I know the UK had the Falklands, but compared to Korea or Vietnam, it was a pretty minor war (in terms of monetary costs to undertake), and was still a defensive battle as the Brits didn't invade Argentina in retaliation.
 
KAUSpilot
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:25 am

A large portion of US military spending is unnecessary and is a form of corruption because politicians get contributions from military contractors who in turn are awarded multi-billion dollar contracts to supply the military with needless weapons. There is also a political motivation to keep military funding high by politicians from regions with a lot of bases and/or contractors.

The best example I can think of is the US Navy and its obsolete surface ships. This man makes the argument far better than I ever could:

https://johntreed.com/blogs/john-t-reed-s-blog-about-military-matters/65448643-are-u-s-navy-surface-ships-sitting-ducks-to-enemies-with-modern-weapons

Submarines are useful, but the funds used for the rest of the massive naval fleet could probably be allocated much more intelligently.

The core problem is the issue of money and corruption in American politics. The only way out is to clean house. I know I vote 3rd party every chance I get if the candidates aren't completely insane (not going to mention anyone specific). I am skeptical that the problem will ever be solved through democratic processes. Sadly something more drastic may be necessary, I hope I am wrong.
 
apodino
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Re: A Question for American Members

Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:55 pm

salttee wrote:
The subject is not as simple as it looks from a first glance. Remember that for the first five years after WW2, the US essentially disarmed to the point where we almost scrapped our aircraft carriers; nuclear weapons development was on hold, the US Army had dropped from eight million in 1945 to 593,000 in 1950; and we had almost abandoned Asia (except for the occupation of Japan) in the diplomatic sense.

Then came the invasion of Korea and the Korean war where the US paid dearly for letting its military muscle deteriorate. Russian Migs even out preformed our anemic F-86s over Korea. Also there was the unwelcome surprise that Russia had very active nuclear development in place. Thus we had the "red scare" of the early 1950s which while overdone, was in some form a necessary reaction to Stalin's and later Khrushchev's global outreach; they were operating from the assumption that they were on the verge of wiping out "capitalism". This stuff sounds archaic now, but back then it was very real.

While there had been a Berlin airlift in 48 - 49, the Berlin crisis of 1960 was much more dangerous; at that time there were opposing Russian and American tanks facing each other at Checkpoint Charlie with cannons aimed and rounds in the chambers. Then came the Vietnam blunder, which highlighted the fact that American military power was not at all invincible and that we'd better see to it that Germany and the rest of Western Europe re-armed itself if we were to be sure of keeping Europe out of Russian hands.

By 1972, the Vietnam war was winding down but the Russian ICBM fleet was now online and effectively countering any US nuclear deterrent, it was believed that western security, the only thing that would keep Russia in check, depended on the Russian belief that if things went nuclear, the west would still have an overwhelming conventional force. We did then, and most of us still do, see our security as being tied with Europe's security. And that security is still tied to an overwhelming conventional force, because the Russian nuclear threat is still alive.

I am actually surprised that you are making a hawkish post on Defense as someone who usually would represent the liberal side of things.

I think much of what you say is true. There are a couple of things I think we need to look at, and this goes to the original poster. One is that do we really need to spend more than all the other nations combined on defense to adequately defend our country? Two, is the US government getting price gouged by military contractors who know they can get away with it? These two things need to be seriously looked at.
 
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cjg225
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Re: A Question for American Members

Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:11 am

KAUSpilot wrote:
A large portion of US military spending is unnecessary and is a form of corruption because politicians get contributions from military contractors who in turn are awarded multi-billion dollar contracts to supply the military with needless weapons. There is also a political motivation to keep military funding high by politicians from regions with a lot of bases and/or contractors.

The best example I can think of is the US Navy and its obsolete surface ships. This man makes the argument far better than I ever could:

https://johntreed.com/blogs/john-t-reed-s-blog-about-military-matters/65448643-are-u-s-navy-surface-ships-sitting-ducks-to-enemies-with-modern-weapons

Submarines are useful, but the funds used for the rest of the massive naval fleet could probably be allocated much more intelligently.

The core problem is the issue of money and corruption in American politics. The only way out is to clean house. I know I vote 3rd party every chance I get if the candidates aren't completely insane (not going to mention anyone specific). I am skeptical that the problem will ever be solved through democratic processes. Sadly something more drastic may be necessary, I hope I am wrong.

There are not enough words in the English language or any other language to really describe how poor and ill-conceived that article is.

A 3rd party won't fix the political problem. As someone above pointed out, the defense industry supports lots and lots of jobs. Good, well-paying jobs. If you're in the right part of the industry, incredible job security, too (while if you're not in the right part... not really much security at all). A 3rd party won't be any less devoted to that than the current parties.

apodino wrote:
I think much of what you say is true. There are a couple of things I think we need to look at, and this goes to the original poster. One is that do we really need to spend more than all the other nations combined on defense to adequately defend our country? Two, is the US government getting price gouged by military contractors who know they can get away with it? These two things need to be seriously looked at.

Extremely short answers: 1) Yes; and 2) Yes.

Marginally longer answers because I want to go to bed soon:

1) Yes. You win a war in many ways, but amongst the best ways is to be vastly technologically superior. Obviously, that's not the be-all, end-all, so please no one say, "But, but, but... Vietnam!" to that. Being technologically superior costs money. A lot of money. Unfortunately, the US has really gotten away from trying to make big technological leaps forward while ALSO fostering a wide variety of incremental steps forward. We've shifted to betting the farm on a quantum leap forward instead of the merely "big" leap forward. The cost has been the elimination of incremental improvement to the force over time that ensure we have a healthy edge over peers. The edge we have is rapidly shrinking because we've let our force stagnate while we try to figure out if our attempts at quantum leaps forward are even remotely workable in the real world.

2) The US defense procurement system is one of the most broken, dysfunctional systems in the known world. It is stunningly bad. I've been on the defense contractor side and it floored me to see what contractors could do. The Defense Acquisition Regulations, amongst other things, virtually ensure that the government will pay far more than necessary, which makes the "purpose" of the DAR laughable (to ensure the "lowest" price). Anything that can be done to increase complexity and cost is basically a mandate in the DAR if you pay attention.

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