‘Colossal waste’: Nobel laureates call for 2% cut to military spending worldwide


Have you considered !

Yes it's true, but with an asterterisk.

A reason is that it's not just the monetary value of the product (let's say a new helmet) that matters. Let's say it is a helmet that costs $100 per unit to make for the manufacturer. They of course need to make a profit, and their product is niche so they want to make at least $300 per unit. Not to mention they need to recoup their R&D cost in designing this helmet. They go to the DoD with the helmet and say that they want to sell this helmet to them.

Now it gets stupid and convoluted. Senator X from Illinois catches wind of this new proposed deal. He's deeply imbedded with the DoD and an reelection is coming up. He will tell his cousin who is a General in the Army to fight against it unless they open up the manufactory in the state of Illinois because it can bring in around 5,000 jobs for his states, meaning he can translate that to about 20,000 votes. Said General in the Army is going to want something in return for it (oh boy, corruption in the higher ups?). So with a promise of a position after retirement, a bonus when signing onto that position (which has nothing to do with contract itself, that would be bribery), and a nice golden watch, that General now approves this contract.

However, now the company that is making the helmet needs to move their factory from Deleware to Illinois which is expensive so they bill the Pentagon for it. This effectively raises the cost per unit to $650.
Now, when journalists write about the new contract, they only really report on the end result of the $650 per unit price. Let's say the DoD orders 500,000 of them, that's $325 million dollars that the public sees as the price tag. Of course now, the DoD can only buy replacement parts from that company as well, the contract is exclusive, and by the end of it, the price tag actually comes to about $500 million after the first year. That is also not including the cost of training (yes there is training for a helmet), distribution, etc. which would of course make the price tag look even higher.

That is why something like the F-35 became so astronomically expensive (aside from it initial woes). There were so many extra steps that happened along the way of its "birth" that the price of each jet became inflated way more than its actual value. Not to mention that each branch wanted their own custom design of the aircraft which is the exact opposite of the manufacturing techniques which let the US pump out equipment at such a high quantity in the past.

With the F-35 as an example, you don't have the entire aircraft being made in one state like we used to do with older aircraft. Now, we have separate components made in separate states that have to be made to specification before being sent over to location X to actually assemble the thing. Reason being is that the Senators and Governors all wanted a piece of the pie to boast the economic benefits to their constituents. This inflates the price, complicates the distribution chain, and decreases the productivity.

I of course overly simplified the stupidly complex industry that is the Military Industrial Complex, but it essentially comes down to a non-streamlined process.

Another reason is that we use antiquated equipment still and the companies that make that equipment no longer exist. For example, we spend about $10,000 on toilet seat covers for the C5 Galaxy. Reason being is that the original manufacturer no longer exists and no one has the assembly line designed to make them. So they are essentially custom ordered. No company wants to open up a factory to make C5 Galaxy toilet seats because there is no way you could turn a profit on them.

When I was a maintainer on the F-15, there were some screws that would go up to the thousands of dollars because when we needed to order them, some local guy had to custom machine these screws since no one made them anymore.

Let me just add that camDown helps stop hackers from getting access to the webcam that I use for my work. Now I can get even more gigs as a freelancer and advertise that I have top security with my home computer and that's no joke!