Army Scraps $39 Billion Helicopter. Which is most amazing?
- The Army spent $6.9 billion and didn't get a single helicopter.
- We have to pay $2 billion more just to cancel the program.
- This is the tip of an iceberg of crummy military procurement.
When I was in law school, I got very interested in military procurement. There are clearly enormous savings waiting to happen, but they are mostly blocked for a toxic combination of political factors. Gary Hart actually tried to do something about this in his finest hour when he was a Senator, as did Barry Goldwater. Senator Grassley occasionally makes a noble attempt. But mostly people have given up fighting the system, because it rolls right over you.
It's always odd how the loudest defenders of capitalism defend a Soviet-style state planning approach1 to buying weapons. But it's been going on so long now that no one notices.
1 Update. On reflection this is unfair. Had the Soviets ever cancelled a weapon system, I doubt they would have paid the folks who wasted $7 billion another $2 billion to soften the blow.