5 Outrageously Expensive and Useless Defense Projects We’re All Paying for

Posted by on December 8, 2015 in Government, Military, Politics with 12 Comments


By Larry Schwartz | AlterNet

Republican candidates for president have all sang out in less-than-beautiful harmony about cutting taxes for the very rich and miraculously balancing the budget at the same time. They have also sworn they will increase military spending. Many of them are urging a full-scale war on ISIS and Donald Trump is even ready to commit war crimes in order to defeat them. Carly Fiorina has been banging the drum as hard or harder than most. “We need the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it,” she said at the Republican presidential debate in September: “More ships, more brigades, more nukes, more battalions.” Not a peep about how much her proposals would cost ($500 billion or so). Cuts in the safety net and closing loopholes will, they claim, make up for the gaping budget hole their bellicose plans would create.

Related Article: The Pentagon Is Spending Your Tax Dollars to Keep You in the Dark About Its Sprawling Empire

The proposed recipient of all that GOP chickenhawk largesse, the Defense Department, is already busy spending billions and billions on projects that even some Republicans think are the equivalent of flushing cash down a gold-plated toilet (the 2014 Defense budget, including money for the various wars we are waging in the Middle East and Asia, was more than half a trillion dollars). And what do we get for all that dough? In part, ongoing military projects that have long been designated as pipe dreams, yet continue to suck money down a black hole. These projects have been referred to as “zombie” defense projects because of their refusal to die. Meanwhile, a fraction of that money would undoubtedly save and improve the lives of many Americans.

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed,” Dwight D. Eisenhower said in 1953, sounding suspiciously like Bernie Sanders today.

Here are five zombie military projects that are currently wasting American taxpayer dollars.

1. F-35 fighter jet

Produced by Lockheed Martin, which began designing the jet in the 1990s, the F-35 is scheduled to replace practically all of the tactical jets in the Air Force, the Marines and some of the Navy. The jet is composed of thousands of parts, and those parts are produced separately in 46 different states (come on, Republicans, call it what it is: a national jobs program). Several of these jets have already been delivered. Meanwhile, the software has malfunctioned, jets have caught fire on the runway and in June 2014, the entire fleet was grounded. Since 2007, the F-35 fleet has been grounded 13 times. The design of the plane may have become overly complex, as all the military branches demanded more and more features on the basic design. Serious structural flaws may be the result.

Related Article: President Eisenhower on How the Military Industrial Complex Steals from the Hungry and the Homeless

The F-35 “is a dog …overweight and underpowered,” said Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight in Washington. According to a 2008 Rand Corporation analysis, the F-35, “can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run.” Defense analyst Richard Aboulafia told the publication Intelligent Aerospace, “The F-35 is coming to eat us all alive, there’s no way to sugar-coat it.” Despite all these early reviews, the F-35 refuses to die, and is on track to become the military’s standard warplane. The Pentagon expects to order nearly 2,500 of them in the coming decades at a cost of over $400 million. Lockheed-Martin has been accused of conspiring with the Defense Department to jack up the cost of the plane, leading Sen. John McCain to observe, “It is the kind of cronyism that should make us all vigilant against… the military-industrial complex.”

2. M-1 Abrams Tank

In February 2012, Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno told Congress that the U.S. had plenty of M-1 Abrams tanks. “Our tank fleet is in good shape and we don't need to [make repairs] because of the great support that we have gotten over the last two years.” Six months later, in August 2012, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said the M-1 was, “vital to our country’s national security and military readiness, but is critically important to the economy of Lima and Allen County.” You can’t get more direct than that. The Army says it doesn’t need the tanks, which are built in Ohio using parts from all over the country. The Ohio senator, with support from senators where the parts are made, says, That's nice, let's build more of them. And so a couple thousand tanks are parked in the desert and over half a trillion dollars has been spent since 1994 to build these vehicles.

Related Article: Don’t Ask the Pentagon Where Its Money Goes – It Won’t Tell

To make it worse, the tanks are outmoded. General Odierno says, “We don’t believe we will ever see a straight conventional conflict again in the future.” Instead he envisions conflicts like Iraq, where the use of weapons like IEDs make the M-1 vulnerable. General Dynamics, which produces the tank in Ohio, has, unsurprisingly, contributed a great deal of money to many members of the Senate Armed Services Committee (over $5 million through its PAC). Taxpayers forked over almost $200 million in 2014 for the M-1. In 2015, only $120 million. This zombie may die eventually, but not anytime soon.


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12 Reader Comments

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  1. 875756739181790@facebook.com' The Messenger says:

    They should take care of their Vets… Most Governments are pretty evil and greedy.. They line their pockets $$ off of the blood, sweat and tears of the less fortunate.

  2. 1532163643767480@facebook.com' Victor Sheinman says:

    When a government which is Satanic does anything it is obviously not for the benefit of their slaves, called the voting public, but to cleverly continue with their agendas, like the famed NWO…. … .

  3. 10153093505591143@facebook.com' Adam Foley says:

    they all useless

  4. 938781549527229@facebook.com' Neil Morris says:

    And they say food stamps are dragging this country down. Wake up America! Wake up.

  5. 524709927698413@facebook.com' Andy Walker says:

    Stop giving our money to the assholes and spend it on defense.

  6. 1510793705916332@facebook.com' Dona Dordas Hayhathi says:

    Im so sad to this.

  7. 659617207508508@facebook.com' Joo How Loh says:

    Prevention is better than cure. Rome was not built in a day. But they collapsed with the blink of an eye.

  8. 150990275249676@facebook.com' Susan Home says:

    I keep asking why we are all still paying for death, carnage, waste, and corporate profit, and I never get an answer.

  9. It’s the same here in the UK, we’ve got a new nuclear submarine called Trident on the way at a cost of £100 billion, which is about $151 billion. Astonishing really, since we’ll never have cause to use it. If we invested it in green energy, we’d do a lot more good

  10. 908321409205188@facebook.com' Mathias Murray says:

    The planes will not get shit done.
    Not on them, not about them, not for them. They were built to be a big ads lie.
    As far as we know…
    Have you flown one lately?…
    How dim is your light, how far is your switch?…

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