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Title: Trump Signs $82 Billion Spending Boost for Pentagon
Source: Reason
URL Source: http://reason.com/blog/2018/08/13/t ... s-82-billion-spending-boost-fo
Published: Aug 13, 2018
Author: Eric Boehm
Post Date: 2018-08-14 05:30:37 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 106
Comments: 5

"It was not very hard" to get the spending bill through Congress, Trump said. And he's definitely right about that.

President Donald Trump on Monday signed a military budget boosting the Pentagon's spending by $82 billion in the next year—a spending increase that dwarfs the entire military budgets of most other nations on Earth. Russia, for example, will spend an estimated $61 billion on its military this year. Total.

With the increased spending included in this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Pentagon will get to spend more than $700 billion next year. The budget hike was a priority for Trump and was approved by Congress as part of a March spending deal that saw spending on both defense and domestic programs hiked by about $165 billion—smashing through Obama-era spending caps.

This year's NDAA is "the most significant increase in our military and our war-fighters in modern history," Trump said. "It was not very hard. I went to Congress, I said, 'Let's do it, we gotta do it.'"

Indeed, it was not very hard. Democrats are quick to condemn nearly everything Trump proposes and many Republicans are less than enamored with the current occupant of the White House, but partisan animosity vanishes when defense spending comes up. The final House vote on the NDAA—technically known as the "John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act" because you wouldn't vote against something named after an American hero, right?—was 359-54, while the final Senate roll call was 87-10, with only two Republican senators opposing the bill and three declining to cast votes.

The spending increase will allow the Pentagon to hire another 4,000 active duty soldiers, Trump said, and would help replace aging tanks, planes, and ships with "the most advanced and lethal technology ever developed."

"Hopefully, we'll be so strong that we'll never have to use it," Trump said. "But if we ever did, nobody has a chance."

Trump also used the occasion to plug his recent call for the creation of a Space Force, which would be the sixth branch of the U.S. military. A Space Force is necessary, Trump said, to counter aggression from other countries in the final frontier. "I've seen things that you don't even want to see," Trump said, apparently referencing advancements in space technology being developed by other countries.

There is no funding included in this NDAA for the Space Force, but the administration plans to have the new branch up and running by 2020—and it's not going to be cheap.

No worries, Trump seemed to say on Monday, as he promised more spending increases to come—reversing what he said was years of "depleted" spending on the Pentagon.

But as I noted in June when the NDAA cleared the Senate: the Pentagon's biggest problem isn't a shortage of funding, but misuse of the money that it already receives.

Unfortunately, we don't know much about that because the Pentagon has still not been subjected to a full scale audit, despite the fact that all federal agencies and departments were ordered to undergo mandatory audits in 1990. A preliminary audit of just one office within the Pentagon found that more than $800 million could not be accounted for. Auditors said the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)—described as "the military's Walmart" because it's responsible for processing supplies and equipment—has financial management "so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it's responsible for."

Whether it's investing in bomb-sniffing elephants, paying $8,000 for something that should cost $50, or shelling out for the famous $640 toilet seat, there's no shortage of absurd waste in the Pentagon. A Reuters probe in 2013 found "$8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out to the Pentagon since 1996 … has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China's economic output [for 2012]."

The Pentagon doesn't need more money, but until politicans from at least one party show a willingness to turn off the tap, there is no incentive for the Department of Defense to change its culture of waste and tradition of opacity.


Poster Comment:

...there's no shortage of absurd waste in the Pentagon. A Reuters probe in 2013 found "$8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out to the Pentagon since 1996 … has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China's economic output [for 2012]."

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#1. To: Deckard, nolu chan (#0) (Edited)

or shelling out for the famous $640 toilet seat, there's no shortage of absurd waste in the Pentagon

The seats in question were used in P3 Orions IIRC and the eventual price was dropped to $100. The $600+ was just used by some Congressmen as a way to cut from the military budget and use the money to pander for votes from their lazy voter base.

I've never been in a P3 before but I would imagine that it's more than just a seat it probably also ensures that waste does not re-enter the aircraft if it has to perform any violent maneuvers. (I know the waist piss stations on a C130 have lids that seal when closed).

Seems to me nolu chan was in the Navy IIRC maybe he could comment as to what they really are.

Vegetarians eat vegetables. Beware of humanitarians!

CZ82  posted on  2018-08-14   6:49:50 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: CZ82 (#1)

and the eventual price was dropped to $100.

$82.50 on Amazon Prime plus free shipping.

misterwhite  posted on  2018-08-14   8:37:59 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Deckard (#0)

and those F35 must be gold plated, I hear it is the latest in stealth technology

paraclete  posted on  2018-08-14   9:13:05 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: CZ82, Deckard (#1)

The end of the story is that Lockheed "policy priced" the item at $100 as the final, below cost, price. Only 56 items were ordered and the reduced price was to make the story go away. A small quantity of a custom made item will be expensive. Everything on a military aircraft needs to meet aviation standards and milspec.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

http://www.robertgraves.com/2014/11/ive-sat-on-600-toilet-seat.html

This Is Your Captain Speaking

The secret life behind the cockpit door. Rob Graves, an airline Captain, betrays the profession telling all the details of what it's like to be an airline pilot from dodging thunderstorms to life in hotels.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I've Sat on a $600 Toilet Seat

[image of toilet] http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MFvc7MPHLWU/VHOO3FLcyiI/AAAAAAAAYdI/rxqEpbkcWv8/s1600/China_Airlines_%E4%B8%AD%E8%8F%AF%E8%88%AA%E7%A9%BA_toilet_interior_Feb-2013.JPG

The $600 toilet seat. More than just a cliche, over the years it's become an icon and a convenient shorthand for government waste. But does anyone really know the true story behind the famous $600 toilet seat?

I do.

I've even sat on one.

It's an airplane toilet seat. And more. Specifically, the famous $600 toilet seat was actually a fiberglass structure used in the restrooms of the Lockheed P-3C Orion sub chaser aircraft flown by the Navy. In a mini-scandal, it was determined that the fiberglass shroud structure that covered the toilet needed to be replaced. Since the aircraft was long out of production, new parts were needed to be tooled and constructed.

Once all the costs of production were rolled into the final product, the cost was about $600, probably a deal for a custom part long out of production. This will be no mystery to anyone who works on antique autos. One-off or limited production of complex parts and machinery is expensive. It also defines the crazy economics of military equipment procurement.

Politics Drives the Process

One might be forgiven for thinking that tactics, strategy, or mission needs drive the military equipment procurement process. To the extent that those concerns drive the process at all, the relation is only tangential. The driving force behind most military procurement is politics. And money. Lots of money.

[snip]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

THE $700 TOILET SEAT

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.aviation.military/zthCA5Fii8o

[Excerpts]

robbe...@aol.com
2/10/98

Having done some small part of the acquisition business, let me explain the high costs. The government contracts with manufacturer A to provide widgets for its new BCF-99 aircraft at a price of $175 each which includes $25 profit, $25 in raw materials, prorated overhead and research-and-development costs.

(Overhead includes the cost of labor, utilities, manufacturing jigs, a building to manufacture it in, etc). This price is based upon a production run of 1,000 widgets at 100 per month. That means there is a cost of $125 per widget over and above raw materials Over the life of the contract the overhead cost is $125,000 based on 1,000 units. ($125 ea). When Congress comes along and slashes the production run to 100 aircraft, the widget manufacturer still makes his $25 per unit profit, his raw materials still cost $25 per unit but now that $125,000 overhead is prorated over only 100 widgets, zooming the overhead cost to $1,250 per widget! That brings the total cost to $1,300 per widget ($1,250 plus $25 in raw materials plus $25 profit) when the original planned cost had only been $175. Bottom line, the overhead remains the same no matter how many units are produced. You can thank your friendly local elected Congressman/Senator for driving costs up in many (not all cases). I know this was rather simplified and the numbers fictious but I tried to not get bogged down in details -- besides, I wrote this at 6 in the morning!

Ed Robbeloth

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Cradlets
2/10/98

Hi Randy,

The toilet enclosure in an airplane has to be designed to keep any highly corrosive urine from getting to the aircraft structure. As I recall the "$700 toilet seat" was the total enclosure. I don't know if it was an AWACs or P-3 this story came from, but having worked on C-141Bs for 5 years I know what the enclosure on that jet looked like. It was the size of a walk-in shower, and in my opinion $700 was very reasonable for what the thing actually was. I also had the wonderful experience of working for an airline for nine months until they got bought out and I was laid off, and I can also tell you they also pay what seem to be outrageous prices for aircraft parts. I remember a light strip, basically a piece of plastic with two copper traces, about 2 inches by 1/4 inch with three little light bulbs soldered on, you'd guess a dollar or two to look at it, cost a couple of HUNDRED dollars. Absolutely NUTS!!! This strip was used in the standby ADI indicator on a British Aerospace ATP airliner, and we HAD to use them when the lights burned out, FAA doesn't allow substitutions for parts designated by the aircraft manufacturers.

Scott Wilson

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Paul F Austin
2/10/98

RobbelothE wrote:

Having done some small part of the acquisition business, let me explain the high costs. (good explanation of how low production rates drive up costs)

In the particular case of the "toilet seat", the item was actually a molded fiberglass cover for the sanitary tank on IIRC, a P-3. The "toilet seat" was a 3 foot by 2 foot complex molding that had a toilet seat molded into it. $750 is entirely reasonable for something with about the complexity of a fender panel for a Corvette.

--

Eat a live toad, first thing in the morning
and nothing worse will happen to you all day

-------------------------------------

Paul Austin
PAU...@HARRIS.COM

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Alan Constant
2/11/98

RobbelothE wrote:

Having done some small part of the acquisition business, let me explain the high costs. The government contracts with manufacturer A to provide widgets for its new BCF-99 aircraft at a price of $175 each which includes $25 profit, $25 in raw materials, prorated overhead and research-and-development costs. (Overhead includes the cost of labor, utilities, manufacturing jigs, a building to manufacture it in, etc). This price is based upon a production run of 1,000 widgets at 100 per month. That means there is a cost of $125 per widget over and above raw materials.....

Many years back I read something in one magazine (perhaps Aviation Week) about one of the services requiring some special parts for helicopter engines or transmissions that went something like this (dollar values are made up):

The part itself was fairly inexpensive to make but the tooling, overhead and setup costs were very high. The company making the part said they could turn out 1,000 of these parts for $100,000 (a unit price of $100).

The service said "We don't want 1,000, we only want 116."

The company said "If you only want 116, it will cost you $93,000 (a unit price of $800).

The service ordered 116 and the public became outraged at their spending $800 a piece for a part they could have had for only $100 a piece.

If I recall, the official explanation was "We determined we only needed 116 of the parts. Had we ordered 1,000 the cost would be $100,000, the unit price would have been $100, and we would have almost 900 parts we have no use for sitting on the shelf rusting. The cost to produce 116 was $93,000 which brought the unit cost up to $800, but by purchasing only 116, we actually saved the taxpayer $7,000."

For once a government explanation actually makes some sense!

Everyone seems to forget that the company has to recoup their costs which remain the same whether they produce one item or one million so basing "the deal" on unit cost can be quite misleading.

A. Constant

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

nolu chan  posted on  2018-08-14   19:36:05 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: nolu chan (#4)

It's an airplane toilet seat. And more. Specifically, the famous $600 toilet seat was actually a fiberglass structure used in the restrooms of the Lockheed P-3C Orion sub chaser aircraft flown by the Navy. In a mini-scandal, it was determined that the fiberglass shroud structure that covered the toilet needed to be replaced. Since the aircraft was long out of production, new parts were needed to be tooled and constructed.

Once all the costs of production were rolled into the final product, the cost was about $600, probably a deal for a custom part long out of production. This will be no mystery to anyone who works on antique autos. One-off or limited production of complex parts and machinery is expensive. It also defines the crazy economics of military equipment procurement.

I suspected as much, good sleuthing thank you.

Yes Mil-spec usually drives up the cost considerably because of the standards they have to be made to. Some standards make sense and some standards don't but it is what it is.

Another one I remember was the $7K coffee pots. Which also have to be made to those special standards and have to be made to run on 400hz power which is what standard aircraft power is. To use a 60hz coffee pot off the shelf at Wally world you would have to have a special power system just for the pot which adds weight to the aircraft, and the pot itself is not made to the higher safety standards. You don't want to have a fire at 30,000 feet especially if you're riding in a refueling tanker, talk about going out in a blaze of glory.

Vegetarians eat vegetables. Beware of humanitarians!

CZ82  posted on  2018-08-15   7:38:21 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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