16″ of Boom April 27, 2008 Posted by Murdoc Received this amusing poster in the inbox. Click below to view due to naughty word alert. Updated: April 27, 2008 at 10:50 pm ◀ NASA Super Guppy IN THE MAIL: A Conservative History of the American Left ▶ Comments A good picture and caption. Some people really think we should bring back the Iowas for fire support but I think developing new systems would be better. Still I will miss the sheer firepower of those guns. Yeah, a new system would be great, but imagine how it would be managed. It’d be 8000% over budget because the Navy kept asking the contractors to add more hypermegadeath rays (that don’t exist yet) to the design, and the contractors would be milking the Navy. Then it would be canceled. And you’d be paying for it. It’s sad, but I really do think that’s what would happen 🙁 There needs to be someone with authority and who is very stubborn who says ‘no more bullshit, just build a hull that won’t sink and put big fricking guns on it that we know will definitely work, on a fixed price contract’. But how is that type of person going to get into that position these days? It’s too un-PC… Come to think of it, what I just described sounds an awful lot like the DD-X/DDG-1000/whatever program. A fixed price contract does nothing but screw the US taxpayer. At least with a cost plus type of contract the contractor doesn’t make any profit on the overrun. Also, cost plus contracts have an award fee clause. That allows the Navy to reduce the contractor’s profit margin depending on how well they’ve performed during the last quarter. It doesn’t work very well, but the firm fixed contract is a dream for the contractors and a nightmare for the rest of us. Didn’t you notice that Lockheed offered to go under a firm fixed contract for C-5M and they got rejected by the USAF? Personally, I think we should nationalize the shipyards in the US. I think ships should be designed and built by civil servants. There is no such thing as competition when it comes to ship building contracts. We have refused to support our domestic shipbuilding industry, which has resulted in its being completely outsourced to foreign countries, so why pretend there is anything competitive about our current military shipbuilding process? Hell, it couldn’t get any worse as a Soviet style socialized industry. The only thing we’d miss is the big shot corporate CEO making $30-$40 million/year. Boo hoo. Whoa there, Dfens! You’re talking socialism as a good thing? I take it you’re just very frustrated with the procurement system, and don’t really mean that. The whole procurement system needs a serious overhaul. Buying ‘systems’ for the forces should not be about what kind of job you can get after you retire. It should be about getting the best ‘system’ you can into the hands of the fighters, as fast and economically as possible. I have and continue to assert that pure socialism would be better than the current military-industrial complex we now support. Sure we could provide capitalistic incentives for contractors to provide a good product at a reasonable price, but since we won’t, since what we actually do is to provide an economic incentive for contractors to drag out development and screw us on cost, then how could socialism be worse? All it would do is cause some idiot CEOs to be unemployed. Plus, how do you practically provide economic incentives for companies to build an aircraft carrier on time and budget? Carriers have become so big and costly that they’re public works projects whether you want to call them that or not. All you really do by putting a company ‘in charge’ is kid yourself. It’s not capitalism when there is no down side to failure, and we cannot afford for a company building a carrier to fail. Its like our banks, are they really private entities when our government won’t allow them to fail? Obviously not. So if you’re not going to allow them to operate under the rules of capitalism, why the facade? Is it just there so a select few can get rich off of our tax dollars? The US Constitution is pragmatically written. It assigns some duties to be carried out by socialistic bureaucracies. The military is one such bureaucracy, or at least it was back before we started hiring companies like Blackwater. Today, instead of being similarly pragmatic, we’ve created a social elite class that feeds exclusively off our tax dollars. Then we wonder why we can’t get spending in line. Here’s some related commentary that’s related both to what we’ve been talking about here and some of what I’ve posted under last week’s Linkzookery topic: The Government Accountability Office reported last month on how things are going with nearly 100 major U.S. defense systems. Not well, it seems. They have exceeded their original budgets and are, on average, almost two years behind schedule. The GAO report lays bare a festering problem in our nation’s military procurement system: Competition barely exists in the defense industry and is growing weaker by the day. It was a different story just two decades ago. In the 1980s, 20 or more prime contractors competed for most defense contracts. Today, the Pentagon relies primarily on six main contractors to build our nation’s aircraft, missiles, ships and other weapons systems. It is a system that largely forgoes competition on price, delivery and performance and replaces it with a kind of ‘design bureau’ competition, similar to what the Soviet Union used — hardly a recipe for success. Consider just two recent events: In February, the Air Force announced that it would award its $35 billion KC-45A tanker program to Northrop Grumman and European giant EADS, over Boeing. The move has aroused considerable opposition, not just from Boeing but also from people, including some members of Congress, troubled by the fact that the new refueling aircraft would be designed and built in Europe. Those disturbed by this scenario, and what it portends, should be even more unsettled by the announcement from Boeing and Lockheed Martin that they will ‘collaborate’ on another major project: the Air Force’s next-generation bomber. The union of these defense giants has created an apparent dream team of engineering and manufacturing talent, not to mention political clout. It’s an arrangement that some observers say constitutes the best — and maybe only — way to defeat their sole remaining competitor, Northrop Grumman. – Washington Post When are those nitwits running the Navy going to relize you don’t retire a proven system untill the new one is ready for prime time and does better than the old one? The best use of the battleships and even the heavy/battle cruisers, would be for shore bombardment, and infantry support. They could also be used for field testing new weapon systems since if the darn thing fails, you have the old tried and true weapons ready to go at a moment’s notice. Case in point, you replace one turret on an Iowa with your Hypermegadeathray cannon. Said Hypermegadeathray goes tits up while providing fire support. Commander gets the call that ‘Turret 2 is down.’ and immediately calls ‘Understood, openfire turret 1 and three, full barrage’ and a couple seconds later six 16 inch projectiles are on their way on the same bearing, since they were aiming along with the hypermegadeathray just in case the high tech crapped out. Same reason cops carry a sidearm and a tazer. Tazer might not work. Properly employed lead always works. I agree that the procurement system and the Politicians In Uniform are to blame for the current state of military tech and ship building, however, going to a socialist system would not fix it, it would only make it worse. Right now its already socialist because they get paid to fail ‘just to keep the estabilshed manufacturer in buisness’ or some crap. Start penalizing them and things will start improving. FOr instance, contractor fails to deliver as promised, contract goes to the next lowest bidder and the contractor that screwed the pooch has to pay back some or all of what they were paid. GUess what, that happens once and everyone else wises up and starts playing by the same rules we all do. I screw off at work and blow the company’s time, I get fired. Contractors for the military should be the same way. THAT my friends, is REAL capitalism, not whats being passed off as capitalism right now. How are you going to punish them, go back and forth between Grumman and Lockmart? And every time you do the price will go up and the capability will go down. Or are you going to take a half finished carrier and, what, truck it over to the competitors shipyard and have them complete it? What good is that $30 million/year you pay the CEOs of those companies doing you? Does either company have a single program that’s on schedule and on budget? How exactly would things be worse by socializing them? The problem is that we have a uncontrolled socialistic system. The contractors are capitalistic without competition. Even worse, the contractors have so inbred with the pentagon that the contractors are actually making policy. While in general I want as little government as possible a pure Navy shipyard is needed until the private industry pulls its collective head out of my wallet. IMO the real problem with the navy is that they have not had a war in 60 years and have forgotten how to fight. They are so full of power point presentation and ‘validation studies’ they have forgotten the basics warfare. So they can say with a straight face that armor is unnecessary and is actually a hindrance, as it robs displacement and limits maneuverability. One Navy officer had the nerve to say to me that ‘Armor does not save ships, damage control does…’ and then in an attempt to definitively end the argument he followed up with ‘ Name one modern ship sunk in the past 50 years besides the Sheffield..’ Agreed, James. It’s totally absurd. It’s not like these ships they’re building are a quantum leap faster. They sacrifice armor for one or two knots of speed, BFD. I could possibly see it if the ships were skimming the ocean at 100 kts, sure, then make them lighter because it’s worth it for that kind of speed, but to make them thin skinned death traps for a couple of knots is just stupid. It’s like the stealth they’re putting on these ships. It does little good, but costs an arm and a leg. That’s crazy. Make it stealthy or don’t. Don’t make it just stealthy enough to drive the costs sky high, which is what they’re doing. Personally, I think it’s crazy what people call conservative today. If you say we should socialize something that’s always been socialized, like our military, these fake conservatives gasp. If you think you’re a conservative and you don’t know anything about the history of this country, you’re not a conservative. I’ll tell you for certain, handing these defense contractors money to screw us is not conservative. Building a beltway aristocracy of over paid government leaches (contractors) is also not conservative. We need government to work. We need it to provide some basic services, especially defense. Our founding fathers knew that. True conservatives know that because to them being conservative is more than a slogan or belonging to a political party. It is doing what works and has worked. Sooo, your solution is to replace a socialist but semifluid buracracy where there are still SOME checks and balances, with a totally socialist system with no real checks and balances and an entrenched buracracy that it takes an act of congress to get rid of? And as far as ‘moving ship hulls’, excuse me, but they haven’t even layed keel for the DDG-1000 yet IIRC. Its already wayy over budget. Time to cut the cord, and give someone else in private industry the opportunity to develop systems and design and THEN get a bid from Lockmart or whoever to BUILD it. Same way they did with many other designs during wartime. Colt didn’t originally own the M16, it was designed at Armalite. Colt didn’t originally own the 1911 design. It was designed by John Browning under contract. The manufactureres that made M1s during WWII didn’t own the design, they just got the contract to build them for the army. A prime modern example would be the Masada. Magpul came up with a top notch design, but didn’t have the production capacity. Bushmaster has the capacity, but didn’t own the design. Let the private sector come up with a better design and then get the big boys to build a licensed prototype instead of keeping it all in house. THe more you consolidate, the more you set it up to keep paying them for getting nothing done because you have nowhere else to go. IF they could lose the contract and bonus to some young company with a fire under its ass, then the big boys tend to push harder to get things done on time and under budget. Right now they have NO incentive to produce because they get paid more for failure than for success, and nobody calls them on it because they are ‘needed’. Nationalizing the system only makes it worse. Yeah, that ‘entrenched bureaucracy’ has been the Republican party line for a couple decades now, but the reality is, it’s a bunch of crap. I don’t care if you’ve got 30,000 people making $60K/yr, the reality is that one person making $30,000,000 a year has a lot more political clout than all those middle class guys put together. That’s what’s so phoney about the Republican ‘privatization’ effort. It’s not doing anything for us. We get worse service, not better, and we spend more money for it. All it really has become is a welfare system for rich people. The Regan revolution was defeated long ago by the hated Rockefeller Republicans. They slipped on the conservative clothing and have been leading conservatives down the happy path for decades. Go ahead and cancel the DDX contract. That will get you the same thing you got from Crusader – SCREWED! I keep telling you, the contractors don’t want to build sh**. They want to design sh**. They want to design it for as long as you’ll pay them to do it. It’s easy to make a paper boat. It’s hard to make a real one. Hard translates into business risk and large capital investments. Risk and capital costs money. Housing a bunch of engineers in a rented cube farm with rented computers doesn’t cost much, nor does it risk much. You’ll punish yourself into the poor house and the government contractors will laugh all the way to the bank. Is that what you’re proposing? It sounds like it. coolhand77 – A minor point of historical reality on the DD(X. The Navy did attempt to have ‘competitive bidding’ on the contract. The funny thing is, that there were only two companies that could bid on it, Lockheed and Raytheon. Well the problem was, that Raytheon did not want to build the ship. So the Navy actually paid Raytheon 500 million to bid on a project it did not want, so as to provide an illusion of completion. Lets just say that the engineers on the Raytheon team were not overly motivated to win the contract…. Basically, the private enterprise option does not exist. You need to have actual competition. That said, competition cannot exist under the current procurement system. The current procurement system is like the tax code, bloated beyond belief, complexity beyond mere mortal understanding, but if you know the right people, you can turn the system into a cash pi+ Anyone remember what company Werner Von Braun worked for? Oh yeah, it wasn’t a company. It was that socialist NASA government agency. Funny how in those days NASA hired people to design rockets who had actually designed rockets before. And since NASA stopped designing rockets how have things gone? 30 years of that POS space shuttle sound good to anyone? 30 years of not being able to duplicate what we did in the ’60s appeal to you? How’s that vendetta against socialism going? Hell, we have more government now than ever before. More government and fewer rights. It’s a great day to be a conservative. Now how about we start moving past the slogans and become real conservatives and vote for real conservatives?