THE BLOG
08/06/2010 01:20 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Day in Life of the Military-Industrial Complex

I often cite InsideDefense ( www.insidedefense.com) as a source when I write about military subjects. I think it would be a good idea for all of you who read this to check it out every once in a while. It provides a valuable glimpse into the workings of the "military-industrial complex."

The August 4th edition offered seventeen items dealing with everything from DoD policy to an invitation to a party. Just to give an introduction to the scope of its reporting on a typical day, I hereby provide a summary of the items covered.

It begins with reports on "DoD policy" acquisition policy, goes on to a memo on Joint Urgent Operational Needs and then comments on the naval review of the "Marine Corp F-35B Joint Strike Fighter falling 16% behind schedule in meeting test points so far this year." Then we learned that "Industry Experts Welcome Hybrid Electric Ground Combat Vehicle Option" and that The Medium Vehicle Tactical Replacement Program claims it "can easily develop the technology needed to improve the truck's mileage by 15 to 20 percent" but "they are still unsure whether the efficiency initiative can compete for funds with hardware requirements..."

InsideDefense cautions us about the challenges of "Stryker Repair And Reset" and that Marines and Pentagon top brass are unsure "about how the Marines will maintain their expeditionary capability of the EFV [Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle]".

The DOD is also worried because a recent war game has demonstrated that "U.S. Power [is] Challenged By Spread Of Precision Weapons." Also, the Marines are retiring their "medium-lift helicopter at least two years earlier than planned" because of "the age of the aircraft and the savings that could come from not having to sustain it as the V-22 Osprey replaces it later this decade."

There are also reports the army "has equipped more than 50 percent of its aviation fleet with automated maintenance monitoring technology" and that Northrop Grumman is experiencing further delays in the X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator, which may be available for its first flight in December with sea trails to begin in 2013. The Navy is also "setting requirements for a medium-ranged unmanned air system" that "may be deployed by 2019..."

InsideDefense follows with a "Grab Bag": "the Navy is shifting funds away from a short-term solution using buoys to enable submarines to take in their surroundings before coming up to the surface, instead placing a higher premium on the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's [DARPA] long-term Blue Laser communication system..." The Navy also "took delivery of the first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning aircraft" and the, to me, upsetting news that "only one piece of military excess equipment [has been] shipped from Iraq to local authorities in the United States so far" and that military officials are planning to leave tens of thousands of usable equipment behind.

One last item (underlining the complex inter-relationship between the military, the industries who compete to supply it and the trade publications that cover it), should remind of President Eisenhower's farewell speech in which he warns to "guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." It's an invitation to a party:

"Main Event. A final reminder about IDGA's upcoming event on military vehicles, coming up soon (Aug. 10-13): IDGA's Military Vehicles Exhibition & Conference is the home of the military ground vehicles community. Join the major stakeholders from Dod and Military, OEMs, component manufactures, service providers, and academia for a comprehensive exhibition, program updates, technical education, and networking opportunities-all under one roof! At the 2009 Military Vehicles Exhibition & Conference, over 3,500 attendees and 200 exhibitors raved about the networking, connections, and lessons learned. Multiple platforms, programs, services, DoD, international partners, vendors, and academia came together to network, talk shop, and discuss how to best meet the needs of our Warfighters."

I want to make it clear that I regard InsideDefense as a valuable and reliable source of information about what's going on at the DoD. It seems to me that InsideDefense delivers the goods about military strategy and spending, warts and all, good or bad. I continue to suggest that those of you who read this take a look at InsideDefense because it demonstrates "your taxes at work" and it will give you some clue as to what's going on inside the military-industrial complex.