THE BLOG
10/21/2013 06:51 pm ET Updated Dec 21, 2013

Three Hundred Million Dollars of Junk -- Two

I was wrong! The Army did not scrap its expensive Long-Endurance-Multi-Intelligence Vehicle [LEMV] designed to, according to Inside Defense, "offer payload flexibility and persistent ISR [intelligence surveillance] capability that did not currently exist in the Afghanistan theater."

Instead, with the war in Afghanistan coming to an end, and the LEMV never leaving New Jersey, the Air Force has finally sold it. The buyer: Hybrid Air Vehicles [HAV], its English manufacturer. HAV has agreed to buy the giant air ship back for $301,000, about one-tenth of 1 percent of what the DOD invested in the project. It may not be a bargain, even for HAV.

The Army removed all sensitive materials, such as "radars, sensors, communication equipment and other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance material from the LEMV before it was sold to HAV. The Army also claims that the $300,000 sale "will result in a cost savings [of] more than $1 million allowing funding to be returned to the government and relieving the Army of the requirement of demilitarizing, deposing and disposition of the airship by the Army." Saving $700,000 on a $300 million project does not seem to me good business practice.

To summarize, the Pentagon spent $300 million on a giant airship that was obsolete before it was useful, then offered to sell it back to its manufacturer for $44 million, and after that offer was rejected permitted the manufacturer to buy the airship back for $300,000. That's a 99.9 percent loss, a waste of hundreds of millions of dollars and I have yet to hear that Congress is launching a federal investigation, maybe that's because Congress spends too much time investigating relatively trivial waste at the GSA [Government Services Administration] and the CDC [Center for Disease Control] while not nearly enough time investigating military waste.

Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?