“Shock and Audit” – MoJo dissects the defense budget so you don’t have to

Today’s recommended reading:  “Shock and Audit“, a series in Mother Jones magazine — “MoJo dissects the Defense Budget so that you don’t have to.”

  1. The Hidden Defense Budget
  2. Operation Overrun
  3. Where’s My Flying Tank?
  4. The Axis of Pork
  5. Mission Impossible

For more information about the Defense Death Spiral see Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information:

Our goal is to transform U.S. national security strategy to meet the missions and threats of the 21st century. Recognizing that security includes economic as well as military strength, the project considers both the fiscal and strategic implications of defense programs and promotes informed oversight of Pentagon activities. The Straus Military Reform Project provides analysis and fosters debate on the uses, strategy, doctrine and forces of the U.S. military and its role in the wider national security structure. It provides a forum for discussion and encourages the free expression of all views.

More information on the FM site about this topic appears below the fold.


If you are new to this site, please glance at the archives below. You may find answers to your questions in these.

Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 words max), civil, and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp interest these days:

Posts about America’s military machinery:

  1. Another cycle down the Defense Death Spiral, 30 January 2008
  2. A neverending story: DoD’s attempts to stop cooking the books, 2 May 2008
  3. Stratfor: “The U.S. Air Force and the Next War”, 13 June 2008
  4. A lesson in war-mongering: “Maritime Strategy in an Age of Blood and Belief”, 8 July 2008
  5. The foundation of America’s empire: our chain of bases around the world, 8 September 2008
  6. No coins, no COIN, 6 October 2008
  7. America’s Defense Meltdown, now avilable for free download, 20 November 2008
  8. “What’s wrong with the US military?”, an interview with Winslow Wheeler, 10 December 2008
  9. The economic Death Spiral of the Pentagon, 7 February 2009
  10. Troops without proper equipment in 2004, troops without proper equipment in 2009 – where’s the outrage?, 20 May 2009

1 thought on ““Shock and Audit” – MoJo dissects the defense budget so you don’t have to”

  1. Asides from a few semantic errors in Pentagon Acquisition-speak, this article brings up the right questions. I’m not sure what are the answers which Morris is seeking, apparently just below the surface of the cess pool. She seems to avoid some of the causes which are obvious to anybody who works for DoD. First, DoD spends the money which Congress authorizes, and not a cent more. So, all those nasty overruns are completely authorized by our legislators and signed off by our political executive leaders.

    Which brings up another point: one congressman’s earmark is another congressman’s pork, and to date nobody has got elected by taking away their own district’s pork. The really big programs are just earmarks on a massive, collegial sort. So any injunction of a “Military-Industrial Complex” must by definition include those who sent those guys to DC to do the nation’s business: the voters.

    Finally, there are the simple logistical issues involved in fighting world wars on a semi continuous basis over decades. The headline whine about buying stuff that doesn’t work avoids the issue of how the program requirements were derived in the first instance. Perhaps they might have worked in XX, but now don’t work in YY. Sort of like how the Brits sent the Aussies to garrison Singapore in new desert uniforms in 1942. But deeper is the logistical fact that DoD cannot account for its funds spent and expenses. The Italians invented double entry accrual bookkeeping in the late Renaissance, but DoD is stuck with a financial management system that is similar to the Roman Legions’. Such nuts and bolts issues will overwhelm any likely Morris recommendation at the to-be-published end of this series.
    Fabius Maximus replies: The CDI site, mentioned in the post, has a great deal of evidence supporting these comments!

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