Pentagon Rewarding Defense Firms With Massive Fees Regardless Of Performance...

Washington Post   |  Charles R. Babcock   |  Posted April 16, 2006 10:23 PM

In late February 2004, the Army announced that it was canceling plans to build a radar-evading helicopter called the Comanche, a project that was nearly three years behind schedule and more than $3.5 billion over budget. Those problems, however, didn't stop an Army panel a few weeks later from granting the Boeing Co.-Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. partnership running the program a $33.9 million "award fee" for their work on the helicopter, part of more than $200 million in such fees paid to the partnership over four years.

Award fees are meant in theory to motivate defense contractors with extra money for performance. But a recent Government Accountability Office study found that the fees are often paid regardless of whether a project is on schedule and within its budget.

Instead of encouraging efficiency, the GAO found, award-fee payments have become routine in some major weapons contracts, built into company expectations and paid almost as a matter of course.

Comments ( Page 1 of 3 > » ):

This is called war profiteering and by any other name is also TREASON.

By: SPEAKINGTRUTH2POWER on April 16, 2006 at 10:31pm
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Those repubs sure like to spend the public's money.
And did you notice that the Exxon guy who was given $400 million retirement also got a bush tax cut???
Sleaze does not even come close to describing this administration.....

By: mediamarv on April 16, 2006 at 10:39pm
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the invisible hand of the conservative's unfree-market

Ayn Rand must be spinning in her grave ... GOP politicians and GOP businessemen sixty-nining one another under the guise of "free markets" ....

By: Nano on April 16, 2006 at 10:44pm
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This just proves that the government is subsidizing the military industrial complex regardless of its actions.

Who here can go to work, do nothing, and get a "performance bonus"?


By: Val on April 16, 2006 at 10:52pm
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That can't be the right word.

Rewarding someone... with fees?

By: StatueOfLiberal on April 16, 2006 at 11:06pm
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The great giveaway.

Would someone please remind me, what is the difference between the Bushies and the Russian Oil Oligarchy?

By: Raven on April 16, 2006 at 11:08pm
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Wasn't all the feathers ruffled by Donald Rumsfeld these past five years suppossed to be about more efficient performance based management? Yet another example of GOP incompetent management and cronyism.

By: IntrepidLiberal on April 16, 2006 at 11:14pm
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As a real "art", this trend began with Reagan's "trickle-down economics". Money for "defense" is hard for Congress members not to fund--especially when it is billed as "job-producing". Problem is, it produces little that is useable to society, and defense contracts are temporary, producing only temporary workers. Those who benefit are the few fat-cats at the top and the congressional reps who get the pork in their districts and/or the corporate donations. We all reap the enormous debt the system produces. Thus, taxpayers are paying to provide temporary welfare jobs for other taxpayers, to create billionaire CEOs and companies who increasingly off-shore the work and sell their products/services to other countries--some of them our enemies. Then we get to start the cycle all over again to "defend" ourselves against those with the same technology that we paid for. Americans are a generous people.

By: LeftCoast on April 16, 2006 at 11:15pm
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I am appalled. Only $33.9 million in an award payment?! Times must be getting tough on the budget. They are really clamping down on multi-billion dollar overruns with non-delivery.

And where's Boeing/Silarsky's $20% gratuity? That's rude.....

Why does my ass hurt so bad?

By: CharlesMac on April 16, 2006 at 11:17pm
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This should be the most prominent issue in politics today, but the silence is deafening. Politics in this country has degenerated into the mere re-allocation of wealth. Bush and his Republican cronies in Congress have no allegiance to any ideology, only to the allmighty dollar. Open the public coffers to crooked military contractors and they will repay you with fat campaign contributions and unlimited use of the corporate jet. The most shocking thing is that its all carried out in the open and it's perfectly legal. Lobbying and campaign finance - which are inseparable - need to be radically re-worked so that the complete disregard of the interests of the American public is brought to a screeching halt. Where is the political will for real, meaningful change?

By: libervative on April 16, 2006 at 11:26pm
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I'm sixty-five and totally disillusioned and ashamed of my countrymen. Corruption and greed have come to define us as a people. Not since the Reagan years have we come close to the such depths of depravity. How could we have sunk so low?

Reaganism has corrupted both parties, our economic system and dishonored us as a people. I will vote for democrats in November, but there are few of them worthy of trust and respect. Democracy is a failed system. Our leaders have betrayed us to corporations and the insanely greedy merchants of death. Congress will never reform itself, because we have been unable to reform ourselves. We are all to blame, most of us anyway, due to indifference, apathy and love for the Almighty Dollar.

The Rabid Right's goal was to shrink government down to a size where it could be drowned in a bathtub. They accomplished their goal by looting the national treasury and burying us, our children and grandchildren in debt. Our system of government is a Tear-Down. It cannot be salvaged. We must work outside the system, building new political parties, and new laws to purge corruption.

By: rabblerowzer on April 16, 2006 at 11:30pm
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Agreed, rabblerowzer. The "idealogues" have actually been nothing but snake-oil salesmen, and now they are laughing at our gullibility. Should have added to my earlier post that at least the *people* got something from their government-subsidized WPA. We got nothing from the neocons but debt and destruction.

By: LeftCoast on April 16, 2006 at 11:40pm
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I hear that Cheney's Halliburton stock options are up over three thousand percent!

I could be wrong, but I think this may have something to do with the Pentagon's terrible performance at giving out award-fees for performance.

By: KevinSchmidtSterlingVa on April 16, 2006 at 11:50pm
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Now you see, this is a level #1 barf-bag story. Nobody reads or cares about their government giving them the big "third finger" salute. After all, whatever the Hell it is that the Government passes out, DO NOT question the money or else you WILL be aiding and abetting global terrorists.

By: kgrdem on April 16, 2006 at 11:53pm
Flag: [abusive] : While we are cutting medicare, home heating oil help, and veterans benefits look at who is making out like bandits. Duke Cunningham's friends. Military spending has exploded under Bush, and no one Republican, or Democrat will utter a peep for fear they will be labeled "weak on defense". This is insane. I bust my ass, the government takes my tax money from my paycheck, and hands it off to defense contractors that have not one single check or balance of our system looking over their shoulder. Hear about the TWO TRILLION missing from the pentagon's budget? Two Trillion.... Enough to build the dikes around New Orleans 100 times, and have change left over. This is just the missing money, not the other money poured into their bank accounts, after being raided from the working poor, unemployed (outsouced jobs), veterans, middle class etc. How much of the military budget is PURE PORK? How much is WASTED? 50% 75% We know the money is not going to the troops, the va, or the troops families. There is no money to take care of the 75,000 damaged vets from Iraq. Very few do not suffer in some ways, and when the Depleted Uranium munitions start eating away at their bodies it will not be pretty. Their limbs will be cancerous, and falling off, if they survive.

We were warned about the military industrial complex where "MOST" of our tax money goes. We were warned, and would rather pay 50% of our wages to uncle slimy sam and watch Oprah than take back our government.

I have an idea. Let the people that don't care about our country being looted because they are not interested in politics pay the taxes for the rest of us that care. Just don't ever let a Republican tell you they are cutting taxes. They don't they just defer them to your children, while paying the defense contractors more, and more every year....

By: seattlepatriot on April 17, 2006 at 12:09am
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Remember the $1000 toilet seats?This is just the same old, same old.This is what war is all about.It made our nation great.Without the second world war and the destruction of Europe we would be a two bit concern.Lucky for us we have leaders that can drum up a war in no time.That way we can have lots of live fire exercises with live targets too.Trains the troops and uses up some ammo so we can buy some more and pay double.Rumsfeld still gets paid regardless of his performance.

By: RubalKhali on April 17, 2006 at 12:35am
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I've got another great example of Defense shenanigans. Here is the Mongoose Project:

And here is what happened to this $81 Million dollar snafu, which I personally worked on:

By: SD61 on April 17, 2006 at 12:50am
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The phrase that accurately describes this military/corporate whoredom is CIRCLE JERK.

Glad I could help.

By: MoeLarryAndJesus on April 17, 2006 at 01:07am
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The Neoconservative Republican ass rape of the American middle class marches onward.

By: NeoConDeath on April 17, 2006 at 01:55am
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Why bother, when you've already put all the pressure for performance you need on schoolchildren in the No Child Left Behind Act.

By: dollyllama on April 17, 2006 at 02:07am
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Why do you think we invaded Iraq?

By: sisko on April 17, 2006 at 02:55am
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US military operations are already underway in Iran:

By: NOMOREWARFORISRAEL on April 17, 2006 at 02:56am
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Israel: The Dead Roach in America's Salad:

By: NOMOREWARFORISRAEL on April 17, 2006 at 02:57am
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The Neoconservative Republican ass rape of the American middle class marches onward.
By: NeoConDeath on April 17, 2006 at 01:55am

Neocons turn up heat for Iran attack:

By: NOMOREWARFORISRAEL on April 17, 2006 at 02:59am
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Pro-Israel lobby in U.S. under attack

Intl. Intelligence

WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) -- Two of America's top scholars have published a searing attack on the role and power of Washington's pro-Israel lobby in a British journal, warning that its "decisive" role in fomenting the Iraq war is now being repeated with the threat of action against Iran. And they say that the Lobby is so strong that they doubt their article would be accepted in any U.S.-based publication.

Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, author of "The Tragedy of Great Power Politics" and Professor Stephen Walt of Harvard's Kenney School, and author of "Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy," are leading figures American in academic life.

They claim that the Israel lobby has distorted American policy and operates against American interests, that it has organized the funneling of more than $140 billion dollars to Israel and "has a stranglehold" on the U.S. Congress, and its ability to raise large campaign funds gives its vast influence over Republican and Democratic administrations, while its role in Washington think tanks on the Middle East dominates the policy debate.

And they say that the Lobby works ruthlessly to suppress questioning of its role, to blacken its critics and to crush serious debate about the wisdom of supporting Israel in U.S. public life.

"Silencing skeptics by organizing blacklists and boycotts -- or by suggesting that critics are anti-Semites -- violates the principle of open debate on which democracy depends," Walt and Mearsheimer write.

"The inability of Congress to conduct a genuine debate on these important issues paralyses the entire process of democratic deliberation. Israel's backers should be free to make their case and to challenge those who disagree with them, but efforts to stifle debate by intimidation must be roundly condemned," they add, in the 12,800-word article published in the latest issue of The London Review of Books.

The article focuses strongly on the role of the "neo-conservatives" within the Bush administration in driving the decision to launch the war on Iraq.

"The main driving force behind the war was a small band of neo-conservatives, many with ties to the Likud," Mearsheimer and Walt argue." Given the neo-conservatives' devotion to Israel, their obsession with Iraq, and their influence in the Bush administration, it isn't surprising that many Americans suspected that the war was designed to further Israeli interests."

"The neo-conservatives had been determined to topple Saddam even before Bush became president. They caused a stir early in 1998 by publishing two open letters to Clinton, calling for Saddam's removal from power. The signatories, many of whom had close ties to pro-Israel groups like JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) or WINEP (Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy), and who included Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Bernard Lewis, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, had little trouble persuading the Clinton administration to adopt the general goal of ousting Saddam. But they were unable to sell a war to achieve that objective. They were no more able to generate enthusiasm for invading Iraq in the early months of the Bush administration. They needed help to achieve their aim. That help arrived with 9/11. Specifically, the events of that day led Bush and Cheney to reverse course and become strong proponents of a preventive war," Walt and Mearsheimer write.

The article, which is already stirring furious debate in U.S. academic and intellectual circles, also explores the historical role of the Lobby.

"For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centerpiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel," the article says.

"The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread 'democracy' throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized not only U.S. security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the U.S. been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state?" Professors Walt and Mearsheimer add.

"The thrust of U.S. policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the 'Israel Lobby'. Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. interests and those of the other country - in this case, Israel -- are essentially identical," they add.

They argue that far from being a strategic asset to the United States, Israel "is becoming a strategic burden" and "does not behave like a loyal ally." They also suggest that Israel is also now "a liability in the war on terror and the broader effort to deal with rogue states.

"Saying that Israel and the U.S. are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: the US has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around," they add. "Support for Israel is not the only source of anti-American terrorism, but it is an important one, and it makes winning the war on terror more difficult. There is no question that many al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are motivated by Israel's presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians. Unconditional support for Israel makes it easier for extremists to rally popular support and to attract recruits."

They question the argument that Israel deserves support as the only democracy in the Middle East, claiming that "some aspects of Israeli democracy are at odds with core American values. Unlike the US, where people are supposed to enjoy equal rights irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity, Israel was explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship. Given this, it is not surprising that its 1.3 million Arabs are treated as second-class citizens."

The most powerful force in the Lobby is AIPAC, the American-Israel Public affairs Committee, which Walt and Mearsheimer call "a de facto agent for a foreign government," and which they say has now forged an important alliance with evangelical Christian groups.

The bulk of the article is a detailed analysis of the way they claim the Lobby managed to change the Bush administration's policy from "halting Israel's expansionist policies in the Occupied Territories and advocating the creation of a Palestinian state" and divert it to the war on Iraq instead. They write "Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical."

"Thanks to the lobby, the United States has become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the Occupied Territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians," and conclude that "Israel itself would probably be better off if the Lobby were less powerful and U.S. policy more even-handed."

The above UPI article is posted at the following URL about how the pro-Israel lobby is pushing US to attack Iran like it did with Iraq with even more Americans to die and get horribly wounded in the process:

By: NOMOREWARFORISRAEL on April 17, 2006 at 03:01am
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