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Post Reply NASA just announced it cant afford to go to Mars.
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Not even a terraforming effort on the scale of Kim Stanley Robinsons "Blue Mars" trilogy would be enough to make Mars anything more that marginally habitable for earth based life.

Theoretically it receives enough solar radiation to support SOME earth based plant life but more fundamental problems such as no planetary magnetic field and a gravitational field to weak to hold on to anything like Earths atmosphere make it a non starter.


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Well, that's not surprising seeing that there are better ways to spend the money. Maybe when things have advanced far enough would they even consider this, but for now they should use the money for other things.
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uncletim wrote:


outontheop wrote:


uncletim wrote:

cut defense spending by 25% for one year and you can fully fund NASA for 20 years


And the department of defense, and contracts executed explicitly for the department of defense have been responsible for far, FAR more technological advancement in the last century than has NASA, so your argument falls apart. Like CDs? Laser technology, thanks DoD! Internet? Evolutionary development from DARPAnet, a DoD funded project for networking nuclear missile launch and airspace defense systems (and conceptually derived from the SAGE computer-controlled airspace defense network). Solid state electronics? DoD programs to develop impact-resistant processors for use on vehicles and missiles. GPS? DoD navigation and precision targeting requirements. Jet engines? Supersonic flight? Organophosphate insecticides? Rocket propulsion? Computers? Thermal imaging? All developments heavily funded by DoD dollars.

But by all means, slash military budgets, because *science*.

You're just pulling your usual "look down your nose while you sneer at the stupid plebs, chastising everyone else while self-aggrandizing how much nobler of spirit and enlightened I am" act.


they are also responsible for $500 hammers and $700 toilet seats and such wonderful money sinks as the Sargent York program and the oh so wonderful F-35 billions over budget years behind schedule and the damn thing still doesn't fully work


Oh, look, it's uncletim with more uninformed, wholly untrue ignorant bullshit again! Predictably delivered, timmy.

Do you ever bother to learn anything about what you're discussing before you spout off? Here, let me take a minute from my busy day to educate you:

The Department of Defense sources items such as hammers and toilet seats from the federal General Services Administration (GSA) standard schedule catalog, just like pretty much all other federal agencies. If you cared at all about truth and intellectual honesty, you would reference the GSA Advantage online catalog, where you can see exactly what the department of defense pays for hammers and toilet seats when a unit purchases them. These purchases are made by a GSA account holder, authorized by the billing official (generally a commander or designated representative), and are sourced from the unit's operating funds.

Here, I'll make it easy for you: https://www.gsaadvantage.gov/advantage/main/start_page.do

Actually, I'll make it REALLY easy for you. Here are government prices for hammers: https://www.gsaadvantage.gov/advantage/s/search.do?q=0:2hammer&q=1:4ADV.TOO.2711.16.02*&searchType=0

And here are toilet seats: https://www.gsaadvantage.gov/advantage/s/search.do?q=0:2toilet+seat&q=1:4ADV.FAC.3018.1512*&searchType=0

Mind you, these are the puchased-by-units-on-individual-basis prices. The prices for items bulk ordered on contract are far cheaper. So, for example, a 20 pound sledgehammer issued as part of the standard BII (basic issue items) for a Stryker combat vehicle's tool set is going to cost the government less than that same sledgehammer will cost when individually purchased on GSA Advantage.

As for the Sergeant York, the program was imminently recoverable. The only real issue was that the radar TR module was located too low on the turret and was picking up interference in the sidelobes. It literally could have been fixed by merely elevating the radar on a pedestal mount several feet above the turret top and moving the mount rearward. As it happens, it WAS working when it was cancelled (the media then, much like today, didn't like to let a good controversy go to waste, and decried all the successful tests-without evidence of such- as faked). However, technology had overtaken it: there was no longer a need for a gun-based ADA system in 1985, with the introduction of the Stinger MANPADS. If the army could put a missile with greater range, lethality and accuracy than any gun system onto the shoulder of any soldier in any formation it wanted, there was no longer a need for the Sergeant York.

The F-35 is perfectly fine as far as budget goes. The per-unit cost is already significantly lower than comparable competitors like the Eurofighter Typhoon (and WAAAAY lower than Dassalt Rafale). The only reason it looks so expensive is because the quoted dollar value is not for per-unit acquisition, it is for LIFETIME ALL-UP OPERATIONAL COST. This means it includes all fuel, maintenance, spare parts, and replacements every aircraft will require for the full lifetime of the aircraft. No other system has HAD it's costs actually estimated that way before. So, yes, when you take the lifetime R&D, purchase, and operating costs combined, and compare them to only the purchase cost of another system, it looks expensive. The per-unit price of F-35 is below $110 million and dropping. Already lower than the competitors.

For those complaining about the "dark" budget, all I can say is: sometimes secrecy is necessary. If you advertise all your emergent technologies, adversaries are just going to develop it themselves first (or develop countermeasures), and there goes any advantage you might have. No, you cannot operate a national defense on a policy of 100% FOIA. Not if you want the nation to survive it's adversaries, at least.

$500 hammers indeed.
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outontheop wrote:


uncletim wrote:


outontheop wrote:


uncletim wrote:

cut defense spending by 25% for one year and you can fully fund NASA for 20 years


And the department of defense, and contracts executed explicitly for the department of defense have been responsible for far, FAR more technological advancement in the last century than has NASA, so your argument falls apart. Like CDs? Laser technology, thanks DoD! Internet? Evolutionary development from DARPAnet, a DoD funded project for networking nuclear missile launch and airspace defense systems (and conceptually derived from the SAGE computer-controlled airspace defense network). Solid state electronics? DoD programs to develop impact-resistant processors for use on vehicles and missiles. GPS? DoD navigation and precision targeting requirements. Jet engines? Supersonic flight? Organophosphate insecticides? Rocket propulsion? Computers? Thermal imaging? All developments heavily funded by DoD dollars.

But by all means, slash military budgets, because *science*.

You're just pulling your usual "look down your nose while you sneer at the stupid plebs, chastising everyone else while self-aggrandizing how much nobler of spirit and enlightened I am" act.


they are also responsible for $500 hammers and $700 toilet seats and such wonderful money sinks as the Sargent York program and the oh so wonderful F-35 billions over budget years behind schedule and the damn thing still doesn't fully work


Oh, look, it's uncletim with more uninformed, wholly untrue ignorant bullshit again! Predictably delivered, timmy.

Do you ever bother to learn anything about what you're discussing before you spout off? Here, let me take a minute from my busy day to educate you:

The Department of Defense sources items such as hammers and toilet seats from the federal General Services Administration (GSA) standard schedule catalog, just like pretty much all other federal agencies. If you cared at all about truth and intellectual honesty, you would reference the GSA Advantage online catalog, where you can see exactly what the department of defense pays for hammers and toilet seats when a unit purchases them. These purchases are made by a GSA account holder, authorized by the billing official (generally a commander or designated representative), and are sourced from the unit's operating funds.

Here, I'll make it easy for you: https://www.gsaadvantage.gov/advantage/main/start_page.do

Actually, I'll make it REALLY easy for you. Here are government prices for hammers: https://www.gsaadvantage.gov/advantage/s/search.do?q=0:2hammer&q=1:4ADV.TOO.2711.16.02*&searchType=0

And here are toilet seats: https://www.gsaadvantage.gov/advantage/s/search.do?q=0:2toilet+seat&q=1:4ADV.FAC.3018.1512*&searchType=0

Mind you, these are the puchased-by-units-on-individual-basis prices. The prices for items bulk ordered on contract are far cheaper. So, for example, a 20 pound sledgehammer issued as part of the standard BII (basic issue items) for a Stryker combat vehicle's tool set is going to cost the government less than that same sledgehammer will cost when individually purchased on GSA Advantage.

As for the Sergeant York, the program was imminently recoverable. The only real issue was that the radar TR module was located too low on the turret and was picking up interference in the sidelobes. It literally could have been fixed by merely elevating the radar on a pedestal mount several feet above the turret top and moving the mount rearward. As it happens, it WAS working when it was cancelled (the media then, much like today, didn't like to let a good controversy go to waste, and decried all the successful tests-without evidence of such- as faked). However, technology had overtaken it: there was no longer a need for a gun-based ADA system in 1985, with the introduction of the Stinger MANPADS. If the army could put a missile with greater range, lethality and accuracy than any gun system onto the shoulder of any soldier in any formation it wanted, there was no longer a need for the Sergeant York.

The F-35 is perfectly fine as far as budget goes. The per-unit cost is already significantly lower than comparable competitors like the Eurofighter Typhoon (and WAAAAY lower than Dassalt Rafale). The only reason it looks so expensive is because the quoted dollar value is not for per-unit acquisition, it is for LIFETIME ALL-UP OPERATIONAL COST. This means it includes all fuel, maintenance, spare parts, and replacements every aircraft will require for the full lifetime of the aircraft. No other system has HAD it's costs actually estimated that way before. So, yes, when you take the lifetime R&D, purchase, and operating costs combined, and compare them to only the purchase cost of another system, it looks expensive. The per-unit price of F-35 is below $110 million and dropping. Already lower than the competitors.

For those complaining about the "dark" budget, all I can say is: sometimes secrecy is necessary. If you advertise all your emergent technologies, adversaries are just going to develop it themselves first (or develop countermeasures), and there goes any advantage you might have. No, you cannot operate a national defense on a policy of 100% FOIA. Not if you want the nation to survive it's adversaries, at least.

$500 hammers indeed.


and if you believe all that I got this lovely bridge for sale

I am sure a sharp guy like you can see the value in it

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Posted 7/19/17 , edited 7/19/17

uncletim wrote:


and if you believe all that I got this lovely bridge for sale

I am sure a sharp guy like you can see the value in it



Oh, cute, a dismissive meme that adds nothing of substance to the argument. You *are* aware that's not actually a refutation, right?

But I suppose you cannot summon up an actual compelling argument, nor support your ideological worldview with actual facts or evidence. That's coo', bruh. We can't all be so sharp.
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outontheop wrote:


uncletim wrote:


and if you believe all that I got this lovely bridge for sale

I am sure a sharp guy like you can see the value in it



Oh, cute, a dismissive meme that adds nothing of substance to the argument. You *are* aware that's not actually a refutation, right?

But I suppose you cannot summon up an actual compelling argument, nor support your ideological worldview with actual facts or evidence. That's coo', bruh. We can't all be so sharp.


Wow you sure put me in my place

But

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2011/12/19/how-to-waste-100-billion-weapons-that-didnt-work-out/#d1715611cb53

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Posted 7/19/17 , edited 7/19/17

uncletim wrote:


outontheop wrote:


uncletim wrote:


and if you believe all that I got this lovely bridge for sale

I am sure a sharp guy like you can see the value in it



Oh, cute, a dismissive meme that adds nothing of substance to the argument. You *are* aware that's not actually a refutation, right?

But I suppose you cannot summon up an actual compelling argument, nor support your ideological worldview with actual facts or evidence. That's coo', bruh. We can't all be so sharp.


Wow you sure put me in my place

But

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2011/12/19/how-to-waste-100-billion-weapons-that-didnt-work-out/#d1715611cb53



Your article merely states that expensive weapons development programs were cancelled. No shit, Sherlock. That does not imply malfeasance or incompetence in the Department of Defense, nor that the programs were useless, as many cancelled systems lead to upgrades on extant systems, or technological lead-in to successor systems. Crusader, for example, led to better battery self-location and self-aiming systems for the A6 and A7 Paladin upgrades, as well as the development of ballistically superior base bleed projectiles. The Navy railgun program, even though it has not been fielded yet, has also resulted in ballistically superior projos that extend the range of the existing M109A6/A7 SIGNIFICANTLY beyond what it could previously manage.

Worth noting: CONGRESS killed most of those programs, even though the program systems were working as intended. Commanche worked fine. Crusader worked fine. The only reason the DoD acquiesced to the cancellations was because the threat changed with the fall of the Soviet Union and a pivot toward regional stability missions and counterinsurgency. That doesn't mean the program was mismanaged, it means history marches on.

Your pathetic Forbes article unilaterally lays the blame solely on the doorstep of the Department of Defense, despite the fact that it was not the Department of Defense, nor failure to meet intended project goals, that caused the cancellations, but rather congresscritters looking to appeal to their constituency through claiming that they are "fiscally responsible". So fiscally responsible that they deliberately throw away perfectly good, ready-for-primetime programs, leaving the military with obsolete and worn out equipment that actually costs more to overhaul and keep operational long past their intended service date than it would have costed to simply allow the programs to come to fruition. Congress has a longstanding tradition of being penny wise and pound foolish; they cut programs so they can claim they are "saving taxpayer dollars" in order to pander to voter sensibilities, but in the long run the cuts cost more to fix than if they had never cut it in the first place. The closure of the F-22 assembly line in particular was a massive boondoggle wrought solely by congress: had they allowed the line to stay open, they could have simply continued building F-22 and skipped the F-35 development cycle entirely, thereby requiring only production dollars instead of a new R&D program, training program, and logistical support program.

That article is big on claims, and short on facts and background. But then, facts never did seem to matter to you.
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Posted 7/19/17 , edited 7/19/17

uncletim wrote:


outontheop wrote:


uncletim wrote:


and if you believe all that I got this lovely bridge for sale

I am sure a sharp guy like you can see the value in it



Oh, cute, a dismissive meme that adds nothing of substance to the argument. You *are* aware that's not actually a refutation, right?

But I suppose you cannot summon up an actual compelling argument, nor support your ideological worldview with actual facts or evidence. That's coo', bruh. We can't all be so sharp.


Wow you sure put me in my place

But

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2011/12/19/how-to-waste-100-billion-weapons-that-didnt-work-out/#d1715611cb53



Oh, and you're shifting goalposts. You have gone from "the DoD wastes money on overpriced hammers" and "military spending is wasteful and would produce more tangible results if reallocated to NASA", which I have proven false, to "look, programs were cancelled", which does not actually prove your original assertion. You asserted that we could take money from DoD and get better results from NASA because DoD was wasting it anyway, and YOU. ARE. WRONG.

Further, you have not refuted a single point I have made. By all means, try to prove that Sergeant York was not functional at time of cancellation. Please prove that the current F-35 per-unit price is higher than Rafale or Typhoon. Prove that Crusader or Commanche did not work. Prove that the money invested in R&D of cancelled systems did not lead to technological advancement. Plenty of cancelled aircraft led to advancement of the science and better follow-ons. We never fielded the P-67, either, but it was the advent of the blended fuselage concept. We never built the MBT-70, but it was the R&D source of the core technologies implemented in the M1 Abrams. Not wasted dollars.

Oh, and the F-35 controversy is nothing new. It is singularly hilarious that the news media thinks that they have sufficient insight on military requirements and systems to be able to cogently and authoritatively criticize the F-35. I would note that when the F-15 was in development, the news media said pretty much *exactly* the same things about it as they are now about the F-35: too expensive, too complex, too much reliance on technology, doesn't fit traditional concept of "dogfighter", etc... and the F-15 has gone on to score... what is it now? 106 aerial victories to zero losses? My number might be outdated, I think it has scored a few more since. Either way, one of the most successful combat aircraft of all time, but during it's development cycle the media would have had you believe it was a useless turkey, and members of congress were actively attempting to cancel the program. http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2010/August%202010/0810failures.aspx

http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/f-35s-critics-repeat-history-of-trashing-the-next-military-aircraft/

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Posted 7/19/17 , edited 7/19/17
Was curious about the discussion going on about the DoD's spending and found this article which speaks about massive overcharging for commercial parts: http://thehill.com/opinion/opinion/213191-for-pentagon-the-price-isnt-right

This article I believe is based off of this report from the DoD: http://www.dodig.mil/pubs/report_summary.cfm?id=6313


20 of the 32 reports 1 identified that DoD did not receive fair and reasonable prices for spare parts. This occurred because DoD did not perform adequate cost or price analysis when it purchased commercial and noncommercial spare parts. As a result, DoD overspent approximately $154.9 million more than fair and reasonable prices for numerous spare parts. At the time of the reports, DoD potentially spent an additional $282.8 million more than fair and reasonable prices for numerous spare parts based on expected use for future years. In addition, for 18 of the 32 reports, DoD OIG identified additional, nonrecurring problems with spare-parts pricing.


You can actually go through a lot of the DoD's audits and read to see whether they are overspending. Heres some that I found:


The Army did not adequately manage the HL7 contract requirements. Specifically, the Army ordered an average of 39 percent more transportation assets than it needed throughout the life of the HL7 contracts. As a result, the Army wasted $53.6 million throughout the life of the HL7 contracts on services that it did not require.




The AFLCMC contracting officer did not adequately determine fair and reasonable prices for the 11 commercial spare parts that we selected, which were purchased from LM Aero on Lot 7. This occurred because the contracting officer did not obtain sufficient commercial sales data for the commercial parts, in accordance with Federal and Defense acquisition guidance. As a result, the AFLCMC contracting officer may not have purchased the 11 commercial spare parts, valued at $58.8 million, from LM Aero at fair and reasonable prices.3




The DLA Aviation contracting officer did not obtain fair and reasonable prices for 51 of 54 statistically sampled sole-source commercial spare parts procured from the MABS companies.As a result, DLA potentially overpaid MABS companies approximately $8.5 of $17 million paid for 32 sole-source commercial spare parts reviewed. In addition, DLA may overpay as much as $70.5 million on 47 of 51 parts over the remaining term of the contract. When projected across the contract for all 5 years, DLA will overpay approximately $106.8 of $294.9 million



After analyzing our statistical sample, we determined that Naval Air Systems Command overpaid on 207 sole-source spare parts by $2.1 million of the $67.5 million spent. Additionally, Naval Air Systems Command will overpay on the remaining value of $42.6 million for ScanEagle spare parts if contracting officials continue using the current negotiated spare part prices. Naval Air Systems Command may also overpay on future ScanEagle contracts if officials do not substantiate their analysis to determine price reasonableness or quantify the spare‑part requirements.



ACC-APG contracting officials likely paid NIITEK $27 million more than they would have paid for those 13 spare parts if the contract minimum was based on a number of spare parts, instead of a dollar value.
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Posted 7/19/17 , edited 7/19/17

sundin13 wrote:

Was curious about the discussion going on about the DoD's spending and found this article which speaks about massive overcharging for commercial parts: http://thehill.com/opinion/opinion/213191-for-pentagon-the-price-isnt-right

This article I believe is based off of this report from the DoD: http://www.dodig.mil/pubs/report_summary.cfm?id=6313


...anecdotal evidence of the DoD themselves conducting program management oversight audits and making efforts to improve their own efficiency....


Why yes, the military *does* occasionally spend more than it needs to. And that has zero bearing on the fact that the DoD has provided far more return on investment in both the fields of scientific and technological advancement, and in real services provided to the population, than has NASA. I'm curious what the government reports on the cost efficiency of NASA contracts has to say about their fiscal responsibility. Again, this is a shifted goalpost. Root question is not "is the DoD 100% financially optimized?", it is "would the same dollars, if invested into NASA, provide more material and scientific benefit?" No government organization- in fact, no organization anywhere- is exempt from inefficiency. However, anecdotes of DoD paying too much is still not compelling evidence that the money would be *more* productive in NASA spending.

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outontheop wrote:

Why yes, the military *does* occasionally spend more than it needs to. And that has zero bearing on the fact that the DoD has provided far more return on investment in both the fields of scientific and technological advancement, and in real services provided to the population, than has NASA. I'm curious what the government reports on the cost efficiency of NASA contracts has to say about their fiscal responsibility.



I was just stating the facts. Make of them what you will.

EDIT: That said, do you have any literature showing return on investment? I'd be curious to read that.

Side note: Here is my favorite headline:


U.S. Air Force Spent Billions on F117 Engine Sustainment Without Knowing What a Fair Price Was
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Posted 7/19/17 , edited 7/19/17

sundin13 wrote:


outontheop wrote:

Why yes, the military *does* occasionally spend more than it needs to. And that has zero bearing on the fact that the DoD has provided far more return on investment in both the fields of scientific and technological advancement, and in real services provided to the population, than has NASA. I'm curious what the government reports on the cost efficiency of NASA contracts has to say about their fiscal responsibility.



I was just stating the facts. Make of them what you will.

Side note: Here is my favorite headline:


U.S. Air Force Spent Billions on F117 Engine Sustainment Without Knowing What a Fair Price Was


I have a hard time believing there is much substance to that claim. The F117 uses the same engine (GE F404) as does the F/A-18... just without an afterburner accessory system. How exactly is the engine to be "unknown fair price" for *only* the F-117, and not the F-117 *and* F/A-18?

*edit: no, wait, I guess they could be referring to the C-17's engine system
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outontheop wrote:
I have a hard time believing there is much substance to that claim. The F117 uses the same engine (GE F404) as does the F/A-18... just without an afterburner accessory system. How exactly is the engine to be "unknown fair price" for *only* the F-117, and not the F-117 *and* F/A-18?

*edit: no, wait, I guess they could be referring to the C-17's engine system


Here is the report if you want to read it (although most of it is redacted): http://www.dodig.mil/pubs/documents/DODIG-2016-059.pdf

It does seem to say that this has been an issue for a long time.

I didn't post it earlier because it doesn't perform a cost analysis and give actual figures like the quotes I posted earlier, but I think that headline is needlessly over the top for a DoD audit so I found it entertaining.

Also, I edited my last post a bit too late, but I was wondering if you were aware of any literature speaking about return on investment for the DoD (specifically focused on civilian technologies). I would be interested in reading that but I am coming up empty.
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sundin13 wrote:


outontheop wrote:
I have a hard time believing there is much substance to that claim. The F117 uses the same engine (GE F404) as does the F/A-18... just without an afterburner accessory system. How exactly is the engine to be "unknown fair price" for *only* the F-117, and not the F-117 *and* F/A-18?

*edit: no, wait, I guess they could be referring to the C-17's engine system


Here is the report if you want to read it (although most of it is redacted): http://www.dodig.mil/pubs/documents/DODIG-2016-059.pdf

I didn't post it earlier because it doesn't perform a cost analysis and give actual figures like the quotes I posted earlier, but I think that headline is needlessly over the top for a DoD audit so I found it entertaining.

Also, I edited my last post a bit too late, but I was wondering if you were aware of any literature speaking about return on investment for the DoD (specifically focused on civilian technologies). I would be interested in reading that but I am coming up empty.


I haven't seen anyone do a line-item analysis of the benefits from NASA vice those from DoD, no, but a fairly cursory looks indicates that the development programs initiated on behest of the DoD have been far more successful in developing core technologies- and engineering applications of them- than has NASA. If there was a line-item analysis already done, it wouldn't be nearly as fruitful (or fun) to debate the issue.

Can you name any core technologies that resulted from NASA investment? I can think of dozens from DoD. My earlier examples were right off the top of my head. I didn't even include nuclear power, battery (increased energy density improvements) technology , LIDAR, telecommunications/ RF spectrum management/ multiplexer technologies (IE, how your cell phone works), high-temperature and corrosion-resistent alloys (developed largely for high-performance military turbines).... I could go on.

*edit: Ok, so the report on the engine maintenance spending says, basically, that the USAF spent billions on F117 engine maintenance for it's C-17 fleet, and "didn't know if the price was fair". They appear to be making the assertion that "they didn't know if the price was fair" because the USAF didn't do a deliberate cost analysis or get multiple competing bids. Just because there were no competing bids does not mean the price was unfair. Just because there was no deliberate cost analysis recorded does not mean that cost analysis was not conducted or considered- even if it was something so simple as "well, that's about the same as we pay on this other similar contract for a similar service on a similar engine, so it sounds fair to me".

*edit 2: that actually seems a reasonable concept, as the report states:


The F117 engine is the military version of Pratt & Whitney’s commercial PW2000 engine, which is used in Boeing 757 aircraft.


So some USAF appropriations officer may well have just compared the bid to what commercial entities were spending on 757 engine maintenance and said "yep, looks 'bout right". That's not the *approved* contract bid and cost estimate process, but that doesn't mean it was *wrong*. Incredibly lazy and unapproved, yes , but not necessarily wrong.

Also, the headline "SPENDS billions" is not the same as "WASTES billions". So... a billions dollar contract may or may not have been a fair price, and the report draws no conclusions other than that a formal analysis does not appear to be recorded. That's not quite a nothing-burger, but it's certainly only a maybe-burger.
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