March 1, 2008  

Budget gilding

TO THE SERVICES AND INDUSTRY, for fueling congressional demands for more by continuing to gild the lily when it comes to equipment purchases. All of the services are guilty of insisting only “the best of the best” will do, whether it’s stealthy airplanes, new-design ships or networked combat systems. More times than not, industry talks up these best-of-best “solutions.” But cutting-edge technology is growing faster than rosy budgeting can accommodate. Best is useless if you can’t afford enough to do the job — good enough is the smarter approach, and it’s time to start thinking smarter on defense spending. That also requires rethinking how all arms of government work together to meet national security priorities.