Thursday, January 13, 2005

Military Money

Kim du Toit has a misplaced rant about military pay. I'm the first comment on the list so you can see my reply. Here is a bit more just for you folks.
When people decry the Pentagon for wasting resources and / or money, this is what they're talking about. But the Brass are too busy persuading Congress for more money to help building their little empires and getting shiny new weapons sytems, because those are the things which Congress can see an immediate ROI: more $$$ gets you another wing of F-22 fighters, built in Congressman X's district.
Do you know how much of the militaries budget is spent on shiny new equipment? Not much. The budget percentages break down something like ~10% new equipment/facilities, ~40% maintaining the old equipment/facilities, and ~40-50% payroll. There is of course some "other." I tried finding the specific number but alas I have lost my copy of the Army greening lecture that contained them.

The Army is just like anything else. Most of their money goes to labor. So the answer to the problem of pay is the same there as in industry. When you are employing several hundred thousand people, a million dollars for a tank gets spread awfully thin. This is just like how cutting a CEOs salary will not stop 10,000 people from having to be laid off.

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