Our Broken Procurement System

contracting

I can remember back, even in the “go-go” defense spending days of an administration which proved a matinee cowboy actor could get elected President, when this writer was a Navy Supply Corps officer. In my “beans, bullets, and black oil” portfolio came the responsibility of competitive bidding in procurement from private industry.  By statute, regulation, and policy, we were to shop the marketplace for the best deal for mission effectiveness and value to the American taxpayer.… [Read more]

Beware of elephants bearing ‘gifts’

Boehnerquester

So the Republican-controlled House of Representatives proposed a $982 billion bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year instead of more brinksmanship.  Before we start dancing in the streets, and name a few golf courses and watering holes  after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the devil is again in the details.

As a former Federal agency budget analyst and before that, a military comptroller, we need to look beyond the spin platitudes and delve into the numbers.… [Read more]

The Everything Comes Up Benghazi Addiction

Chuck Hagel

In that all too rare occurrence called “bi-partisanship,” the Obama Administration tried exercising it in its usual form, that of Secretary of Defense. Just when we thought we had found a passable fit in former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), the ugly head of “Party of No” obstructionism for its own sake rears its head. Oh, but don’t call if a filibuster.… [Read more]

A Cabinet that ‘Looks Like America.’

Chuck Hagel

President Obama promised in the 2008 campaign to appoint more women to cabinet positions in his administration. His Cabinet and below, did increase opportunities for women in government, and “look more like America.” In his second term, did he leave that promise behind?  Not so fast, ye buckos.

Embattled longtime Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), might have been short of a dose of Geritol or two when he lambasted the President with a Bronx cheer on the lack of cabinet-level diversity.… [Read more]

Fight The Power…And Everybody Else?

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Why is it that when it comes to fighting, we can always find the money? Soup kitchens, winter heating oil for seniors, Head Start for kids, national public radio (NPR) — all are on the chopping block but  weapons and the military budget is a subject that is damn near untouchable?  Calling it out for being a huge waste is considered unpatriotic by the hawkish among us.… [Read more]