About POGO

Franklin C. Spinney

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Franklin C. Spinney retired from the Defense Department in 2003 after a military/civilian career spanning 33 years.  The latter 26 of those years were as a staff analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. During this period, he appeared as a witness in numerous congressional hearings before the the Budget, Armed Services, and Government Affairs or Reform and Oversight committees of the House and Senate.  He is author of Defense Facts of Life: The Plans/Reality Mismatch (Westview Press 1985).  His op-eds and essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Challenge, Counterpunch, Proceedings of the Naval Institute, and the Marine Corps Gazette, among other places. His sharply critical analysis of the Reagan Defense program landed him on the cover of Time Magazine (7 Mar 1983), based on a hearing at which the senior Pentagon management witness promised all Pentagon budgeting and programming problems were being effectively dealt with.  In 2003, he held an hour long "exit interview" with Bill Moyers on Moyers' PBS show NOW; the basic message was that 20 years later, none of the problems had been addressed, let alone solved.

Why the Toleration of Brilliant Eccentricity Should Be a Metric for Military Vitality

May 8, 2015

It is cliché that the military is a place for unimaginative people who like to follow orders, as well as morally challenged ambitious careerists who view “service” in the military as a ladder to status, fame, and wealth.

A Personal Remembrance: Black Jack Shanahan, VADM (USN Ret.)

October 30, 2013

Jack Shanahan died on 10 September 2013 at the age of 90 after a long and well-lived life. He and I became friends while I was working in the Pentagon in the 1990s. By then, he was long-retired from the Navy, and he was Director of the Center for Defense Information.

When Will the Contractors Contract?

June 14, 2013

Does privatization work as predicted by the neo-liberal ideologues?