Global Hawk (Block 30), one of the more obvious vampires sucking money out of the defense budget, has been disinterred from its coffin by corporate go-fers in Congress. The story of this high cost, low performance drone makes obvious that filibuster abuse and political dogmatism are not the only problems in Congress. Two really excellent pieces of work explain the gruesome details.
Aram Roston at the Defense News series of publications published on July 15 an excellent summary of the issues. Find the article and some useful side box material here. Kudos to the editors at Defense News for allowing their corporate-ad-populated publication to release this excellent example of highly independent journalistic professionalism.
Richard Sia and Alexander Cohen at the Center for Public Integrity released on July 16 their own analysis, also truly excellent, that dives deep into the issues, especially the corruption surrounding Congress' action on Global Hawk/Block 30. Find it, also with important side-material and links, here.
As an aside, I note that the CPI piece briefly cites Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), my representative in Congress last year, who "played a key role in blocking the retirement of Block 30 [Global Hawk]." Bartlett is also quoted in the CPI piece lecturing Members of Congress for putting pork above the national interest. Bartlett somehow forgot to mention that there is a significant Northrop-Grumman facility in his district, just a few miles from my house in Hagerstown, MD. But surely, that had nothing to do with his support for their product. Right.
An embodiment of all that is wrong with institutions like the House Armed Services Committee, where he presided over a major subcommittee, Bartlett was involuntarily retired in the 2012 elections.
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