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April 21, 2009

Great Moments In Pork: Military Earmarks

Sure, you could conduct defense policy by identifying needs based on a rigorous assessment of potential future missions and in so doing determine the equipment, personnel, and training required to achieve specific goals followed by carefully integrated proposals that best maximize the employment of limited resources so as to permit the military to efficiently execute its duties to protect and defend the country.


You could just have random members of Congress insert defense appropriation requests in the federal budget intended primarily to benefit companies in their congressional districts and curry favor with local constituents.

And so, courtesy of Taxpayers for Common Sense, and their work collecting links (Excel file) to all congressional earmark requests for fiscal 2010, we take a close look at just what our Representatives are doing to ensure our safety and keep our nation secure:

Congressman John Adler of New Jersey:

$30 million for Lockheed Martin for improvements that “will provide robust air and missile defense enhancements for more complex threats. This program will initiate and accelerate improvements to the Aegis BMD radar, which plays a highly relevant role in protecting the US from enemy ballistic missile threats. “

This is absolutely essential to our national security as Lockheed’s Aegis BMD radar plays a crucial role in employing 2,300 people from Adler’s 3rd District in New Jersey.

Either that, or Cherry Hill faces a heretofore unknown threat from ballistic missiles. Possibly from Camden.

Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri:

$9 million for Crosslink, Inc. for High Power Electrolytic Super-Capacitors Based On Conducting Polymers. “This critical technology needs to be developed and manufactured by US-based companies in order to maintain the strategic capability for this application and to be further deployed in future defense systems and energy weapons.”

There are two good things about this:

  1. There is no one else better qualified to make judgments regarding sophisticated directed energy weapons systems than a congressman who got a degree in management engineering 38 years ago.
  2. Hey, it’s a freaking ray gun!

Congressman Rodney Alexander of Louisiana: (PDF file)

$11.8 million for a Synthetic Flight Training Simulator for the UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter for the Louisiana National Guard.

But for Congressman Rodney Alexander's input, it is quite possible that no one realized the pressing need for a Synthetic Flight Training Simulator for the UN-72A Light Utility Helicopter, never mind the national security imperatives that it be located in Congressman Alexander’s 5th Congressional District.

Congressman Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania:

$1 million for Acutronic USA, Inc. Funding would be used to develop a composite structure Hardware-in-the-Loop guided weapons system flight motion simulator.

If we are ever attacked by squadrons of enemy simulators, we are going to be ready if Congressmen Alexander and Altmire have any say about it, that’s for sure.

Congressman Robert Andrews of New Jersery:

$3,586,675.90 for Absecon Mills, maker of Aramid fiber, one of the high performance fibers which are widely used in protective application. It is used in the manufacturing of soft body armor, as well armor protection such as ballistic helmets and ballistic armor laminate (panels), which represents a large sector of fiber consumption.

Not to mention Absecon Mills’ wide selection of decorator patterns for all your wall covering needs, ballistic or otherwise.  We’re not sure why the amount of the request is so exact but we expect it might have had to do with color choice.

Congressman Michael Arcuri of New York:

$5.4 million for M24 Sniper Weapons System Upgrade. "Funds will be used to upgrade the M24 Sniper Weapons System to meet the current and future needs of the Army. Local Company that will compete for funds: Remington Arms Company, Inc."

You see, this isn’t just some porky earmark meant to benefit a single company in a Congressman’s district.  No, this is an essential upgrade needed for the M24 Sniper Weapons System that Remington will have to compete for, just like any other company. 

Well, any other company that happens to already make the M24. But other than that, it’s pretty much a wide open bid.

If you’re like us, you’re probably saying to yourself, “I wonder if that M24 comes with a ray gun option, because that would be pretty sweet.”

Also, “That wasn’t so bad, only a handful of Congressmen making specific requests.  It could be a lot worse.”

Of course, we only got through the “As.”

There are over 400 more Representatives to go...


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April 21, 2009 at 06:55 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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