Thursday, August 07, 2008

You Sank My Battleship!

We at the Egg are no experts on military procurement.  But we are taxpayers, and we do have a passing interest in the way our money is spent.  (Our government spending priorities?  Education, mass transit, and sending diminutive ministers to into space). 

So we are troubled to learn of the Pentgon's latest massive -- what's that quaint word they use in the armed services? Oh, yes -- clusterfuck.  Seems the Navy brass have been lying to Congress for years about their very expensive new battleship, the Zumwalt class DDG-1000.  Specifically, they have been talking about its enhanced "survivability" in combat, even though it cannot defend itself against missiles.

Missiles, we might remind you, are what people often use when they want to blow up a boat and kill a lot of sailors. They've been doing this since World War II, and show no inclination to stop.  They also use torpedoes, which are basically missiles in the water.  And although pretty good in shallow water, this new craft has underpowered sonar, which means it isn't especially good at deep-water antisubmarine warfare.  In other words:  it can't defend itself competently against the two main weapons with which it could expect to be attacked.

For a sharp analysis written for military professional, click the link.  For a more civilian-friendly description, read the Wired takeout.

To its credit, the Navy has canceled this program after the delivery of one ship.  To its lasting shame, the Navy commissioned this floating coffin in the first place.  And to the chagrin of Americans concerned about wasteful military spending (see under:  comfort pods), the Navy paid for all this with our money.

I'd like my Mars trip now, please.

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