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The Army risks wasting as much as $1.8 billion developing a replacement for the M4 carbine that it may not need, according to the Pentagon’s inspector general.

The carbine replacement program is one the Army and Pentagon “may want to re-evaluate,” as the service is “seeking to acquire more rifles during a time when their total force structure will be reduced,” Lynne Halbrooks, principal deputy inspector general, said in a statement provided today to a House committee. The Pentagon plans to reduce Army ground forces to 490,000 by 2017 from about 560,000 in 2011…

The carbine replacement is among programs Halbrooks highlighted as having questionable value in the statement to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform…

The inspector general’s efforts are focused on deficiencies in financial management, acquisition processes, contract management, readiness, information technology security and equipping and training Iraq and Afghan security forces, according to a staff memo prepared for lawmakers.

The Army carbine program is an example of decisions the Pentagon and military services face in culling savings from the projected $27 billion expected to be spent in fiscal 2012 on major acquisition programs…

Halbrooks’s statement summarized areas of potential savings in financial and contract management completed by her agency such as the finding in 2011 of spare parts overpricing by Boeing and Sikorsky Aircraft to support the helicopter maintenance at the Army’s Corpus Christi depot in Texas.

Those overcharges, which were previously disclosed, are cases in which the Army “did not effectively use” existing inventory before buying overpriced parts from the contractors, Halbrooks wrote…

The Pentagon doesn’t manage its purchases up to the standards of, say, Home Depot.

  1. R.R. says:

    The Pentagon doesn’t manage its purchases up to the standards of, say, Home Depot.

    True! But when I hear about the DOD spending ridiculous amounts such as $500 per toilet seat (just the seats) on various submarines or $10,000 per bed mattress in abandoned barracks it does make me wonder just where all that money is REALLY going. Funny how it takes an issue of guns for anyone to take any sort of notice yet still fail to follow the money trail.

    The DOD (Department of Defense) has been spending money like a drunken sailor ever since the American Revolution. Just look at the Valley Forge “incident” and maybe you might see it. The last time the spending was so blatantly ridiculous was during the Civil war where complete regiments went without uniforms despite having paid for them. The only thing that has got better over the years is the DOD’s ability to hide what they are buying and just who’s benefiting from it. (Anyone care to guess how private entities like Blackwater are REALLY funded?)

    “… And my apologies to any drunken sailors since they at least spend their OWN money.”

    • orchidcup says:

      “… And my apologies to any drunken sailors since they at least spend their OWN money.”

      Drunken sailors are spending taxpayer money.

      • Guyver says:

        Drunken sailors are spending taxpayer money.

        By that definition, you should include ALL government employees and contractors / suppliers.

    • Guyver says:

      But when I hear about the DOD spending ridiculous amounts such as $500 per toilet seat (just the seats) on various submarines or $10,000 per bed mattress in abandoned barracks it does make me wonder just where all that money is REALLY going.

      Much of that is due to engineering costs that are required to design or certify that a particular item performs to a particular specification.

      • Guyver says:

        The $10k on bed mattresses, I’m not aware of but it sounds like a contractor exploiting a contract they obtained with the government. I’ve seen entire buildings get built in Orlando at a Naval Training Base where for a time they taught people to be Navy Nukes, but the base was marked for closure. The buildings were still being built due to previously issued contracts.

        In addition, if the DOD does not spend all of the money Congress gives it each year, then the DOD will get less money the following fiscal year.

  2. Guyver says:

    Very disturbing news.

    Global deaths related to drinking sugary beverages (correlative to help those suffering from a Liberal mindset):

    Global gun-related deaths (also correlative for those suffering from Liberalism):

    To save ourselves from needless deaths, we need to outlaw sugary drinks. Afterall, it’s all about the numbers… isn’t it?

  3. Uncle Patso says:

    “The Pentagon doesn’t manage its purchases up to the standards of, say, Home Depot.”

    “The Pentagon’s books can’t be audited.”

    I dispute these assertions. A considerable portion of the cost of acquiring of goods by the government, especially the military, goes to exactly that end. A relative of mine recently retired after spending >20 years in contract oversight. I can tell you that she was a real stickler; she knew the kinds of things companies would do to “enhance their bottom line” and did her best to keep it to a minimum. And there were and are thousands more like her working in a veritable alphabet zoo of agencies, offices, departments, etc., etc., etc.

    Every time some politician makes lots of noise about “cutting the fat” and getting rid of “waste, fraud and abuse,” the most likely effect is to add yet another layer of oversight to the bureaucracy of acquisition. I believe more is spent on unnecessary and duplicated oversight than goes to fraud and abuse.

    • Hyph3n says:

      That’s the truth. One of the reasons that regulatory agencies in the banking industry were not consolidated is that banks could shop around for the agency that would be the kindest to them.

  4. Harry Reems says:

    The M4 should be phased-out in favor of a piston-driven rifle. Gene Stoner’s direct-impingement design created a maintenance nightmare. The 5.56 round has proven to be an inadequate poodle-shooter. However, the gubmint still has huge stockpiles lying around (and is apparently buying more daily). Most economical approach would be to standardize on a proven piston design and ramp-up for domestic manufacture. Forget R&D, buy something off-the-shelf. My recommendation would be the Sig 556, which is an AK47 built to Swiss engineering standards. Some kind of deal could be worked-out with Sig to retrofit existing stockpiles of M4/M16 rifles with upper receivers based on the Sig 516 design, while simultaneously beginning an acquisition program for the Sig 556. The 516 models would be phased-out over time, while using up stockpiles of existing 5.56 ammo and spare parts. Once stockpiles of 5.56 fell below a certain number, say 500 million rounds, we should switch to a more robust caliber. There are hungry ammo manufactures promoting either the 6.8 SPC or the 6.5 Grendel. While these are an improvement over the poodle-shooter, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, just upgrade to the old combloc standard 7.62 x 39 round. I don’t think anyone wants to go back to full-power 7.62 NATO rifles issued to every soldier (although that’s what real riflemen would do). Our military has always suffered from “not invented here” syndrome. Screw the R&D and buy something off-the-shelf that works. In the meantime, optimize what you’ve got until it is used up. If you want to understand how screwed-up the M4/M16 platform really is, read Chapter 7 in C. J. Chivers’ book “The Gun,” titled “The Accidental Rifle.”

    • Anonymous Coward says:

      The 5.56 NATO round was developed and adopted specifically because the various NATO countries (mainly Europe at the time) wanted weapons that could be fired on automatic and still have a chance of hitting the target, not to mention carry more rounds of ammo per soldier. The irony was that they had to do all sorts of engineering to the 5.56 rounds to make them worth bothering firing at an enemy.

      If they drop the 5.56, it almost has to be for a heavier, slower bullet that in the cartridge weighs about the same and has about the same recoil as the 5.56. That may be the way to go. The way things are going, none of the people our soldiers are likely to be firing at will be wearing body armor, so you don’t have to worry about armor piercing beyond what ever they’re hiding behind.

      • Harry Reems says:

        In essence, an intermediate round like the 7.62 x 39 Russian. One of the great ironies in Syria today is that many of the rebel troops are armed with genuine WWII StG44 sturmgewehrs that would fetch upwards of $20,000 each on the US collector’s market. Prvi Partizan is still producing 7.92 x 33mm Kurz to keep these rifles running. Google “Free Syrian Army captures 5000 STG44s”. I would love to know where that stockpile came from.

    • Rick says:

      There’s nothing wrong with the 5.56 round but the M4/M16 is a terrible gun.

      The Russians have abandoned the 7.62×39 and have long since gone to the 5.45×39 round.

      • Harry Reems says:

        Ya, I know the Russians abandoned 7.62 x 39 in favor of 5.45 x 39. Both General Kalashnikov and I think it was a bad idea. “Smaller rounds are great ’cause we can carry more ammo.” There is a classic video clip (which I cannot find at the moment) showing American infantrymen in Hue in 1968 firing at VC positions. They keep their heads down and hold their M16s one-handed above a wall, shooting blind and dumping mags on full auto. (Must’ve seemed like a good idea at the time.) No wonder they need to carry so much ammo! Spray and pray! My point here (and I do have one) is that the smaller cartridges do not have sufficient stopping power as has been demonstrated repeatedly over in the sandbox. Instead of buying more little bitty bullets, the emphasis should be placed on developing trained riflemen capable of delivering accurate, aimed fire with at least intermediate-size cartridges.

  5. noname says:


  6. Supreme Ultrahuman (I see the comment system is still designed for retards.) says:


  7. MikeN says:

    Spend the money to buy individuals a gun.

    The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

    • Harry Reems says:

      +1 MikeN. See Edwin Vieira’s new book “The Sword and Sovereignty” for more on this important topic.