Posts Tagged ‘federal budget’

Articles

Good Enough For Government

In Good Enough For Government,Matt on December 31, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Contracts

January 17th will be the 50th anniversary of Eisenhower’s presidential farewell address in which he gave that famous warning about the “military-industrial complex”, that was really more like a caveat than a straight-up beware the Ides of March style foreboding to the American public. It has been portrayed in the more commonly viewed rehashing as the latter, to up the drama. But, really, the drama is either going to be sensed or not by the viewer based on what he/she knows about history, government, and our economy, all the way up to his/her present (the distinction between ‘to know’ and ‘to believe’ is infinitesimal here and not meant to be nailed down) and the attempt at manipulation through emotional cues may work for some things, but would ultimately fizzle out.

Here’s the whole address, plus coverage and commentary from some member of the media…

But if you don’t have time to listen to the whole thing, here’s at least a very available example of the military-industrial complex stuff, with dramatics and all…

Now, the Department of Defense announced Thursday a new roll of contracts that are worth $183,451,599 collectively.

Its divisions (because the military is all about hierarchy and ‘divide and conquer’) unfold as such…

Navy

  1. The Boeing Co., St. Louis, MO-$69,098,221- as a “delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement…for the procurement of integrated logistics support”
  2. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Fort Worth, TX-$22,021,303- as a “modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price…and services in support of H-1 helicopter upgrade program”
  3. The Boeing Co. (again), St. Louis, MO-$14,471,274– as a “modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract”
  4. Mikel, Inc., Fall River, MA-$9,068,671– as a “cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide engineering services to Team Submarine and the PMS 425 program offices”
  5. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, NY-$6,582,920– as a (if you were thrown by the contract-ise above, get ready for this) “modification to a delivery order placed against a previously issued basic ordering agreement…to exercise an option for engineering, technical and sustaining services in support of Taiwan Air Force E-2C aircraft”

Air Force

  1. Teradyne, Inc., North Reading, MA- $28,377,673– “for maintaining the B-1 automatic digital test systems and application development environmental systems” (So far only, $9,617,451 “has been obligated”)
  2. Integrated Data Services, Inc., El Segundo, CA-$10,436,911– “for the Comprehensive Cost and Requirements System, a financial program management software tool which is used by Air Force acquisition and sustainment organizations to accomplish planning and execution of program budgets” (So far, only $4,354,725 “has been obligated”)
  3. General Dynamics Advanced Information System, Minneapolis, MN-$7,832,414– to “provide a research and development program…to develop an open architecture for modular open systems architecture common back end for radio frequency…” The last ellipses covers the phrase “that conforms to interface standards” which implies that the Air Force already has the system referenced above, but that it does not meet “interface standards”; Only $230,000 “has been obligated”
  4. Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions, Santa Maria, CA-$7,189,632- “for four adaptable multi-based land/ocean stabilized antenna systems to replace aging antenna systems”; Only $6,657,099 “has been obligated”

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency– which is, taken from the “About” page on its website, “the research and development office for the U.S. Department of Defense. DARPA’s mission is to maintain technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security. We also create technological surprise for our adversaries.” which engenders more questions but foremost- What is “technological surprise” exactly?

  1.  BAE Systems National Security Solutions, Burlington, MA-$8,372,580- for a “cost plus fixed-fee contract”

It’s not exactly a decisive point to make, to say that you should pay at least cursory attention to military contracts and activity, since it is the largest sector of our government (and that’s to say by a lot: the most at $663.7 billion compared to the second most, which is $76.8 billion in Health and Human Services, according to the budget from 2010)…

…because it really might not be imperative for you to do the work to pay attention. It may even be overall detrimental to your life. And it might not matter one bit in the end if you had paid attention or not. Or rather, furthermore, tried to pay attention, because even if you do, it’s an engrossing complicated endeavor that necessitates certain knowledge that might never even be available to you. This stuff is really hard and there is no guarantee to anyone that he/she will attain the understanding set out for or even anything compensatory to it.

But on the other hand, it’s really no less a waste of time than reading a book, watching a movie or sports, dicking around, or doing a crossword puzzle, the merits of all of which could be argued.

-Matt

PS

The info for the contracts was taken from Veterans Today’s website, linked here  veterenstoday.com’s report on defense contracts where you can find more specifics, such as breakdowns of the locations where the work being paid for will be done.

Articles

Good Enough For Government

In Good Enough For Government,Matt on November 19, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , , ,

This week’s Good Enough is a bit of a departure from the from the established rule of Good Enough For Government (if I have to refer to it again from now on, I will use the acronym GEFG and skip the bold type as well), which is to report on some action made by the federal government over the course of the week. I won’t go too far off to the side with reflexive commentary, but the ultimate goal is to become more and more accustomed to the people in power and terminology that denotes their actions through sustained, habitual forced attention.  Up until today, I think I’ve been pretty faithful to that rule, albeit some tentative ‘do these jeans make me look fat’ tweaking.

Well, this week, GEFG does not come out of any white columned building erected to represent the elegance of Greek democracy, but the NY Times (feel free to extract whatever juxtapositions you will).

On November 13th (which would technically count since it was Saturday, the day after last week’s post), the Times posted an article with a digital budget puzzle (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html) which lays out general areas of the budget that are being scrutinized in current discourse about the deficit among leaders (see the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’s draft proposal [http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/CoChair_Draft.pdf], composed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, which has been prominent in the news lately).

The puzzle isn’t going to suddenly impart you with some magical comprehension of our nation’s finance but it may help with foundation-laying for working knowledge of the federal deficit, in the sense that when we can get farther through an article, panel discussion, or pundit’s diatribe before having to tap out.

The puzzle was accompanied by an article (or visa versa, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/weekinreview/14leonhardt.html?_r=1) titled Ok, You Fix the Budget, whose condescending veneer, what with a White House maze and squiggly-line graphic of spiral notebook-esque doodles ultimately connecting two points dubbed, uber-simplisticly, “deficit” and “surplus”, not to mention the overall impression left by a “deficit puzzle” in itself, is not lost on your writer. But at the risk of looping back inelegantly, I’ll say again, it might be a useful little tool to frame an approach.

Right now, the two rival ruling parties in congress are battling over separate issues linked by the deficit, which is rapidly becoming a political football. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuation Act, which would extend the period that people can apply for federally funded unemployment benefits beyond the current 99 day limit, was voted down today in in the House of Reps. (although it won a majority of votes 258-154. Not competently sure why; just that for some reason it needed a 2/3 majority, or 290 votes) and to avoid getting swamped in equivocation, I’m just going to say it’s the Republican party that has been the most vocal in opposition to such legislation, but if that doesn’t sit well, then you amend it with a corrective comment. (It seems like they have been aggressive too, more so than in the past, and for about year, since Sen. Jim Bunning used the filibuster against a bill that eventually was passed and extended unemployment benefits in late February. This may just be an example of heightened sensitivity from the media in response to fervor around the economic woes throughout the country or it may just stand out more because of the severity of such a stance in a time when unemployment rate is beginning to mimic a divergent series in calculus.) In an article on OpenCongress.org, Donny Shaw, a government blogger, pointed out a contradiction in the rationale of the Republicans who, in crude terms, want to cut unemployment benefits while maintaining the tax cuts from the ‘Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001’ and the ‘Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003’ a.k.a ‘The Bush Tax Cuts’, ‘The Bush Tak Cuts on the Wealthiest 1%’, ‘The Bush Era Tax Cuts’, etc., while beating the deficit drum (http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/2108-Midweek-Unemployment-Extension-Update [although he called it irony rather than contradictory because of, as he anticipates, a possible compromise between the two, which isn’t really solid irony. Just two things that might cancel each other out.]).

-Matt

PS

Sorry about the naked links. WordPress’ hyperlink tool isn’t working today.