I enjoyed a recent letter to the editor on last September’s $13.3 billion sole-source contract to Northrop Grumman for the U.S.’s ICBM system, built on the Minuteman system first deployed in 1970. I appreciated the “end is near” narrative in the thoughtful letter.
The $13.3 billion is only a down payment for a program expected to cost well over $85 billion over decades. That’s just the development phase. Can you imagine the business travel, meetings, air miles, hotel points and other perks to flow from this project? Jealous? Party of one.
Boeing dropped out of competition, and other bidders joined Northrop. Chief competitor Aeroject Rocketdyne, and a “who’s who” of profiteers from what President Eisenhower warily called “the Military Industrial Complex,” signed up. Bechtel, General Dynamics, Honeywell, and Lockheed Martin, surely want a piece of what the writer deemed an “apocalyptic horror.”
I’m biased, though. I lost a good job in the U.S. Army when peace broke out after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union disintegrated into many failed states. If I were associated with Northrop, I’d support it as defense spending brings in $30 billion to our state (apart from the $15 billion in contracts to Washington-based firms in the last three years, per our state’s Department of Commerce).
Special thanks to the writer for ringing the alarm bell. I hope more readers will contact their elected officials, and vote in upcoming elections for candidates who share their interests. I wish we would look at another area that piques my interest: Why do we spend so many billions in helping failed states?