Rust Costs Pentagon $23 Billion

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ghost_of_kuji/2763674926/sizes/l/in/photostream/">Flickr/Ghost of Kuji</a>


Yesterday, I explained how the grand debt compromise cuts only $7 billion in real money from the Pentagon’s budget in the next two years—roughly the cost of 3 submarines, or 20 fighter jets, or one-fifth of one KBR contract in Iraq.

Guess what costs more than three times that much per year? Rust! According to Phil Ewing over at DOD Buzz:

Commanders at all levels are more aware than they’ve ever been about the hazards and costs of corrosion, which cost DoD $22.5 billion just in 2009, according to one study. The brass is convening rust conferences, pursuing new materials and technology to help defeat it, and, in the case of the Navy, completely changing its thinking about what it means for ships.

What’s the big reason the brass isn’t doing anything about it? Ewing again:

Traditionally, if you wanted to impress a general, admiral or lawmaker, you didn’t show a presentation about rust. You talked about “transformation,” “disruptive” or “game-changing” technologies, and had big diagrams that showed ships, aircraft, ground vehicles, UAVs, satellites and troops connected by lightning bolts.

What goes for generals…also goes for congressmen. How about it, Buck McKeon? When’s the House Armed Services Committee going to stop caterwauling about its fancy shiny pork products and invest in money-saving Brillo pads?

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.