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Off-the-shelf-robots?
March 9, 2005 1:41 AM   Subscribe

$127 Billion Army Modernization Project Sidesteps Oversight. A nice story about how a system designed to streamline simple and small commercial purchases is being used to avoid congressional oversight while spending $127 Billion USD in taxpayer funds.
posted by fixedgear (13 comments total)

 
The simplified acquisition procedures were designed to streamline the purchase of easily available commercial items. It didn't make sense to spend $500 in acquisition costs to procure a $500 item through the normal competitive biding procedures. It works great for commodity items like PCs that are mostly fungible. It really wasn't intended for use on a project like this, where it is being used to escape scrutiny.
posted by fixedgear at 1:45 AM on March 9, 2005


fungible
&tab;adj : of goods or commodities; freely exchangeable for or replaceable by another of like nature or kind in the satisfaction of an obligation
&tab;n : a commodity that is freely interchangeable with another in satisfying an obligation


Ooh - I've learned a new word; the day has not been wasted! (I thought that I was really good at English; now I wonder how many other useful words I don't know...)

Back On Topic: Am I right in my understanding that they're using a regulation/guideline to minimise paperwork when buying small, cheap-ish, off-the-sheld items to buy something that costs 127 Billion USD??

Since when has anything on a shelf been worth that much money?? *BIG* shelf! :-)
posted by Chunder at 4:02 AM on March 9, 2005


I thought it meant "edible by mushrooms"
posted by NinjaPirate at 4:17 AM on March 9, 2005


I guess the question at this point is why even try to sidestep congressional oversight? Who's been accountable for anything in this administration?

Interesting article though. Like to read more on this...
posted by j.p. Hung at 4:19 AM on March 9, 2005


Fungible is a great word. It was used in an episode of Boston Legal, which is a great show. "Everyone is fungible." (Although I guess that could have been the 'edible by mushrooms' sense.)
posted by blacklite at 4:45 AM on March 9, 2005


$127 billion sure would pay for a whole lot of kindergarten. But then, as blacklite points out, "everyone is fungible" so little people are not so important to defense contractor corporations.
posted by nofundy at 5:44 AM on March 9, 2005


I suppose that the Pentagon will soon start getting known as the ultimate Beltway money pit.

Also, what j.p. Hung said. The hearing presented in the article must be about the first time in four years that Congress asks the DoD for some accounting...
posted by clevershark at 6:44 AM on March 9, 2005


Don't concentrate on the dollar amount it's the miss use of the program that is wrong. If the DOD was buying a 2 million pickups or something the simplified procedures might be warranted because it's the kind of thing that anyone could go down to the local Ford/Chevy/Dodge dealer and buy. Joe security company can't go down to the weapons mall and pick up a dozen remote fighting robots in assorted colours.
posted by Mitheral at 7:30 AM on March 9, 2005


I knew that word. I think I've got it around here somewhere.
posted by fungible at 7:55 AM on March 9, 2005


http://del.icio.us/tag/corruption
posted by 31d1 at 8:09 AM on March 9, 2005


God bless Rumsfeld.
posted by bardic at 9:19 AM on March 9, 2005


Hey, they have their own posters! I bet Rummy has one in his bedroom.
posted by blakewest at 9:54 AM on March 9, 2005


The greatest use of the word fungible, by Rumsfeld himself:

Irritated at a question from a reporter about why 20,000 American troops had to stay 90 days longer than expected in Iraq, he said: "Oh, come on. People are fungible. You can have them here or there."
posted by Bort at 7:31 PM on March 9, 2005


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