Taking Bob Gates Unseriously

Ah, the difference a day makes.

April 9, 2009
Contractors Reach Deal on Destroyer

Two military contractors, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman, agreed on Wednesday to a Pentagon deal that will clear the way for all three of the Navy’s multibillion-dollar stealth destroyers to be built at G.D.’s shipyard in Maine, Pentagon and industry officials said.

Northrop Grumman, which had expected to build one of the DDG-1000 destroyers at its shipyard in Mississippi, will contribute major components for each of the vessels. It will also receive contracts for two other destroyers as the Navy restarts production of an earlier model.

Stock analysts said the deal, pushed by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, appeared to be a winning proposition for both contractors.

“Mr. Gates delivered a gift to the shipbuilders,” said Loren B. Thompson, a military consultant and the chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, a research group.

Military officials said the precise financial arrangements still needed to be worked out.

Pentagon officials had estimated that the first of the new destroyers, also known as the Zumwalt class, would cost $3.3 billion, with additional ships costing at least $2.5 billion each if the Navy had built the 10 that were originally planned.

But given Mr. Gates’s decision to limit the program to three ships, independent analysts said, various economies of scale would be lost, and the average cost could rise to $5 billion or more.

Still, in proposing a range of cuts in arms programs on Monday, Mr. Gates said he would build only one of the destroyers if General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman would not agree to have all three built at Bath Iron Works in Maine.

–read entire article–

Yesterday we had the gunfight at the OK Corral between Defense Secretary Bob Gates and the evildoers of that ornery old military-industrial complex. But life is complex and yesterday’s news is yesterday’s news.

“Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics’ DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer with Raytheon electronics? Gates sunk their battleship.”

Well, maybe not. But Deadeye Bob shot out of the saddle in a mere day? Who knew these guys at General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman were that quick on the draw? I guess Eisenhower knew a tough bunch when he saw them. He didn’t warn us about new wars in Europe–that he could handle–he warned us about the cannon-builders who have launched, financed and encouraged a good many wars, past and present.

Sorry ’bout that Bob. Gonna be hard to pick yourself up and dust yourself off, but sweet Jesus, get someone to teach you something about timing.

Throwing in the towel is supposed to take more than a day.

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