Defense contractors gleefully report record earnings in divisions that bid on "classified" projects, the fastest-growing part of the Pentagon's budget

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Sadly, on the flip-side, the Senate Armed Services Committee is chaired by Senator Snowball (Jim Inhofe), who thinks it’s just fine to tuck personal benefit items into the pork barrel.


And yet their employees end up tightening belts with more limited healthcare plans and slashed benefits. Not that you really need to sympathize with them because they still make good money. Basically unions need to start breaking into that business.


Union Rep, “So what’s on offer for this year’s pay negotiations?”

Lockheed Manager, “That’s classified.”


The greatest threats to life and liberty are climate change, and racist extremism.

Defense contractors: We need $1B for a hypersonic railgun that we will sell to the Saudis

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I realise this is a beyond-futile point to make, but in a free society, no secret military capital spending is justifiable, if you think about it. What could a democratic country’s military even theoretically be doing that its people aren’t allowed to know about?

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Secret military technology is kind of pointless if it isn’t a secret. But for a couple of examples, ship movements, defense plans for allied countries, and assessments on foreign militaries.

I did say capital spending, as opposed to operational expenses ("$5 million for the surprise drone attack next Tuesday at 0700"). If the public know you’re bombing Luxembourg, and there’s a $10 billion item for “Luxembourg bombing expenses”, that’s probably enough information for voters to make an informed decision.

But if there’s a $10 billion item for “none of your business”, that makes the idea of accountability into a joke. If an organisation has funding on that scale and you don’t know what it’s for at all, then you simply do not know what that organisation is doing. Mass embezzlement? Secret preparations to invade Canada? Illegal space weapons? Maybe it’s none of those things, but in any case, you don’t get a say in it.

Yes, a secret budget means (perhaps) that enemies also don’t know what you’re doing. That is indeed one of the minor advantages that tyrannical governments have over democratic ones. But even then, if the aim is to have less conflict, there is little point tricking enemies into underestimating your capabilities.

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Even capital spending (e.g., spending on a satellite that can do X, Y, and Z, or a drone equipment that can blahblahblah) can give away capabilities or allow one to reach a solid conclusion about your current capabilities or new technology you’re looking into.

Arguably the only way to have accountability over this is to have a legislative body that isn’t captured by defense contractor donations but we need some hefty change in SCOTUS and the Senate before we can do that.

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