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(Reason Magazine)   The Pentagon's brownie recipe is 26 pages long - but unlike Obamacare or Operation Iraqi Freedom, when the recipe is implemented you actually will have brownies   (reason.com) divider line
    More: Dumbass, Operation Iraqi Freedom, pot brownies, brownies, Korean War, antioxidants, LBJ, Bosnia and Herzegovina, flour  
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5276 clicks; posted to Politics » on 18 May 2010 at 11:27 AM (10 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



135 Comments     (+0 »)
 
 
2010-05-18 11:19:23 AM  
The object of Obamacare and Operation Iraqi Freedom is to get brownies? Who knew?
 
2010-05-18 11:29:06 AM  
Heckuva job, Brownie!
 
2010-05-18 11:29:09 AM  
Bravo, Subby. Trollerific or genius headline? Fark, you be the judge.

\I vote genius.
 
2010-05-18 11:29:41 AM  
Heckuva job, Brownie.
 
2010-05-18 11:30:33 AM  

Phil the SWO: Bravo, Subby. Trollerific or genius headline? Fark, you be the judge.

\I vote genius.


It got greenlit. I vote trollerific.
 
2010-05-18 11:31:19 AM  
That's because you have to explain things VERY CAREFULLY to the kind of military folks who end up in food service.
 
2010-05-18 11:34:27 AM  

Morchella: The object of Obamacare and Operation Iraqi Freedom is to get brownies? Who knew?


This just shows how poor the Obama administration is at pushing for and selling their own policies.

Imagine how much better the healthcare debate would have been had we known that brownies were on the table.
 
2010-05-18 11:35:59 AM  
Brown guy!
 
2010-05-18 11:36:38 AM  
Oh god, the PDF is fantastic.

Literally 26 pages long, detailing how to make brownies and oatmeal cookies. Twenty-six pages long. Got to love Army Efficiency.
 
2010-05-18 11:36:39 AM  
it's unfortunate that business is so concerned with bottom line profits instead of pride of work that they would fark up brownie making if it wasn't for a document that explained in 26 page detail how it must be done to conform to specification.

go ahead, remove any page and give a contract to any business for 1 million brownies -- see how it comes out.
 
2010-05-18 11:38:30 AM  

Rincewind53: Oh god, the PDF is fantastic.

Literally 26 pages long, detailing how to make brownies and oatmeal cookies. Twenty-six pages long. Got to love Army Efficiency.


MIL spec is not "army efficiency" -- it is a set of standards used to meter whether a project is complete.

Go ahead and spend 2 billion on an airplane with out it -- see what happens.
 
2010-05-18 11:41:15 AM  
The brownies are a lie.
 
2010-05-18 11:41:33 AM  
Jesus. These farking headlines...
 
2010-05-18 11:42:34 AM  
The Weeners immediately derails the discussion into an argument over whether progressives like the Pentagon or not.

It's like I'm really reading Fark!
 
2010-05-18 11:42:34 AM  
As mentioned in TFA's comments, the 26 page recipe is to make sure that the mega-brownie making company and all its subsidiaries make brownies that are consistantly similar to all the other brownies. Nestle's and any other food manufacturer probably have similarly large recipe descriptions for the foods they make, too.
 
2010-05-18 11:42:58 AM  

Abner Doon: Morchella:
Imagine how much better the healthcare debate would have been had we known that brownies were on the table.


You say that until the question of nuts or no nuts comes up. Then about what kind of nuts.
 
2010-05-18 11:43:16 AM  

Jackson Herring: Jesus. These farking headlines...


do you challenge the accuracy of the headline?
 
2010-05-18 11:44:12 AM  

Morchella: The object of Obamacare and Operation Iraqi Freedom is to get brownies? Who knew?


Maybe the hash kind?
 
2010-05-18 11:44:39 AM  
The Pentagon's brownie recipe is 26 pages long wastes 1 Trillion a year on protecting america from the boogeyman.


keep 'em scared of idiots running around with underwear bombs and that Trillion/year keeps coming in.

god they love freedom!
 
2010-05-18 11:45:31 AM  
Who cares...we can still put a JDAM through a window from 22,000ft
 
2010-05-18 11:45:33 AM  
I guess subby has never had to write specs for contractor bids before.

Hint: It isn't progressivism that causes contractors to look for loopholes, thus forcing spec writers to have to resort to exhaustive detail to protect the legitimacy of the bid--it's the profit motive.
 
2010-05-18 11:46:57 AM  
I oppose this brownie recipe. Section 3 paragraph 2 clearly describes an extra layer of government bureaucracy that sits between me and my empty calories. No brownie death panels N0bama!
 
2010-05-18 11:47:51 AM  
Is that what you call a no-bid recipe?
 
2010-05-18 11:49:05 AM  
Obfuscation is also a handy tool to keep americans confused so that Trillion dollars a year of free tax money continues to be poured into the Pentagon so they can continue to play their war games and continue to keep americans scared of the boogeyman.


telephone companies do the same thing with your phone bill. even those who work for telcos can't decipher the bills.


ain't freedom great!
 
2010-05-18 11:49:28 AM  

thomps: Jackson Herring: Jesus. These farking headlines...

do you challenge the accuracy of the headline?


You mean Obama isn't your primary care physician now? This is what happens when you don't read the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy Metting minutes.
 
2010-05-18 11:50:11 AM  

Jackson Herring: thomps: Jackson Herring: Jesus. These farking headlines...

do you challenge the accuracy of the headline?

You mean Obama isn't your primary care physician now? This is what happens when you don't read the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy Metting minutes.


i'm just saying that there is no way that obamacare or operation iraqi freedom is going to end with me getting brownies.
 
2010-05-18 11:52:34 AM  
Whenever you see an analogy that panders to generic idiots, expect it to be disingenuous.
 
2010-05-18 11:54:26 AM  

cram_hole: The brownies are a lie.


I think you're refering to the CIA's yellowcake recipie.
 
2010-05-18 11:56:38 AM  
Bush would have withheld the brownies indefinitely.
 
2010-05-18 11:56:55 AM  

thomps: i'm just saying that there is no way that obamacare or operation iraqi freedom is going to end with me getting brownies.


I groaned with dismay audibly.
 
hej
2010-05-18 11:57:34 AM  
A+ subline, heady.
 
2010-05-18 11:57:37 AM  
I haven't seen a headline so poorly constructed since Caught Sayof School.
 
2010-05-18 12:00:00 PM  

Bendal: As mentioned in TFA's comments, the 26 page recipe is to make sure that the mega-brownie making company and all its subsidiaries make brownies that are consistantly similar to all the other brownies. Nestle's and any other food manufacturer probably have similarly large recipe descriptions for the foods they make, too.


Hell, Hostess modifies the recipe for twinkies 5 or 6 times a year to make sure that they maintain consistency despite seasonal changes in climate.
 
2010-05-18 12:03:30 PM  

Rincewind53: Oh god, the PDF is fantastic.

Literally 26 pages long, detailing how to make brownies and oatmeal cookies. Twenty-six pages long. Got to love Army Efficiency.


Welcome to milspec hell

It'd be easy to blame the military-bureaucracy complex for it, but the truth is it really lie in the underhanded business ethics of war-profiteers excuse me, defense contractors going back to at least the civil war. Because fo them, you can't simply let out a contract for "blankets" or some scummy merchant will underbid the contract, deliver a bunch of blankets thinner than cotton sheets and say well it's what I call a blanket so pay me"

Thus before you can ask a contractor for Blankets you have to define minimum standards: So many inches long, so many wide, so many thick, made out of these kinds of material only, in these colors, to meet this elvel of flame retardency, durability, etc etc

ergo Milspec
 
2010-05-18 12:04:04 PM  
sounds like a crack dealer trying to hook a client.
 
2010-05-18 12:05:54 PM  

IrateShadow: Hell, Hostess modifies the recipe for twinkies


I didn't know Hell was involved in making Twinkies. Explains a few things.

/now I want a twinkie and a brownie
 
2010-05-18 12:06:06 PM  

keithgabryelski: it's unfortunate that business is so concerned with bottom line profits instead of pride of work that they would fark up brownie making if it wasn't for a document that explained in 26 page detail how it must be done to conform to specification.

go ahead, remove any page and give a contract to any business for 1 million brownies -- see how it comes out.


Exactly you really don't want a platoon of grunts with M-4 carbines, an M249 LSW, M67 fragmentation grenades, M224 mortars, and AT4s storming the mess barracks upon returning from a field operation the first chance they get because their brownies were sub-standard.
 
2010-05-18 12:06:37 PM  
Why is the pouch unclean, and why does it have a foreign odor? Anyone else seeing that?

All I know is I don't want any funny-smelling unclean military pouches anywhere near my brownies.
 
2010-05-18 12:06:50 PM  
Ignore that post, it was supposed to be in the monsanto thread.. durrrr
 
2010-05-18 12:07:35 PM  
Jackson Herring: This is what happens when you don't read the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy Metting minutes.

Go Mets!
 
2010-05-18 12:08:49 PM  

Phil Moskowitz: sounds like a crack dealer trying to hook a client.


I knew they hooked new recruits on cigarettes, but I think brownies is one accusation too far.
 
2010-05-18 12:10:28 PM  

Magorn: Welcome to milspec hell

It'd be easy to blame the military-bureaucracy complex for it, but the truth is it really lie in the underhanded business ethics of war-profiteers excuse me, defense contractors going back to at least the civil war. Because fo them, you can't simply let out a contract for "blankets" or some scummy merchant will underbid the contract, deliver a bunch of blankets thinner than cotton sheets and say well it's what I call a blanket so pay me"

Thus before you can ask a contractor for Blankets you have to define minimum standards: So many inches long, so many wide, so many thick, made out of these kinds of material only, in these colors, to meet this elvel of flame retardency, durability, etc etc

ergo Milspec


This.

It'll never occur to the free-market cheerleaders at Reason as to why details specifications like this are so necessary.
 
2010-05-18 12:15:13 PM  
It's interesting that a conservative/self proclaimed libertarian blog would look at a milspec document and conclude the process to be broken because the definition of the project is 26 pages.

You'd think their solution (from the tone) was to remove specifacations altogether and let market forces work out the solution.

It used to be I respected, although I didn't encourage, libertarian ideology because it seemed pure.

I can now see it is pure bullshiat.

Oh, wait: that is exactly the libertarian solution to everything.
 
2010-05-18 12:17:53 PM  

Slaves2Darkness: keithgabryelski: it's unfortunate that business is so concerned with bottom line profits instead of pride of work that they would fark up brownie making if it wasn't for a document that explained in 26 page detail how it must be done to conform to specification.

go ahead, remove any page and give a contract to any business for 1 million brownies -- see how it comes out.

Exactly you really don't want a platoon of grunts with M-4 carbines, an M249 LSW, M67 fragmentation grenades, M224 mortars, and AT4s storming the mess barracks upon returning from a field operation the first chance they get because their brownies were sub-standard.


Or poisoned because the maker used tainted water in the recipe.

/we agree
 
2010-05-18 12:21:45 PM  
Ever read the military's cake recipie?

"1 18.25 ounce package chocolate cake mix.
1 can prepared coconut pecan frosting.
3/4 cup vegetable oil.
4 large eggs.
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.
3/4 cups butter or margarine.
1&2/3 cups granulated sugar.
2 cups all purpose flour.

Don't forget garnishes such as:
Fish shaped crackers.
Fish shaped candies.
Fish shaped solid waste,
Fish shaped dirt.
Fish shaped ethyl benzene.
Pull and peel licorice..
Fish shaped volatile organic compounds and sediment shaped sediment.
Candy coated peanut butter pieces, Shaped like fish.
1 cup lemon juice.

Alpha resins.
Unsaturated polyester resin.
Fiberglass surface resins.
And volatile malted milk impoundments.
9 large egg yolks.
12 medium geosynthetic membranes.
1 cup granulated sugar.

An entry called 'how to kill someone with your bare hands'.

2 cups rhubarb, sliced.
2/3 cups granulated rhubarb.
1 tablespoon all-purpose rhubarb.
1 teaspoon grated orange rhubarb.
3 tablespoons rhubarb, on fire.
1 large rhubarb.
1 cross borehole electro-magnetic imaging rhubarb.
2 tablespoons rhubarb juice.

Adjustable aluminum head positioner.
Slaughter electric needle injector.
Cordless electric needle injector.
Injector needle driver.
Injector needle gun.
Cranial caps.

And it contains proven preservatives, deep penetration agents, and gas and odor control chemicals. That will deodorize and preserve putrid tissue."

I've had it before. The cake is delicious and moist.
 
2010-05-18 12:23:36 PM  
See! The Military is perfectly equipped to throw a bake sale!
 
2010-05-18 12:25:13 PM  
If the best critique you can come up with is how many pages it's been formatted into when reviewing brownies or health-care, it's time to shut your hole.
 
2010-05-18 12:26:07 PM  

Linux_Yes: Obfuscation is also a handy tool to keep americans confused so that Trillion dollars a year of free tax money continues to be poured into the Pentagon so they can continue to play their war games and continue to keep americans scared of the boogeyman.


The Pentagon doesn't even want it all.^

=Smidge=
 
2010-05-18 12:29:39 PM  
To be completely honest I'm amazed at how thorough they are.
If the politicians who send them to do stuff were half as thorough with their plans as the actual military, We'd have been out of Afghanistan in 6 months (and never in Iraq to begin with).
 
2010-05-18 12:31:01 PM  
DONNA
$500 screwdrivers is why you didn't vote for the President?

JACK
I work for the President. That's a lot.

DONNA
It's wasteful spending.

JACK
No, it's not.

DONNA
A $400 ashtray?

(Jack picks up a wrench and smashes an ashtray that's on his desk. It breaks into three large chunks.)

DONNA
What was that?

JACK
A $400 ashtray. It's off the U.S.S. Greenville, a nuclear attack submarine and a likely target for a torpedo. When you get hit with one, you've got enough problems without glass flying into the eyes of the navigator and the Officer of the Deck. This one's built to break into three dull pieces. We lead a slightly different life out there and it costs a little more money.

DONNA
I can't believe you broke a $400 ashtray.

JACK
Yeah, I wish I hadn't done that. It's... 'cause you're blonde.
 
2010-05-18 12:33:12 PM  

carmody: That's because you have to explain things VERY CAREFULLY to the kind of military folks who end up in food service.


Technically, I think the specifications listed are aimed at government contractors, but your concern is still relevant.
 
2010-05-18 12:35:19 PM  
not bad, but if these were nasa brownies, there's be a diagram and drawing of the location of every ingredient
 
2010-05-18 12:36:47 PM  

keithgabryelski: Rincewind53: Oh god, the PDF is fantastic.

Literally 26 pages long, detailing how to make brownies and oatmeal cookies. Twenty-six pages long. Got to love Army Efficiency.

MIL spec is not "army efficiency" -- it is a set of standards used to meter whether a project is complete.

Go ahead and spend 2 billion on an airplane with out it -- see what happens.


I'm working on a project right now that's almost literally the last scenario you described. Someone, years ago, didn't follow the goddam blueprints and now it's my job to figure out who farked up because now the parts don't fit in the damn engines.

Much of it is moot, anyway, because no matter how detailed the instructions, the guys on the line will still do whatever the hell they want because they think they know better. Sometimes they're right, but I've had to un-fix a lot of hack jobs in the past.
 
2010-05-18 12:38:12 PM  
i.imgur.comView Full Size


Stupidest website on the internet.
 
2010-05-18 12:39:26 PM  

Sir Vanderhoot: I'm working on a project right now that's almost literally the last scenario you described. Someone, years ago, didn't follow the goddam blueprints and now it's my job to figure out who farked up because now the parts don't fit in the damn engines.Much of it is moot, anyway, because no matter how detailed the instructions, the guys on the line will still do whatever the hell they want because they think they know better. Sometimes they're right, but I've had to un-fix a lot of hack jobs in the past.


it almost makes you wish you could go grab an old t-square and use it to whack someones head off, doesn't it
 
2010-05-18 12:40:18 PM  

haplo53: DONNA
$500 screwdrivers is why you didn't vote for the President?

JACK
I work for the President. That's a lot.

DONNA
It's wasteful spending.

JACK
No, it's not.

DONNA
A $400 ashtray?

(Jack picks up a wrench and smashes an ashtray that's on his desk. It breaks into three large chunks.)

DONNA
What was that?

JACK
A $400 ashtray. It's off the U.S.S. Greenville, a nuclear attack submarine and a likely target for a torpedo. When you get hit with one, you've got enough problems without glass flying into the eyes of the navigator and the Officer of the Deck. This one's built to break into three dull pieces. We lead a slightly different life out there and it costs a little more money.

DONNA
I can't believe you broke a $400 ashtray.

JACK
Yeah, I wish I hadn't done that. It's... 'cause you're blonde.


god that was a good show.
 
2010-05-18 12:41:59 PM  

haplo53: DONNA
$500 screwdrivers is why you didn't vote for the President?

JACK
I work for the President. That's a lot.

DONNA
It's wasteful spending.

JACK
No, it's not.

DONNA
A $400 ashtray?

(Jack picks up a wrench and smashes an ashtray that's on his desk. It breaks into three large chunks.)

DONNA
What was that?

JACK
A $400 ashtray. It's off the U.S.S. Greenville, a nuclear attack submarine and a likely target for a torpedo. When you get hit with one, you've got enough problems without glass flying into the eyes of the navigator and the Officer of the Deck. This one's built to break into three dull pieces. We lead a slightly different life out there and it costs a little more money.

DONNA
I can't believe you broke a $400 ashtray.

JACK
Yeah, I wish I hadn't done that. It's... 'cause you're blonde.


I love that conversation. Some things are expensive because they're really, really, good. Some things are expensive because you ordered 200, then after production started you cut the order in half and now the R+D costs are distributed across half as many items. Some things are expensive because you have to go through two dozen people to get them fixed or because ordering replacement parts takes years and is incredibly expensive for the factory (make a bunch! Ok, contract is over, stop making them! *5 years later* Ok, now make a bunch more!)
 
2010-05-18 12:42:49 PM  

loonatic112358: Sir Vanderhoot: I'm working on a project right now that's almost literally the last scenario you described. Someone, years ago, didn't follow the goddam blueprints and now it's my job to figure out who farked up because now the parts don't fit in the damn engines.Much of it is moot, anyway, because no matter how detailed the instructions, the guys on the line will still do whatever the hell they want because they think they know better. Sometimes they're right, but I've had to un-fix a lot of hack jobs in the past.

it almost makes you wish you could go grab an old t-square and use it to whack someones head off, doesn't it


wow, you've thought about this quite a bit, eh?

/starts slowly backing away
 
2010-05-18 12:44:28 PM  

Aexia: This.

It'll never occur to the free-market cheerleaders at Reason as to why details specifications like this are so necessary.


The government can't figure out how to property research a supplier to make sure they're going to get the goods that they want, and somehow that's a market failure? Every outdoor supply company in the country can figure out how to order (and resell) a winter grade blanket without getting screwed, but the government has to write up a 40 page spec sheet that tells their supplier what a blanket is. Yeah, definitely a "free market" problem. Or maybe the problem is that the government tends to choose suppliers based on factors other than who can actually supply the best product (i.e. on who is the most politically connected).

See, e.g. The Tanker Fiasco (new window)
 
2010-05-18 12:45:11 PM  
Of course, the brownies will be trillions of dollars over budget when they're done, and will be unable to withstand chocolate frosting...
 
2010-05-18 12:50:18 PM  

Talondel:
The government can't figure out how to property research a supplier to make sure they're going to get the goods that they want, and somehow that's a market failure? Every outdoor supply company in the country can figure out how to order (and resell) a winter grade blanket without getting screwed, but the government has to write up a 40 page spec sheet that tells their supplier what a blanket is.


Outdoor supply stores also sell snuggies in hopes stupid people will mistake them for something useful.

If you are able to walk into a store and see the item you are purchases ahead of time, you can be sure to get what you expect.

The government has to specify these things down to the 40 page detail so that the blanket, needed for cover, is not bright purple (because that was the cheapest cloth) and is easier to see by enemies snipers in the wilderness.
 
2010-05-18 12:51:27 PM  
Oh, and these pans ROCK!

foodmayhem.comView Full Size


/too small for Barefoot Contessa recipe, but fabulous for boxed varieties...
 
2010-05-18 12:52:07 PM  

Magorn: Rincewind53: Oh god, the PDF is fantastic.

Literally 26 pages long, detailing how to make brownies and oatmeal cookies. Twenty-six pages long. Got to love Army Efficiency.

Welcome to milspec hell

It'd be easy to blame the military-bureaucracy complex for it, but the truth is it really lie in the underhanded business ethics of war-profiteers excuse me, defense contractors going back to at least the civil war. Because fo them, you can't simply let out a contract for "blankets" or some scummy merchant will underbid the contract, deliver a bunch of blankets thinner than cotton sheets and say well it's what I call a blanket so pay me"

Thus before you can ask a contractor for Blankets you have to define minimum standards: So many inches long, so many wide, so many thick, made out of these kinds of material only, in these colors, to meet this elvel of flame retardency, durability, etc etc

ergo Milspec


Came to say this. If they didn't spec brownies, some turd would send them turds studded with brown pebbles and call them brownies with walnuts.

/turd
//more likely, they'd be 90% cellulose with Chocolatine™ imitation chocolate flavoring, produced from sludge byproducts
 
2010-05-18 12:52:22 PM  
mgonline.comView Full Size


MILSpec strawberries?

 
2010-05-18 12:54:15 PM  

KJUW89:
/too small for Barefoot Contessa recipe, but fabulous for boxed varieties...


Everything is too small for the Barefoot Contessa
 
2010-05-18 12:55:44 PM  

Sir Vanderhoot:
I love that conversation. Some things are expensive because they're really, really, good. Some things are expensive because you ordered 200, then after production started you cut the order in half and now the R+D costs are distributed across half as many items. Some things are expensive because you have to go through two dozen people to get them fixed or because ordering replacement parts takes years and is incredibly expensive for the factory (make a bunch! Ok, contract is over, stop making them! *5 years later* Ok, now make a bunch more!)


Yeah. I love explaining that the famous $600 toilet seat wasn't exactly a toilet seat that you could wander down to home depot and buy.

These details specs can cause problems though if somebody writes them too detailed. Like totally defines for 'sugar' a maker, type, size of bag, etc instead of the definition there.
 
2010-05-18 12:56:29 PM  
"Haw haw haw!", my conservative uncle crowed in the mid-90s. "The dummycrats buy hammers for hundred of dollars and I can just go to Home Hardware and buy the same hammer for $25!"

"But if you wanted to purchase 50,000 of those hammers you'd have to rent trucks, right?"

"...welll..yeah, I guess.."

"And if you wanted to run those trucks you'll need gasoline, right?"

"....sure, but..."

"and you'll need drivers for those trucks, people at both ends to load and unload pallets of hammers, a warehouse in which to store the hammers, some sort of QC before purchasing to actually ensure that the 10s of thousands of hammers you're buying are most appropriate for as the most number of tasks your people will require, someone in an accounting office to deal with 10s of thousands of pieces of paper to account for all the hammers and trucks and gas and manpower. Can you get all of that at Home Hardware and still stay within your $25 per hammer budget?"

"Shut up, stupid liberal."

I'm sure my equally-conservative aunt now has a brownie recipe that takes half an index card, "proving" the same point about government inefficiency.
 
2010-05-18 12:57:28 PM  

Talondel: The government can't figure out how to property research a supplier to make sure they're going to get the goods that they want, and somehow that's a market failure? Every outdoor supply company in the country can figure out how to order (and resell) a winter grade blanket without getting screwed, but the government has to write up a 40 page spec sheet that tells their supplier what a blanket is. Yeah, definitely a "free market" problem. Or maybe the problem is that the government tends to choose suppliers based on factors other than who can actually supply the best product (i.e. on who is the most politically connected).


Thank you. It's always nice to see what people who don't know what the hell they are talking about think.
 
2010-05-18 12:57:37 PM  
It's a MILSPEC, not a recipe (though there's a one-paragraph recipe in it.)

MILSPECs exist to keep the military from wasting money and getting incorrect or crap products and services from contractors.

Odd that "Reason" would oppose that.

/Why does "Reason" love wasteful federal spending and hate the military?
 
2010-05-18 1:04:49 PM  

Talondel: Aexia: This.

It'll never occur to the free-market cheerleaders at Reason as to why details specifications like this are so necessary.

The government can't figure out how to property research a supplier to make sure they're going to get the goods that they want, and somehow that's a market failure? Every outdoor supply company in the country can figure out how to order (and resell) a winter grade blanket without getting screwed, but the government has to write up a 40 page spec sheet that tells their supplier what a blanket is. Yeah, definitely a "free market" problem. Or maybe the problem is that the government tends to choose suppliers based on factors other than who can actually supply the best product (i.e. on who is the most politically connected).

See, e.g. The Tanker Fiasco (new window)


The Tanker Fiasco is politics driven due to Congressional interference. Totally.

Anyway, DOD has to tell a supplier what a 'blanket' is for a good reason. You buy a blanket, it sucks, you throw it away and biatch on the internet.
DOD buys $50 million worth of blankets, the blankets suck, maybe one gets a guy horrible disfigured because they weren't actually fire proof as was required, there's a Congressional investigation, people get fired, blankets have to be replaced, 20 year long lawsuits start up between the USG and the supplier, and somebody probably ends up in jail. Bit of a difference.

A somewhat related example: Congressman from California put in a budget line forcing the USMC to buy some moisture wicking shirts (company owned by a contributor, naturally). Great, right? Hot environment, USMC can use those. Although the USMC was already buy some according to their own spec. These new shirts weren't milspec but Congress said "BUY" so the USMC did. But they're just moisture wicking shirts, right? Kind you could buy at Dick's Sporting Goods. Stupid to have a milspec for it!
Except in a flash fire like you get in an IED explosion the shirts melted and fused to skin. Some people were badly injured, IIRC. USMC said the shirts couldn't be worn in a combat environment. Taxpayer money wasted. Nobody got investigated though because it wasn't a DOD farkup but a Congressional one and those are a-okay.

Although, some stuff is bought like you describe. It's called COTS (Commercial Off the Shelf) but that's only used in certain cases for certain things although it is very much encouraged. It just doesn't work for many things.
 
2010-05-18 1:09:25 PM  

Aexia: It'll never occur to the free-market cheerleaders at Reason as to why details specifications like this are so necessary.


Apparently they've never heard of ISO 9000. Basically the free-market version of mil-spec.
 
2010-05-18 1:16:15 PM  
blog.baliwww.comView Full Size

MILSpec Water pouch?

 
2010-05-18 1:17:22 PM  
Dammit. Now I have the munchies.
 
2010-05-18 1:17:33 PM  

cram_hole: The brownies are a lie.


Great, now the army is going to end up with shower curtains.

stinieroo: Apparently they've never heard of ISO 9000. Basically the free-market version of mil-spec.


And it's roughly a thousand pages long.
 
2010-05-18 1:26:01 PM  
Obama? The date on the doc is 2003, and it says it's a revision of a 1987 doc. So this is the second Bush administration's revision of the Reagan administration's recipe.

/but I still blame Obama
 
2010-05-18 1:30:47 PM  

RsquaredW: cram_hole: The brownies are a lie.

Great, now the army is going to end up with shower curtains.

stinieroo: Apparently they've never heard of ISO 9000. Basically the free-market version of mil-spec.

And it's roughly a thousand pages long.


It also happens to not at all be a free-market version of mil-spec. It is an internationally recognized document designed to hold the majority of the worlds manufacturing sector to a unified set of standards so cars built in Japan could be readily compared to cars built in the US and so TVs are all tested to not be radioactivity generation boxes of death.

It has pretty much bupkis to do with mil-spec or mil standards or military documentation or our military.
 
2010-05-18 1:31:48 PM  
It all depends on how many eggs you're willing to crack.
 
2010-05-18 1:32:09 PM  

stinieroo: Aexia: It'll never occur to the free-market cheerleaders at Reason as to why details specifications like this are so necessary.

Apparently they've never heard of ISO 9000. Basically the free-market version of mil-spec.


Yes, there's no change the DOD has ever heard of ISO 9000 or the other international standards and no chance that they've ever replaced certain Milspecs with generally accepted international standards.
 
2010-05-18 1:34:11 PM  
Und Keine Eieir!!!!



//oh wait, diregard, clarified by section 3.2.6.1
 
2010-05-18 1:34:18 PM  

BeesNuts: It also happens to not at all be a free-market version of mil-spec. It is an internationally recognized document designed to hold the majority of the worlds manufacturing sector to a unified set of standards so cars built in Japan could be readily compared to cars built in the US and so TVs are all tested to not be radioactivity generation boxes of death.

It has pretty much bupkis to do with mil-spec or mil standards or military documentation or our military.


But it has everything to do with standardizing processes. Which is what military specifications also are there to do.
 
2010-05-18 1:35:37 PM  

Spade: Yes, there's no change the DOD has ever heard of ISO 9000 or the other international standards and no chance that they've ever replaced certain Milspecs with generally accepted international standards.


Reading comprehension is not your strong suit.
 
2010-05-18 1:37:26 PM  

Bill_Wick's_Friend: "Haw haw haw!", my conservative uncle crowed in the mid-90s. "The dummycrats buy hammers for hundred of dollars and I can just go to Home Hardware and buy the same hammer for $25!"


More like:

"Well when your $25 steel hammer causes a spark that sets a multi-million-dollar aircraft on fire, or it gets too close a high power military radar/communications magnetron and you lose a finger and ruin a vital (and very expensive) piece of military hardware, you'll understand why they buy $500 beryllium alloy hammers instead."

=Smidge=
 
2010-05-18 1:38:08 PM  

NewportBarGuy: It all depends on how many eggs you're willing to crack break.


Way to screw that one up, jackass.
 
2010-05-18 1:38:28 PM  

manimalia: Obama? The date on the doc is 2003, and it says it's a revision of a 1987 doc. So this is the second Bush administration's revision of the Reagan administration's recipe.

/but I still blame Obama


When I voted for him, I expected him to roll up his sleeves and put on the green eyeshades! I can't believe he hasn't personally re-written all of MILSPEC to a concise, 10 page pamphlet using only standard English. And written it in a way that eliminates all loopholes and ensures only the highest quality, lowest cost, and most efficiently procured materiel for our fighting forces.

Instead, it seems he has resorted to "B..b..but GHW Bush!" again.

Typical lib president.
 
2010-05-18 1:38:37 PM  
So vote Republican, subby, you trolling putz...
 
2010-05-18 1:39:27 PM  

Spade: stinieroo: Aexia: It'll never occur to the free-market cheerleaders at Reason as to why details specifications like this are so necessary.

Apparently they've never heard of ISO 9000. Basically the free-market version of mil-spec.

Yes, there's no change the DOD has ever heard of ISO 9000 or the other international standards and no chance that they've ever replaced certain Milspecs with generally accepted international standards.


I'm pretty sure that "they" referred to Reason.com
 
2010-05-18 1:44:30 PM  

BeesNuts: It also happens to not at all be a free-market version of mil-spec. It is an internationally recognized document designed to hold the majority of the worlds manufacturing sector to a unified set of standards so cars built in Japan could be readily compared to cars built in the US and so TVs are all tested to not be radioactivity generation boxes of death.

It has pretty much bupkis to do with mil-spec or mil standards or military documentation or our military.


In the sense that it's a framework for defining quality management standards, I can see the analogy. I'm willing to bet that import regulations for products - banning lead-painted toys, etc - are pretty detailed and would be a better point of comparison.
 
2010-05-18 1:46:10 PM  
So what sort of brownies would you get in MREs if there were no particular specs?
 
2010-05-18 1:46:39 PM  
Are there real Brownies in them?
 
2010-05-18 1:47:29 PM  

keithgabryelski: Outdoor supply stores also sell snuggies in hopes stupid people will mistake them for something useful.

If you are able to walk into a store and see the item you are purchases ahead of time, you can be sure to get what you expect.

The government has to specify these things down to the 40 page detail so that the blanket, needed for cover, is not bright purple (because that was the cheapest cloth) and is easier to see by enemies snipers in the wilderness.


Again. Somehow outdoor supply stores are able to order from their suppliers and actually get camoflauge winter grade survival blankets. Probably because if a supplier sent them bright purple ones, the store would return them and then stop using that supplier. When the Government gets screwed by a supplier, they don't drop them (usually they can't, since the person making the purchase at the operational level doesn't get to decide who the supplier is). Instead they write up a 40 page document explaining to the incompetant supplier what a blanket is.

The problem isn't with the free market supplying the blankets. It's with the government's inability to take advantage of the market, because political considerations drive purchasing decisions rather than markets. This is why the problem isn't unique to the military. It's a problem that you see anytime politics starts dictating where money goes.

Spade: Except in a flash fire like you get in an IED explosion the shirts melted and fused to skin. Some people were badly injured, IIRC. USMC said the shirts couldn't be worn in a combat environment. Taxpayer money wasted. Nobody got investigated though because it wasn't a DOD farkup but a Congressional one and those are a-okay.


I'm not suggesting that the Government buys COTS. The government, like any large buyer, has to be able to dictate the terms on large purchases. What I'm suggesting is that this isn't a market failure, it's a political one.

For example, in the case you describe, the Marine Corps (who actually do go out of their way to use efficient markets in purchasing when allowed to do so, see Corps Business) had sourced a suitable product. Then Congress intervened and made a decision based on politics, not on customer needs, and screwed it all up.

The original purchase probably did require a specific milspec. The point isn't that detailed spec sheets are inherently bad. Large businesses use specific spec sheets with suppliers all the time, just not usually to the extent the government does. The point is that spec sheets are not needed due to "war profiteers" as was claimed above. To the extent that the government has to rely on detailed specs more than the private sector does, it's mostly due to artificial restrictions that require the government to purchase from (politically selected) suppliers.

The problem isn't the market's ability to meet the govrenments needs, the problem is the governments ability to take advantage of the market due to artificial barriers to competition.
 
2010-05-18 1:50:49 PM  
Not sure I want to eat cocolate covered brownies.
 
2010-05-18 1:54:31 PM  

Talondel: cted) suppliers.

The problem isn't the market's ability to meet the govrenments needs, the problem is the governments ability to take advantage of the market due to artificial barriers to competition.


bullshiat. The problem is that, with out some specification, contractors walk all over government purchases.

The free market is made to error sometimes causing a business in the wrong position to fail, but a correctly positioned business to win.

Government is not supposed to fail, so it must specify what "not failing" means.

You know this, you are just being obtuse.
 
2010-05-18 2:05:13 PM  
KJUW89:
Oh, and these pans ROCK!

[Baker's Edge brownie pan.jpg]

/too small for Barefoot Contessa recipe, but fabulous for boxed varieties...


Maybe the lasagna pan will work, then?
 
2010-05-18 2:06:51 PM  

mrlewish: So what sort of brownies would you get in MREs if there were no particular specs?


I dunno, but if they touch my goddamn lemon poppy pound cake, they gon' get shot!
 
2010-05-18 2:08:53 PM  

jdjoker: KJUW89:
Oh, and these pans ROCK!

[Baker's Edge brownie pan.jpg]

/too small for Barefoot Contessa recipe, but fabulous for boxed varieties...

Maybe the lasagna pan will work, then?


absolutely amazing: because using a knife to cut a lasagna is just too damn hard.
 
2010-05-18 2:10:07 PM  

Bill_Wick's_Friend: "Haw haw haw!", my conservative uncle crowed in the mid-90s. "The dummycrats buy hammers for hundred of dollars and I can just go to Home Hardware and buy the same hammer for $25!"

"But if you wanted to purchase 50,000 of those hammers you'd have to rent trucks, right?"

"...welll..yeah, I guess.."

"And if you wanted to run those trucks you'll need gasoline, right?"

"....sure, but..."

"and you'll need drivers for those trucks, people at both ends to load and unload pallets of hammers, a warehouse in which to store the hammers, some sort of QC before purchasing to actually ensure that the 10s of thousands of hammers you're buying are most appropriate for as the most number of tasks your people will require, someone in an accounting office to deal with 10s of thousands of pieces of paper to account for all the hammers and trucks and gas and manpower. Can you get all of that at Home Hardware and still stay within your $25 per hammer budget?"

"Shut up, stupid liberal."

I'm sure my equally-conservative aunt now has a brownie recipe that takes half an index card, "proving" the same point about government inefficiency.


Of course, somehow Home Hardware manages to buy 50,000 hammers, pay the supplier, pay the trucking company, pay for QC, pay for storage, pay employees to move the hammers, shelve the hammers at 500 locations from coast to coast and process / account for your transaction, and still earn a profit selling them for $25 a piece.
 
2010-05-18 2:15:10 PM  

Talondel: Aexia: This.

It'll never occur to the free-market cheerleaders at Reason as to why details specifications like this are so necessary.

The government can't figure out how to property research a supplier to make sure they're going to get the goods that they want, and somehow that's a market failure? Every outdoor supply company in the country can figure out how to order (and resell) a winter grade blanket without getting screwed, but the government has to write up a 40 page spec sheet that tells their supplier what a blanket is. Yeah, definitely a "free market" problem. Or maybe the problem is that the government tends to choose suppliers based on factors other than who can actually supply the best product (i.e. on who is the most politically connected).

See, e.g. The Tanker Fiasco (new window)


As a cost accountant for a company, I will say that private companies aren't great at finding suppliers either.

In a perfect world, you would do research and find the best company. However, in the real world that information isn't readily available for B2B-specific companies. Instead, they usually have to go through a few shiatty ones to find a good one. And then there's the issue of priority. Why chase after some vendor that farks up my blankets @ $20,000 per year when I have this vendor which is screwing up and costing me $700,00 a year?
 
2010-05-18 2:16:39 PM  
yngdaniel:
Of course, somehow Home Hardware manages to buy 50,000 hammers, pay the supplier, pay the trucking company, pay for QC, pay for storage, pay employees to move the hammers, shelve the hammers at 500 locations from coast to coast and process / account for your transaction, and still earn a profit selling them for $25 a piece.

and yet you failed to realize the actual point.

The government is a market with different pressures than your dad's need for a hammer to hang a picture on the wall.
 
2010-05-18 2:30:16 PM  

Smidge204: Bill_Wick's_Friend: "Haw haw haw!", my conservative uncle crowed in the mid-90s. "The dummycrats buy hammers for hundred of dollars and I can just go to Home Hardware and buy the same hammer for $25!"

More like:

"Well when your $25 steel hammer causes a spark that sets a multi-million-dollar aircraft on fire, or it gets too close a high power military radar/communications magnetron and you lose a finger and ruin a vital (and very expensive) piece of military hardware, you'll understand why they buy $500 beryllium alloy hammers instead."

=Smidge=


They are actually Beryllium Free but you were close enough.
 
2010-05-18 2:32:10 PM  

keithgabryelski: bullshiat. The problem is that, with out some specification, contractors walk all over government purchases.


Yes, but why? Why does business know they can take advantage of a government buyer, but that same business would never dare to do the same thing to Wal-Mart? Because Wal-Mart would drop them like a used rubber if they tried, but government can't and won't. Because government makes it's purchases based on politics. It hamstrings itself by drastically limiting the number of potential suppliers.

keithgabryelski: The free market is made to error sometimes causing a business in the wrong position to fail, but a correctly positioned business to win.

Government is not supposed to fail, so it must specify what "not failing" means.


If you go back and look at the original comment I was replying to, they were blaming the need for massive spec sheets on "war profiteers" and blaming it on "free markets." My point is that market forces are not what create war profiteers. Political forces do. Does Haliburton make all that money off of government contrats because they've cornered a market or established a monopoly on a good or service that government needs for the war effort? No, they get those contracts because they're politically connected. The only thing they have a monopoly on is political influence in certain areas. That's not a market failure.

You know this, you are just being obtuse.

What? What did you call me?
Son, you're forgetting yourself.

/it's not deliberate.
 
2010-05-18 2:33:33 PM  

yngdaniel: Of course, somehow Home Hardware manages to buy 50,000 hammers, pay the supplier, pay the trucking company, pay for QC, pay for storage, pay employees to move the hammers, shelve the hammers at 500 locations from coast to coast and process / account for your transaction, and still earn a profit selling them for $25 a piece


The part in my post about "the most appropriate tool for the vast number of people who will be forced to use this tool" somehow escaped you?

If Home Hardware could only buy ONE kind of hammer, do you think that one hammer might cost more and have a longer list of specs than the $25 hammers on the bargain shelf? If Home Hardware had to ensure that their one kind of hammer worked in temperatures ranging from -10 to 109 degrees don't ya think that maybe that hammer would cost more to test and to manufacture and don't ya think it might cost more to have someone doing the numbers on all the different types of hammers available in order to determine which one hammer should be stocked on their shelves?
 
2010-05-18 2:41:54 PM  

5lbs of Flax in a 4lb Sack:
They are actually Beryllium Free but you were close enough.

Price: $1,057.87
Usually ships within 3 to 5 weeks.
Ships from and sold by Ampco Safety Tools.


Holy crap....

As if I could just dig down in that wallet and sport that ol' credit card like I'm buying a flash drive or something...
 
2010-05-18 2:43:59 PM  
I did a procedure compliance activity at a local nuclear power plant. The procedure for making a peanut butter sandwich (with optional jelly) was five pages long, and we ended up in a hour long argument about the clarity of the spreading instructions.

/"It doesn't say what plane to spread the peanut butter on, so you need to spread it on the entire piece of bread."
//"But it doesn't say that you should spread it that way either! Clearly it only means one side."
///"But see now you're inferring or working off tribal lore."
 
2010-05-18 2:44:36 PM  

whidbey: 5lbs of Flax in a 4lb Sack:
They are actually Beryllium Free but you were close enough.

Price: $1,057.87
Usually ships within 3 to 5 weeks.
Ships from and sold by Ampco Safety Tools.

Holy crap....

As if I could just dig down in that wallet and sport that ol' credit card like I'm buying a flash drive or something...


Hah...read the amazon reviews in that link.
 
2010-05-18 2:46:29 PM  

Talondel:
Yes, but why? Why does business know they can take advantage of a government buyer, but that same business would never dare to do the same thing to Wal-Mart? Because Wal-Mart would drop them like a used rubber if they tried, but government can't and won't. Because government makes it's purchases based on politics. It hamstrings itself by drastically limiting the number of potential suppliers.


Here is the test: what would you change to make it better?

Remember you must account for corruption and you must be able to handle large quantities in ways the government current deals with large quantites(*) [in particular you must handle the ability to buy half a million thingies like blankets and not have a failure affect the troops (by, for instance, going blanketless because the blankets delivered to the warzone were not correct].

(*) It is satisfactory to come up with a completely different structure to the armed forces to better facilitate the changes you plan, but your changes can not reduce the reliability and readiness of personnel.

What would you do? Open ended: go for it.
 
2010-05-18 2:48:39 PM  

keithgabryelski: jdjoker: KJUW89:
Oh, and these pans ROCK!

[Baker's Edge brownie pan.jpg]

/too small for Barefoot Contessa recipe, but fabulous for boxed varieties...

Maybe the lasagna pan will work, then?

absolutely amazing: because using a knife to cut a lasagna is just too damn hard.


you're clueless.. it has nothing to do with making it easier to cut.
 
2010-05-18 2:53:20 PM  

sluck604:
you're clueless.. it has nothing to do with making it easier to cut.


I see that, now. need to get off the Nyquil.
 
2010-05-18 2:53:24 PM  

Smidge204: "Well when your $25 steel hammer causes a spark that sets a multi-million-dollar aircraft on fire, or it gets too close a high power military radar/communications magnetron and you lose a finger and ruin a vital (and very expensive) piece of military hardware, you'll understand why they buy $500 beryllium alloy hammers instead."

=Smidge=



Not to mention they have to fund BlackOps somehow.
There isn't a defense appropriations line for "Things you're better off not knowing about."

/I hope
 
2010-05-18 2:53:57 PM  

Bill_Wick's_Friend: yngdaniel: Of course, somehow Home Hardware manages to buy 50,000 hammers, pay the supplier, pay the trucking company, pay for QC, pay for storage, pay employees to move the hammers, shelve the hammers at 500 locations from coast to coast and process / account for your transaction, and still earn a profit selling them for $25 a piece

The part in my post about "the most appropriate tool for the vast number of people who will be forced to use this tool" somehow escaped you?

If Home Hardware could only buy ONE kind of hammer, do you think that one hammer might cost more and have a longer list of specs than the $25 hammers on the bargain shelf? If Home Hardware had to ensure that their one kind of hammer worked in temperatures ranging from -10 to 109 degrees don't ya think that maybe that hammer would cost more to test and to manufacture and don't ya think it might cost more to have someone doing the numbers on all the different types of hammers available in order to determine which one hammer should be stocked on their shelves?


I think that the bigger issue in that example is that the store isn't held responsible for the hammer itself. At most, they'll give you a replacement or a refund, but if you buy it and it turns out that it shatters in sub-zero conditions or the handle rubber is unholdable by a bare hand over 110 degrees F, the store will simply say "Too bad, you picked it up when you bought it, not our problem it wasn't what you wanted".

If the military did that, it could very well get someone killed (or worse, like make a billion dollar plane fall out of the sky. I've see jets torn in half because some factory line worker decided that a single double-drilled hole wasn't a big deal) and thus they have to take a lot of extra steps to ensure that it doesn't happen.
 
2010-05-18 2:55:04 PM  

5lbs of Flax in a 4lb Sack: They are actually Beryllium Free but you were close enough.


They might be NOW because apparently beryllium is highly toxic blah blah blah... still, beryllium has applications that the linked tool may still not be suitable for.

And I'm fairly certain the military doesn't buy from Amazon.com.
=Smidge=
 
2010-05-18 2:56:06 PM  

JokerMattly: Smidge204: "Well when your $25 steel hammer causes a spark that sets a multi-million-dollar aircraft on fire, or it gets too close a high power military radar/communications magnetron and you lose a finger and ruin a vital (and very expensive) piece of military hardware, you'll understand why they buy $500 beryllium alloy hammers instead."

=Smidge=


Not to mention they have to fund BlackOps somehow.
There isn't a defense appropriations line for "Things you're better off not knowing about."

/I hope


I'm pretty sure that there's a substantial chunk of Pentagon money that's just labelled "Classified". That or it's "Research" under some vague name ('non-lethal crowd control and sedation' or something).

Not like DARPA has to reveal *every little thing* they pay money for.
 
2010-05-18 3:15:28 PM  

KJUW89: Oh, and these pans ROCK!

/too small for Barefoot Contessa recipe, but fabulous for boxed varieties...


Expensive unitasker.

I just use this:

[image from shopworldkitchen.com too old to be available]
 
2010-05-18 3:17:32 PM  

keithgabryelski: jdjoker: KJUW89:
Oh, and these pans ROCK!

[Baker's Edge brownie pan.jpg]

/too small for Barefoot Contessa recipe, but fabulous for boxed varieties...

Maybe the lasagna pan will work, then?

absolutely amazing: because using a knife to cut a lasagna is just too damn hard.


Center-cut brownies are superior and preferable to edge brownies.

Discuss.
 
2010-05-18 3:25:20 PM  

JokerMattly: There isn't a defense appropriations line for "Things you're better off not knowing about."


Actually, I think there is, it's just titled "non-itemized funding". But a lot of times when we get money from TYBONKA, it comes from "other funding" or "discretionary SBIR" or some other nameless generic slush funds. You couldn't get enough to build a Stealth fighter that way, but you can sure get some cards designed for it.

Another thing they can do (and we've done) is use a purchasing fund that doesn't literally permit design services, you're supposed to buy existing hardware with it. But if they need a piece of hardware that doesn't happen to exist and are out of "other" for the quarter, they just give you the design spec, tell you to post it in your "private catalog" as an existing COTS product, then get three first tiers to bid it to them. You price it by amortizing your NRE over the first buy.

It seems a bit loony that you pretend to have a product they need already on the shelf, and then have three primes call you and all bid the same non-existent product. But it satisfies the legal requirements for multiple bids, and for 'off the shelf'.

It does, however, result in $5000 boards, at least for the first run.
 
2010-05-18 3:25:41 PM  

IXI Jim IXI: Of course, the brownies will be trillions of dollars over budget when they're done, and will be unable to withstand chocolate frosting...


Let's not be too hard on them; I'm unable to withstand chocolate frosting too, but for a lot less money!
 
2010-05-18 3:40:31 PM  

Bill_Wick's_Friend: yngdaniel: Of course, somehow Home Hardware manages to buy 50,000 hammers, pay the supplier, pay the trucking company, pay for QC, pay for storage, pay employees to move the hammers, shelve the hammers at 500 locations from coast to coast and process / account for your transaction, and still earn a profit selling them for $25 a piece

The part in my post about "the most appropriate tool for the vast number of people who will be forced to use this tool" somehow escaped you?

If Home Hardware could only buy ONE kind of hammer, do you think that one hammer might cost more and have a longer list of specs than the $25 hammers on the bargain shelf? If Home Hardware had to ensure that their one kind of hammer worked in temperatures ranging from -10 to 109 degrees don't ya think that maybe that hammer would cost more to test and to manufacture and don't ya think it might cost more to have someone doing the numbers on all the different types of hammers available in order to determine which one hammer should be stocked on their shelves?


If the MIL spec hammer would cost $100 at the hardware store because of it's design, that's your argument, not how costly it is to manage the purchase and distribution of 50,000 hammers.
 
2010-05-18 3:52:16 PM  

Jackson Herring: Hah...read the amazon reviews in that link.


What Amerikan kustomer may not be privy: AMPCO 7920 is not only gud for demolition (#1 Hammer of Choice of Berlin Wall souvenier manufacturers), but also for making most flat apfel streusel, tenderizing swine for all your Sausagemaking applications, and also, mit ergonomic handle, is equally gud as MARITAL AID for das hausfrau!!!

Looks like Anon's been busy at work swinging that thing...
 
2010-05-18 4:03:42 PM  
COTS is never really COTS.
 
2010-05-18 4:24:56 PM  
I have a protocols binder with copies of NIST-800-53, FIPS-199 & 200, and Mass 201-CMR-17. This just got added to it.
 
2010-05-18 4:25:12 PM  

Smidge204: Linux



good point. many of the CONgressmen have big money constituents in the Defense contractor industry that want to keep that river of public money flowing to defense.


and these CONgressmen do as they're told.
 
2010-05-18 4:26:22 PM  

Linux_Yes: and these CONgressmen do as they're told.


Didn't you say in a recent thread that you would trust Obama to be a dictator?

Those are some pretty good odds, man.
 
2010-05-18 4:37:24 PM  
mmmmmm, cocolate
 
2010-05-18 4:47:16 PM  
The same thing happens in the construction industry- architectural and engineering plans have to be meticulously precise and every damned detail must be thought through and made specific, because not only will contractors cut corners whenever they can (and they do), they won't add anything extra to the construction project for fear of lawsuits and liability.
 
2010-05-18 4:49:00 PM  

keithgabryelski: Here is the test: what would you change to make it better?

Remember you must account for corruption and you must be able to handle large quantities in ways the government current deals with large quantites(*) [in particular you must handle the ability to buy half a million thingies like blankets and not have a failure affect the troops (by, for instance, going blanketless because the blankets delivered to the warzone were not correct].

(*) It is satisfactory to come up with a completely different structure to the armed forces to better facilitate the changes you plan, but your changes can not reduce the reliability and readiness of personnel.

What would you do? Open ended: go for it.


You're trying to force me to defend a position I'm not taking. I'm not claiming there's a solution. Anyone who claims there is a solution is either a liar or a Utopian. It's a problem inherant in any system that allows elected officials to spend money. If you want a democatic system of government, then politics will drive government spending. Period. If you want a big government that can provide the typical "big government" services then you have to be willing to accept a certain amount of "political overhead." That is, a portion of the money government spends will be wasted because it will be going not to procure goods and services, but rather to procure votes.

Want to fix it? Abolish elected government. Boom. Done. No more money wasted on trying to buy votes. (Warning: This may have unintended consequences far more severe than a 26 page brownie recipie). Alternately, you can try to limit the size and scope of government, but history has shown that doesn't work out so well either.

Once again, as I have said multiple times before, my only point is this: War profiteers are not a consequence of free markets (they can be, if the market has produced a monopoly that the government is now forced to deal with if it wants to wage war, but last I checked there was no monopoly on blankets, or hammers, or moisture wicking shirts, or any of the other examples provided here). Rather, war profiteers are created by political systems that grant monopolies and oligopolies based on political considerations.

Markets don't wage war, governments do. Governments are not driven by markets, they're driven by politics.

Nothing you are saying disagrees with this statement. I'm still trying to figure out why you want to argue.
 
2010-05-18 5:01:06 PM  

cfletch13: cram_hole: The brownies are a lie.

I think you're refering to the CIA's yellowcake recipie.


I remember that (early) episode of Flashforward!

In thick Iranian, gangsta accent: "I'm going to be a big-time pot dealer, yo!"
 
2010-05-18 5:16:35 PM  

Talondel: You're trying to force me to defend a position I'm not taking. I'm not claiming there's a solution. Anyone who claims there is a solution is either a liar or a Utopian. It's a problem inherant in any system that allows elected officials to spend money. If you want a democatic system of government, then politics will drive government spending. Period. If you want a big government that can provide the typical "big government" services then you have to be willing to accept a certain amount of "political overhead." That is, a portion of the money government spends will be wasted because it will be going not to procure goods and services, but rather to procure votes.


But that's not at all what this article is describing. This article is describing 'wasted' government effort that is necessary in order to prevent private contractors from cheating the taxpayers.

Why you are arguing about waste due to the Government buying votes is incomprehensible, considering we are talking about a 26 page brownie recipe and not about a no-bid contract to Haliburton or something.
 
2010-05-18 5:49:43 PM  

Skleenar: Why you are arguing about waste due to the Government buying votes is incomprehensible, considering we are talking about a 26 page brownie recipe and not about a no-bid contract to Haliburton or something.


But that would be unthinkable. No-bids keep us safe from substandard unqualified outfits from trying to do work that only Halliburton is capable of doing.

*coughs*
 
2010-05-18 5:55:02 PM  

keithgabryelski:
Go ahead and spend 2 billion on an airplane with out it -- see what happens.


I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is some kind of really weak troll... surely you don't really believe that brownies deserve the same level of regulation and documentation as a "$2 billion airplane".
 
2010-05-18 5:59:27 PM  

Skleenar: Why you are arguing about waste due to the Government buying votes is incomprehensible, considering we are talking about a 26 page brownie recipe and not about a no-bid contract to Haliburton or something.


For those who can't be bothered to read the whole thread, here are the posts I was replying to. Please note: the first claims the need for long military specs arises from problems with "war profiteers" and the second goes on to blame this on free markets.

Aexia: It'd be easy to blame the military-bureaucracy complex for it, but the truth is it really lie in the underhanded business ethics of war-profiteers excuse me, defense contractors going back to at least the civil war. Because fo them, you can't simply let out a contract for "blankets" or some scummy merchant will underbid the contract, deliver a bunch of blankets thinner than cotton sheets and say well it's what I call a blanket so pay me"

Thus before you can ask a contractor for Blankets you have to define minimum standards: So many inches long, so many wide, so many thick, made out of these kinds of material only, in these colors, to meet this elvel of flame retardency, durability, etc etc

ergo Milspec

This.

It'll never occur to the free-market cheerleaders at Reason as to why details specifications like this are so necessary.


Most of my posts have been arguing (aparetnly unsuccessfully, since no one seems to realize what point I'm trying to make) that this the "war profiteering" is not a problem of the market, but a problem of the political system. I'll say it as succinctly as I can: War profiteering is caused by politics, not by markets.

Skleenar:But that's not at all what this article is describing. This article is describing 'wasted' government effort that is necessary in order to prevent private contractors from cheating the taxpayers.

Yet large private corporations don't have to rely on these types of specs nearly to the extent that government does. This is because it's easier for private companies to rip off the government than it is for them to rip off other private companies. Why? Because large private companies will actually seek out a supplier that is most likely to satisfy their needs and dump them if they don't. Government is more likely than private business to make purchasing decisions based on other factors (like political considerations), so they're easier to rip off. That's not a market failure.

Yes, these specs exist to help government keep itself from getting ripped off. Yes, that is a necessity given how decisions are made in government. No, there isn't a solution to it. As long as governments are both 1) elected and 2) spend money, they will use the money they spend to get reelected. No one really wants to get rid of either 1) or 2), ergo, there is no solution.
 
2010-05-18 6:33:18 PM  

Talondel: Government is more likely than private business to make purchasing decisions based on other factors (like political considerations), so they're easier to rip off. That's not a market failure.


Well, that's true in the sense that fair bidding is a 'political consideratio'n.

No one gives a shiat if private company A exclusively deals with private company B, because neither is charged with the fair use of taxpayer money. Since government is charged with this responsibility, it is incumbent on it to create open bidding processes that allow any qualified bidder to compete, and to avoid any charges of 'favoritism'.

You are continually applying a nefarious motive to how government spends its money--specifically you are claiming its main effort is to 'buy votes'.

But that is exactly the opposite of what open bidding processes foster--and that is the issue at hand.
 
2010-05-18 6:53:33 PM  

dj_swim: keithgabryelski:
Go ahead and spend 2 billion on an airplane with out it -- see what happens.

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is some kind of really weak troll... surely you don't really believe that brownies deserve the same level of regulation and documentation as a "$2 billion airplane".


Check this out:
Link
Ameriqual Group, LLC, d/b/a Ameriqual Packaging, Evansville, Ind. is being awarded a maximum $37,520,000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE).
The Wornick Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, is being awarded a maximum $30,730,000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE).
Sopakco, Inc.*, Mullins, S.C., is being awarded a maximum $24,890.000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE).


Not $2b, but a lot. Sure that's not just the brownies, but it's part of it and the regulations go on the whole program. There's Congressional regulations on how much oversight and whatnot are required. The DOD doesn't get to pick. You can go over to DAU.mil and browse ACQ 101 and other courses to learn all about the fun.
 
2010-05-18 7:09:35 PM  

Skleenar: Talondel: Government is more likely than private business to make purchasing decisions based on other factors (like political considerations), so they're easier to rip off. That's not a market failure.

Well, that's true in the sense that fair bidding is a 'political consideratio'n.

No one gives a shiat if private company A exclusively deals with private company B, because neither is charged with the fair use of taxpayer money. Since government is charged with this responsibility, it is incumbent on it to create open bidding processes that allow any qualified bidder to compete, and to avoid any charges of 'favoritism'.

You are continually applying a nefarious motive to how government spends its money--specifically you are claiming its main effort is to 'buy votes'.

But that is exactly the opposite of what open bidding processes foster--and that is the issue at hand.


You're talking about the goal of government, which is noble. Unfortunately, the goal is not the practice. Open bidding is a joke. The U.S. Tanker was an "open bid" project. In they end they just wrote a spec that they knew only one supplier could meet, with the specific intention that only one supplier be able to bid (i.e. the one they wanted to win, to satisfy the demands of Congressman who had to appropriate money for the purchase). You don't have to take my word for it. You can read the GAO report.

I'm not applying a nefarious motive to government. I'm applying their actual motive. The motive of government is not "to create open bidding processes that allow any qualified bidder to compete, and to avoid any charges of 'favoritism'." That's their stated goal. It's not their motive. Their motive is to get reelected. That's not a bad thing. It's simply reality. I don't want a representative who says "fark what the people want, I'm going to rape and pillage my district for all its worth until I finally get voted out." In general, politicians wanting to get reelected is a good thing. That doesn't mean it they're aren't negative consequences to that motivation. One place those negative consequences show up is in government procurement, a process that is universally less efficient and more prone to corruption than it is in their private counterparts. It's simply one price of democratic government. That's fine. No system of government is perfect, they all have their trade offs.

The primary motivation of the private sector is (generally) to make money. That's not the same as the governments primary motivation (to get reelected). It shouldn't be surprising that they don't always match up. However, it's not a market failure every time the markets don't satisfy the needs of government. Sometimes it's due to problems that are inherent to our system of government.

War profiteering is (usually) one of those things.
 
2010-05-18 7:22:16 PM  

Talondel: I'm not applying a nefarious motive to government. I'm applying their actual motive. The motive of government is not "to create open bidding processes that allow any qualified bidder to compete, and to avoid any charges of 'favoritism'." That's their stated goal. It's not their motive. Their motive is to get reelected. That's not a bad thing. It's simply reality.


Why are you complaining about the tanker project in an article about a 26 page recipe for brownies?

Obviously, there are abuses of the system, and I would be happy to concede that the tanker procurement was one of them.

But that is not why procurement specs are huge and unwieldy documents. It would be easy to write a spec for a tanker built by Boeing. You could just indicate the model and number of units you wanted.

But if you did that, you'd run into a firestorm of opposition from the voters--and it would be justified.

You also are mistakenly applying the motive of the individual members of the government (getting re-elected) with the motive of the government itself. They are not the same. And while it is probably inappropriate in any case to assign a motive to a composite entity like a government, it is even more inappropriate to assume that the motives of individual members of a group accurately predict the behavior of the group itself.

The constitution of the United States is based on the principle that individual ambition, when balanced against other individual ambitions works well to benefit the collective.
 
2010-05-18 7:26:23 PM  

dj_swim: keithgabryelski:
Go ahead and spend 2 billion on an airplane with out it -- see what happens.

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is some kind of really weak troll... surely you don't really believe that brownies deserve the same level of regulation and documentation as a "$2 billion airplane".


surely you don't believe a $2 billion airplane's specification isn't 26 pages.

Read the entire thread -- i've answered this.
 
2010-05-18 8:50:21 PM  
Another important reason for these ridiculously long specifications is the legal process the government has to go through to select a vendor (called source selection). If a privately owned store doesn't want to stock shiatty blankets, they don't have to justify themselves to the manufacturer of said shiatty blankets.

However, if the government is letting a contract for blankets, it has to state its requirements for the blankets to any company that bids. After awarding the contract, they then have to tell the shiatty blanket maker exactly why they didn't choose their blankets. Furthermore, if the shiatty blanket company thinks they should have gotten the contract, they can file a grievance, and if the government can't show exactly how the shiatty blankets don't meet the requirements, the shiatty company can and will sue the government (and probably win).

A fairly recent example of this was the Air Force KC-45 tanker fiasco. While complicated, the main issue was the Air Force said they needed a tanker with a certain capacity. Boeing provided a design that exactly met the requirement, while the Northrop/EADS design was significantly larger. The Air Force went with the Northrop/EADS design, citing its larger capacity. Boeing then cried foul since the Air Force never said they would give bonus points for additional capacity. Long story short, Boeing's protest was upheld, and two years later a contract still hasn't been awarded.

The main point is if the government isn't nauseatingly detailed in its requirements, they either get sued which costs a lot and delays things, or they have to settle with inferior things.
 
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