Dawn Swearingin

Lockheed’s Joint Strike Fighter: Are you paying too much for your fighter jet?

High Price tag: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, unveiled at a ceremony in Washington, is part of the most expensive weapon program in history. Photo: APBy Dawn Swearingin, Rohan Verma, Jameson Neuhoff, Travis Wattles, Priyanka Jain and Wei Zheng

One of the few positive outcomes of the current financial crisis is the emergence of taxpayers as informed stakeholders in the activities of government. The U.S government, mindful of this development, is conceivably more cautious when allocating funds to its different departments. One exception is the Department of Defense, which has consistently seen on average a rise of 5 percent in its budget allocation throughout the last decade, whereas most other departments have faced major reductions.

This is partly understandable due to the geo-political scenarios in Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea. As this is a matter of national security, it does provide a plausible explanation of why it has not attracted the wrath of taxpayers and media activists yet. But, have you ever wondered whether this increased allocation is justified on the basis of national security alone, or are there glaring inefficiencies in the Department of Defense that drive up project costs and timelines?

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