Politico reports this morning on an unsettling phenomenon happening behind the scenes in Congress .
In his bill set to pass this week to overhaul how the Pentagon buys weapons, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee relied heavily on those with most at stake: the nation’s arms makers.
Defense contractors played a major role in crafting the proposal by Rep. Mac Thornberry designed to reform the Pentagon acquisition system, according to a POLITICO comparison of the legislation and industry proposals.
Some of the provisions in the Texas Republican’s bill could end up boosting company profits — at the expense of taxpayers.
For example, the bill would weaken the power of the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, an independent watchdog who answers directly to the secretary of defense and often uncovers flaws in big-ticket weapon systems. That was a provision proposed by the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents the nation’s leading defense and aerospace firms…
Some industry players aren’t bashful about the extent to which they shaped the bill.
“There were, literally, 10 provisions of Chairman Thornberry’s Agile Acquisition bill that had some kind of direct or indirect lineage from our recommendations,” said Will Goodman, a former Senate aide who’s now vice president of policy at NDIA. “They were tightly aligned and in some cases were word-for-word adaptations.”
These kind of perverse incentives are why the fight to reign in spending matters so much. Read the entire report here.