November 28, 2004


Fascinating stuff in the NYT on how Lockheed Martin controls the world. Apparently, though, global domination doesn't make it any easier to conjure up new weapons quickly:
"Twenty years ago, the complaint was, it takes so long to build things," [Pentagon comptroller Dov Zakheim] said. Weapons designed in the depths of the cold war were built long after the Berlin Wall crumbled. That led some people, including George W. Bush while running for president in 1999, to suggest that the Pentagon skip a generation of weapons set to roll off the assembly line in this decade and concentrate instead on lighter, faster, smarter systems for the future.

That didn't happen. It still takes two decades to build a major weapons system, and the costs are still staggering.
Interesting asymmetry here. The U.S., as we know, is always embarking on some extravagant new weapons program that may turn out to be obsolete for the task at hand when it finally does arrive. Meanwhile, when other countries face a problem or challenge, they can deal with it immediately simply by buying the appropriate sorts of technology from... the United States. At some point you'd think this "efficiency gap" would help to close the actual technology gap, no? Though from what I gather, these sorts of convergence theories about Third World development haven't quite panned out.
-- Brad Plumer 2:40 PM || ||