I thought those mil-spec $10,000 toilet seats were just a joke...

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by woodchucker, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    The AF apparently can’t fly without $$$ water heating cups.

    Link
     
  2. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    I didn’t really read the article I linked.

    It just reminds me of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The Pentagon Wars is one of my more favorite movies in that genre.
     
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  3. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Probably 20 pages of drawings, metal needed to be DFARS compliant, every component needed an AS9100 FAI, yada yada yada...
     
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  4. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    And then there is the off chance that the vendor of the cup realized they had a good thing going and just doubled the price without any change in spec knowing that AF procurement will just continue to order the things assuming that they were dealing with a single source situation.

    But then, the total cost of the program is about $300k, in air-force money that's not even a rounding error. I wish congress paid more attention to the waste of money in the billion range, e.g. when the AF procures an entire new type of aircraft and ships them from the manufacturer right to the boneyard.
     
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  5. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Waste in the billion range has a lobby and a sponsor.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
  6. Gerhardt

    Gerhardt En-Route

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    I always catch a lot of flak when I say that I will never, ever....ever...support another tax increase. Regardless of what it's for. The money is there, it's just not spent with reason.
     
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  7. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The military in general and the air force in particular is the worst organization in the US for wasting money. But when it isn't your money to begin with, who cares?
     
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  8. JohnAJohnson

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    What do you base that on?
     
  9. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    There is no amount of money that would cover everything everyone wants. We could tax at 100%, spend it all and still be left wanting.
     
  10. JohnAJohnson

    JohnAJohnson Cleared for Takeoff

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    I spent a career in the Air Force and an individual's travel expenses, credit card use, or ANY expense had to be documented and reviewed. There was never any money to freely spend on political or other agendas, like there is at FEMA and most other federal organizations. Each squadron submitted a budget annually, and each "want" was scrutinized and had to be approved in advance, but only if it was within the budgetary constraints. Each tire, every gallon of JP-4, every engine etc., had to be budgeted for, and at the end of the year if you were out of money, you sometimes had to park airplanes. I watched for years as a liberally biased media ALWAYS attacked the military for waste and ignored social programs, and other government waste pits. While there certainly is some waste in the military, a bit of critical thinking might show that $700 hammers are probably a bargain, especially in a world of Cessna R182 $22,000 gear saddles.

    So please don't be too quick to jump on the Military Wasteful bandwagon. They are probably the only government entity where we even come close to achieving value.
     
  11. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    <---- witness :yesnod:
     
  12. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    So if you had left over money from that budget, what did you do with it? (Rhetorical question, I already know the answer)

    <----- also spent a career in the Air Force
     
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  13. JohnAJohnson

    JohnAJohnson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Well we spent 90% of it on booze and women, and we wasted the rest!
     
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  14. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    You're lucky. All we got was new desks and chairs and maybe a coffee pot.
     
  15. Gerhardt

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    Yeah, but truly, we would have a mammoth budget surprlus if government spending was reduced to reason. I'm probably not the best person to say what's reasonable, but I certainly recognize the absurd.

    Here's an example. I live in a college town of 120K people. We have 32 schools and 18,000 students. Our budget for this coming year is $345M. We have 32 principals with a base salary of $90K. We have 80 asst. principals at a base salary of $71K. This is crazy. Our teachers start with no experience, straight from college at $38K. First, there shouldn't be so much weight at the top. But there also shouldn't be such a huge gap in salaries between teachers and administrators. ipads for all K-5 students seems crazy also. I know, I know...these are a pittance of the $345M funds for EACH YEAR. You know, as much as this irks me it's nothing to how much it ****es me off that the school cries poverty all year long.

    The money is there. It's just not spent within reason.
     
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  16. Sundancer

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    Plenty of school systems cry poverty, many because they really are hurting - but in the Wash DC metro area, the compensation packages for educators in the public school systems are very, very generous. A good buddy was moaning to me about the costs of his school system health insurance some years back - his complaint was he had to start contributing something! They usually have a lot of political clout, especially in left-leaning major urban areas, and the pay and benes are often above the mean for the region. Granted, usually not so good in rural and poorer areas, of course.

    His other complaint was the requirement for "continuing education" - I pointed out that doctors, plumbers, car mechanics, lawyers, etc., all of us have that requirement for the most part. We just don't get 10 weeks off each summer, and plenty of us have to foot the bill for training, whereas his school system picks up the entire tab.

    The Feds pay the lower level employees too much, the upper levels too little, and the staffing is bloated, pretty much in every agency. The people costs are just huge.
     
  17. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    Exhibit A:

     
  18. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A single case is a long, long, LONG way from:

    Wasting money.

    Not "failing to ensure they spent as little as possible", but wasting money.

    I spent 20 years in the USAF, and I can think of dozens of ways that money could have been spent better, budgeted better, allocated better, etc...but I never saw government money outright wasted. To suggest that it is, is to call into question the integrity of a lot of service members.

    Before people choose to make statements like this, take some time to look at the budgetary process from Congress, to the DoD, to the individual services, and then on down into the various parts of the services. Understand what the procurement process is and why it is that way. Understand what "Operations and Maintenance" budget is, and how it is budgeted. Learn what a POM is, and how it works.

    If you're going to point fingers, at least understand which direction to point it and why you're pointing it there.

    No, the military is not an organization that has a profit motive. In general, they do not seek to reduce costs, they seek to accomplish missions given the resources available. Often, those methods are not cost effective.
     
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  19. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    All I know is as we approached the end of the FY suddenly streets on base were repaved, anything that didn’t move was painted, new furniture, hookers at the O club...

    <——— career USAF too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  20. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    What NAICS code is that?
     
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  21. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Generally these are approved budgetary allocations that didn't make the cut line for a particular FY, and once the end of FY gets close and there is a surplus, leaders are able to work their way into projects further down the approved list.

    The general perception when this occurs is "hey, we have all this money left over, let's just go spend it on stuff because we have to zero out the account at the end of the FY", but that isn't how it works.
     
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  22. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    You're right. There are no other cases. Nope. They never, for example, spent $10,000 apiece for toilet seats. Never happened.

    https://www.military.com/defensetec...pending-10000-toilet-seats-officials-say.html

    Sorry, but I reject your Boolean definition of "wasted." If one spends $1,280 on a single coffee cup, it's not an answer to the charge of wasteful spending to declare that you did, in fact, receive said cup.
     
  23. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    On man's waste is another man's fertilizer
     
  24. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    There is a difference between accusing individual service members of wasting money and looking at an organization as a whole in how it spends tax money. The guy ordering the $1289:coffee mug doesn't do so because he wants to be wasteful with resources. He does so because his superiors and the process tell him to replace a broken component. It's the organization through its procurement process that even arrived at a situation where the ordering system contains those kinds of Easter Eggs.
     
  25. edo2000

    edo2000 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I can't claim to know how it works in the military, but "zero out the account by the end of the FY" is exactly how it works in many/most government agencies. I worked for a state university for many years and had budget authority for most of the time. If my department neared the end of the year with a surplus, two things happened.... 1) the unspent money was moved elsewhere in the system and spent, before the end of the FY, 2) my dept. budget for the next year was adjusted lower, with the "excess" funds moved to other departments.
     
  26. BiffJ

    BiffJ Pre-takeoff checklist

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    After spending some time doing a bit of contract work back in the 80s I learned how the system works. Its really bad. Does the airforce waste money? You bet your butt. We had a contract to make some aircraft parts and had to fight tooth and nail to get information and tooling that was part of the contract. All that cost money. We had to use out of date material because they didn't want to spend the money to have newer tech verified so the cost went up again as we had to find and buy materials that were no longer made but not out of spec or date. We had to hire 2 more bookkeeper types to keep track of all the certifications, updates and changes required by the airforce so not covered by the contract cost.

    Surprisingly we managed to manufacture and deliver the parts on time. Our delivery went to the location specified to the individual in charge of the contract where they were supposed to be checked for compliance with the specs called out in the contract. Instead the guy tells us to unload from our truck into a dumpster. The planes we made the parts for were given away by the govt to another country so why deal with them. Fortunately the receiving govt found out about the new parts prior to their destruction and managed to get them too.

    We could have made parts for Boeing for half the cost and much less trouble but the US govt has so many silly requirements and stupidities unrelated to the actual product that it is impossible to make them for a reasonable cost. If you've never been in the biz a $10,000 toilet seat seems out of line. Once you've been there you understand why it costs that much and why only a few contractors make them.

    Waste is key with govt contracting. The cup probably only costs $5 to make but the contract specs add time and trouble to the point that the cost goes up to $1200.

    Frank
     
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  27. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Again, if you don't understand *why* those particular numbers are arrived at, you can't declare it "waste".

    Frank is on the right track in his post above, but again reference my post about how the Congressional budgeting process works, as well as how DoD funds allocations are made to the individual services.

    Either way, still not anywhere near enough evidence to support the outrageous charge of the USAF, specifically, being "the worst organization in the US for wasting money".
     
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  28. BiffJ

    BiffJ Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just to clarify here.....the airforce isn't the only ones who do this silly crap. Pretty much all the govt agencies are guilty, not just the flyboys. Glad I'm out of the gov contracting biz. Less stress and better profit in the private sector. More appreciative customers too.

    Frank
     
  29. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    Ladies. Gents. Not looking for an argument ... just poking fun. I spent six in the Navy, part of that “flying” underwater. Try to relax a bit! :p
     
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  30. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The government is pretty bad but frankly so are any big bureaucracies including big companies. I’ve worked with & for companies from 2 persons to multi billion dollar world spanning corporations. Anything that big has places where the rules put in place for making sure they “do the right thing” cause local stupidity. Most often because they are optimizing something that’s easy to measure (often $) at the expense of something that’s hard to measure.
     
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  31. TCABM

    TCABM Cleared for Takeoff

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    I present Medicare for that title.
     
  32. RussR

    RussR Cleared for Takeoff

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    That’s pretty much EXACTLY how it worked in all the squadrons I was in. End of the year comes up, we’re told we have “fallout” money to spend, and it didn’t generally matter what we spent it on, as long as it could somewhat be tied to a “requirement”. Oh, sure, some was spent on actual, valid things we needed but that weren’t in the budget. But often there was a lot left over. So, new TV for the break room? Sure, to display “training programs” on. New computers even though the old ones were really just fine? Sure. Same thing but with new office chairs? Sure. How about a new stereo for squadron picnics, “to enhance unit morale”? Yep.

    Lots of waste. But if we didn’t spend it, the money would just be rolled up to the next organizational level and THEY would spend it on TVs, computers, office chairs and stereos.
     
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  33. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    Speaking of computers, I remember my first experience with Windows was a 3.1 machine we got in our department aboard ship. Played a lot of solitaire on that.
     
  34. 35 AoA

    35 AoA Cleared for Takeoff

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    It's a stupid system. More than the "other funds" kinda stuff which is really the topic at hand, my biggest frustration (or one of them) has been the handling of flight hour funds. They function in a similar way as has been described......use or lose. I've never actually seen the "lose" happen, but it is always a threat. The problem being 1) the mx support/supply chain hand isn't talking to the flight hour grant program hand, and you don't actually have the jets to fly the flight hour program.......or 2) you have the jets, but the quarter in question is Q1 with all the holidays and bad weather. Either way, realistically there are times when the flight hours can't be flown. There are ways to work around it, but more often than not, it comes down to degrading training to save fuel and fly an extra .3 each sortie, or guys lining up on a Friday night and launching in crap weather to just burn useless holes in the sky. The intent of the flight hour grant is good, and phase based, but I just wish it had a little more tolerance for real world deviations from the assumptions.
     
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  35. PPC1052

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    Yeah, to be fair, the Navy is probably worse. But it's a pretty low bar. I understand the appropriations non-sense. But that just explains why such waste happens. It doesn't mean the waste didn't happen happen.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  36. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    A few examples...

    In 1975-1976 I worked for the US Navy overhauling and refueling nuclear submarines. At the time we "joked" that the overhaul/refuel wasn't complete until the weight of the paper equaled the weight of the boat. That was over 40 years ago, God alone knows what the multiplier is now.

    1976-1979 I worked for a tenant activity on the yard. We'd compile a list of "wants" during the fiscal year. As the end of the year was coming up we dug out that list and bought items to make sure we didn't have money left over at the end of the year. If we did our budget for the following year would be cut. These weren't "nice to haves", they were needs that weren't in the budget.

    1979-1983 I worked for a contractor building various things for the military. Why were things so expensive? You wouldn't believe the amount of money the government will spend to make sure that five cents isn't wasted.

    These prices don't surprise me at all.
     
  37. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    At first glance it seems that way. But really it’s that they don’t wanting anything spent w/o their oversight. They don’t mind if it’s wasted, what matters is that it was approved.
     
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  38. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Cleared for Takeoff

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    22 years DOD civilian. Repeatedly I have seen aircraft fly around the pattern and dumping fuel to go through the monthly fuel allotment because they weren't able to fly earlier for whatever reason. Waste, pure and simple. I see other examples of it every day. And yes the Air Force is the worst. By far
     
  39. Gucci Pilot

    Gucci Pilot Pattern Altitude

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    Having to fly between McGuire AFB and Ramstein in the middle of the night. Having that cup to heat up water for your French press filled with your favorite Philly coffee at 30 degrees West, worth all $1,300!
     
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  40. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    So true.
     
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