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Pentagon Spent $5 Billion For Weapons On Day Before Shutdown 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-not-a-penny-spent-on-lightsaber-research dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "John Reed at Foreign Policy reports that the Pentagon awarded 94 contracts Monday evening on its annual end-of-the-fiscal-year spending spree, spending more than five billion dollars on everything from robot submarines to Finnish hand grenades and a radar base mounted on an offshore oil platform. To put things in perspective, the Pentagon gave out only 14 contracts on September 3, the first workday of the month. Some of the more interesting purchases from Monday's dollar-dump include the $2.5 billion award the Defense Logistics Agency gave to aircraft engine-maker Pratt & Whitney for 'various weapons system spare parts' used by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, $65 million for military helmets from BAE Systems, $24 million for 'traveling wave tubes' to amplify radio signals from Thales, $17 million for liquid nitrogen, $15 million for helium and $19 million on cots. The Air Force, traditionally DOD's biggest spender, was relatively restrained; it dished out only 17 contracts including $49 million to help France buy 16 MQ-9 Reaper drones, $64 million to Lockheed for help operating spy satellites that are equipped with infrared cameras, and $9 million to URS Corp. for maintenance work on the Air National Guard's fleet of RC-26B spyplanes that help domestic law enforcement agencies catch drug dealers. The air service also spent $9 million on a new gym at the Air Force Academy that includes areas for CrossFit training, space for the academy's Triathlon Club and a 'television studio.' It just goes to show, says Reed, that 'even when the federal government is shutdown and the military has temporarily lost half its civilian workforce, the Pentagon can spend money like almost no one else.'"
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Pentagon Spent $5 Billion For Weapons On Day Before Shutdown

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @02:09PM (#45016831) Journal
    Aside from it being incrementally more legal than just handing the money directly to the manufacturer, why would the US be helping France pay for MQ-9s? Is there any way in which this isn't a pure handout to General Atomics, essentially Uncle Sam offering a manufacturer's rebate on their behalf?
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Because France is one of our allies(out oldest ally), and sometime allies negotiate deals.

      This is simply what the military need to run. Instead of spread out over a year.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @03:10PM (#45017631)

        Because France is one of our allies(out oldest ally), and sometime allies negotiate deals.

        If it wasn't for the French during the revolutionary war, we would all be speaking english right now.

        • by bobbied (2522392)
          It's fun to project what would have happened had the French not decided to poke a stick into the king of England's eye. Somehow, I don't think we'd still be colonies of Britain, but exactly *what* we would be had the likes of Franklin and Washington had been killed for treason and not been available to craft our constitution is hard to imagine.
          • by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @07:58PM (#45020825)
            Canada seems like a fairly close case for comparison. Australia or New Zealand too I guess.

            One thing to think about is that slavery was ended throughout the British empire 30 years before the civil war. Does that mean US independence delayed freedom for American slaves? Of course there is no knowing.

            • by dbIII (701233)
              No. The history of all of those was directly shaped by the American Revolution and at least two out of three on independance started with a political system very heavily based upon what the USA had at that time (~1900).
              It's very hard to imagine what the modern world would be like without the USA in it, and I'm somebody on the other side of the planet to the USA.
  • Hey guys, seriously. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eexaa (1252378) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @02:09PM (#45016833) Homepage

    Stop whining for money.
    Stop envying money.
    Stop money.
    It will be cool.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @02:17PM (#45016943) Journal

      Stop whining for money.
      Stop envying money.
      Stop money.
      It will be cool.

      I did that.
      I got hungry.
      So I found a job.
      It wasn't cool but better than hungry.

      • Given that the GP suggested the abolishment of currency, I'm pretty sure you're begging the question [wikipedia.org].
        • by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @03:48PM (#45018057) Homepage Journal

          Given that the GP suggested the abolishment of currency, I'm pretty sure you're begging the question [wikipedia.org].

          But begging the question is still better than begging for food.

          Cheers,
          Dave

        • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @04:34PM (#45018585) Journal
          Well, that sounds like an interesting enough train of thought.

          Let's assume that he's not suggesting we go back to the barter system, because that is essentially capitalism with additional drawbacks.

          We can't go to a post-scarcity world yet where you have everything you need and want, first because we don't have enough to satisfy our desires, and secondly because we'll probably never have enough to satisfy our desires.

          In practice, communes have not worked when they get too big.

          Lycurgus of Sparta legendarily had a potentially workable idea, when he decreed that iron would be the same value as gold and silver, essentially making all money worthless, and followed by creating the Spartan system. The primary drawback there is it requires the people to work constantly towards a common goal (external defense and suppression of the Helots in the case of Sparta). We don't have such a common goal in America that we all work towards.

          You can try the Marxist approach, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need;" a phase which ignores the distribution problem altogether, only works when people are altruistic (or shall we call them the 'new soviet women?), and then runs into problems when you have more than enough resources to supply everyone with their needs.

          So what exactly is your plan to get rid of currency?
  • by Xaedalus (1192463) <Xaedalys@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @02:10PM (#45016845)
    This article is pointless--the Federal fiscal year ended on September 30th. Of COURSE the Pentagon's going to spend money like crazy--just about every purchasing department in the Federal Government waits until the very last day to fill out their orders. Doing so allows them to negotiate for better deals to benefit us taxpayers, or allows them to be told how much they've got to spend. This is not a surprise, folks. It's just timing, that's all.
    • by tgd (2822)

      This article is pointless--a fiscal year ended on September 30th. Of COURSE the business is going to spend money like crazy--just about every purchasing department in the company waits until the very last day to fill out their orders. Doing so allows them to negotiate for better deals to benefit the shareholders, or allows them to be told how much they've got to spend. This is not a surprise, folks. It's just timing, that's all.

      There. Tweaked it a bit, just to drive home how moronic this article is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I am in the military and my department was not allowed to spend money for the last 6 months until last week, when money magically dropped. All of the necessary items had been seriously prioritized in the last six months, so the things that were purchased were not frivolous. Actually, the most frugal government year I have seen.

    • by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @02:23PM (#45017035)
      This. The last statement in the summary is just ridiculous.

      "even when the federal government is shutdown and the military has temporarily lost half its civilian workforce, the Pentagon can spend money like almost no one else."

      The government hadn't yet been shut down. They military hadn't yet lost "half its civilian workforce".

      This is normal end-of-fiscal-year activity. There is a lot of money that is allocated on contingency. Agencies don't always spend everything they were given. They don't know until late in September how much they haven't spent out of the allocated amounts, so they can't spend the rest until late September.

      Now, if you got rid of congress saying "you didn't spend all we gave you last year so we're going to give you less this year", you'd go a long way towards ending the end of year spending spree. You wouldn't completely end it because, of course, they have to give the leftover money back. If you got rid of that, too, the spree would be much smaller, if it happens at all.

      But why ARE we paying for France to buy drones?

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        But why ARE we paying for France to buy drones?

        Usually it's because France (or any other ally) has already paid (or at least agreed to pay) for the latest greatest military technology the US is willing to export, and they do so as a package deal. Then the US sends out the drones, the control stations, the trainers, the spare parts, the technicians... everything France needs, without France needing to run their own R&D program just to figure out what parts they need to purchase individually.

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        "But why ARE we paying for France to buy drones?"

        Most likely (this is how FMS works) - France paid the DoD, then the DoD paid a domestic contractor.

        So they're not financially helping France here - they're being a middleman and almost surely taking a cut.

      • Proposal: start tagging political stories with the informal fallacies they use in order to create spin. This one, for example, is a fairly clear-cut case of misleading vividness [wikipedia.org], or perhaps someone very unfamiliar with the budget jumping to conclusions [wikipedia.org].
    • I agree with you 100%. This is standard operating practice. The different branches all have a budget for the year, but do not know what emergency needs they will have during the year. For instance, the Navy won't know they need to buy 100 more Tomahawk missiles that year because they used 100 of them in some military action. There are all kinds of incidental items which can affect the ability to make some much needed equipment upgrades or other expenditures, but due to not knowing the unknowable operational
    • This is what is wrong with the typical bugetting system. The money should have the biggest benefit possible. Companies do it too. People do it too.
      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Companies operate like this all the time. Budgets are split based on departments. Almost never do departments with separate budgets share or reallocate between themselves for the best outcome of the company. Each department is a fiefdom, and the heads fight to spend all they can and ask for more.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gravis777 (123605)

      I was thinking along the same lines. It's the end of the year. It is their money - it was budgeted for them. You spend it or loose it, just like in any other department in any other company in the world.

      "Oh, no, they spent money budgeted for them! This is awful!"

      Buying helmets for soldiers? Sounds like a good buy (although isn't BAE British? Oh well, still an alley). $9 million on a gym at an Air Force Academy? Sounds like a reasonable price amount and a reasonable purchase. $64 million to Lockheed which em

    • by khallow (566160)

      just about every purchasing department in the Federal Government waits until the very last day to fill out their orders. Doing so allows them to negotiate for better deals to benefit us taxpayers

      I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way. You get to pay more for the privilege of buying at the last moment.

      Having said that, a lot of these deals are too big to have been negotiated in a short, rushed time frame. They probably were agreed to, months in advance and the funding broke loose in that last week. It still increases the cost of such transactions (due to factors such as charging interest for payments months delayed), but by less than the implied above route would.

      • by bws111 (1216812)

        You get to pay more for the privilege of buying at the last moment.

        You are sort of right, but not in the situation being discussed here. I think you are thinking of the situation where you have an urgent need for something, and require a short delivery time. For that siuation you are correct.

        However, that is not the situation here. Here, the situation is you have money that is 'expiring'. In addition, your vendors are probably ending their quarters/fiscal years and want their numbers to look good. In that situation, you get a better price, because you can say to the v

    • This article is pointless--the Federal fiscal year ended on September 30th. Of COURSE the Pentagon's going to spend money like crazy--just about every purchasing department in the Federal Government waits until the very last day to fill out their orders. Doing so allows them to negotiate for better deals to benefit us taxpayers, or allows them to be told how much they've got to spend. This is not a surprise, folks. It's just timing, that's all.

      Agreed. This is always done. But this article and subsequent posting by pointing out the Pentagon may, just may, be there to give the appearance of impropriety of one party versus another. Just sayin.

    • the Federal fiscal year ended on September 30th. Of COURSE the Pentagon's going to spend money like crazy

      wrong...you're taking some kind of 'in lab conditions only' perspective and you're dead wrong

      this is not a lab or poly sci theory class...this is 21st Century American military spending...it's been fucking anarchy for them since Bush/9/11 and Obama is doing his best to reign them in

      want specifics? for starters, these projects are unnecessary and over-budgeted...they are **typical** miliary/industrial com

  • I thought we had ban on exporting weapons to nations in war.

    Oh yeah, wars on abstract words don't count even if they include direct action.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @02:19PM (#45016973)

    The government continues to spend money on whatever it wants.

    The government, after the shutdown, spent money to rent barricades to close off national monuments that are normally open 24x7 with no means of closing access.

    They also spent money and time to turn off things like the "Panda Cam" that they could have just kept on until it failed.

    Any actual layoffs or closures are wholly there to annoy you and make you think you need government more than you do.

    Reject closures and go where you like. It's your land.

    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      The government, after the shutdown, spent money to rent barricades to close off national monuments that are normally open 24x7 with no means of closing access.

      Of course. You can't leave public parks and monuments open to the public when you can shut them down create more upset and use it to political advantage.

      They also spent money and time to turn off things like the "Panda Cam" that they could have just kept on until it failed.

      The NASA website is closed, too. Nothing there that was available prior to the shutdown is now available. I guess the NASA website requires constant attention from a staff of IT web professionals just to keep it up. Otherwise, let the existing content be available and just don't add new things.

      Any actual layoffs or closures are wholly there to annoy you and make you think you need government more than you do.

      And to make political hay while the sun shines. As Saul Alins

      • Keeping a website up costs money in terms of bandwidth and electricity. If they have no money to pay for either of those and they haven't paid in advance, it actually could cause a site to go down...

    • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @02:38PM (#45017223) Homepage

      The government, after the shutdown, spent money to rent barricades to close off national monuments that are normally open 24x7 with no means of closing access.

      ...And now it's spending less money on having fewer security guards.

      They also spent money and time to turn off things like the "Panda Cam" that they could have just kept on until it failed.

      ...Ensuring a clean shutdown from a known-good state, rather than expecting they'll need to spend more time troubleshooting everything when they get back.

      Any actual layoffs or closures are wholly there to annoy you and make you think you need government more than you do.

      If you're in a position to be laid off by the government, you're already pretty dependent on it. Once laid off, you have time to look for a job that isn't so tightly integrated with the madness of Congress. Layoffs seem to have the effect of pushing people away from government dependence.

      Reject closures and go where you like. It's your land.

      It is my land, isn't it? And it's also my neighbor's land, and his cousin's, and his nephew's friend's dog's mother's owner's dentist's son's land, too. It's all of ours, and the majority of us have decided to accept a common authority to ensure that the freedoms and amenities we have today are still around for our descendents. That means we want adequate security to keep vandals from screwing up our shiny monuments, and we want jackasses in the vocal minority to stop assuming they can be exempt from the rules by just ignoring authority. That's my government you're denouncing, and my neighbor's, and his cousin's, and his nephew's friend's dog's mother's owner's dentist's son's, too.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        ...Ensuring a clean shutdown from a known-good state, rather than expecting they'll need to spend more time troubleshooting everything when they get back.

        You've never run a webcam site, have you? I have. If it fails, it fails. There is no "clean shutdown" necessary. You still fix the same thing when it breaks.

        Layoffs seem to have the effect of pushing people away from government dependence.

        This isn't a layoff, it's a furlough. Every one of those employees who isn't working today expects to go back to the same job with the same rate of pay and the same amount of accrued vacation and sick leave that they had when they left. In fact, they can't have less leave because they are prohibited from using leave time to cover the shutdown. Leave

        • by Sarten-X (1102295)

          You've never run a webcam site, have you? I have. If it fails, it fails. There is no "clean shutdown" necessary. You still fix the same thing when it breaks.

          I've run a streaming radio station. Whenever we shut down, we had to first shut down our external relay, or it would get badly confused when we came back, and it took about three hours to fix. I doubt the Panda Cam is run on a dedicated relay, though... it's more likely stuck on to another server running other services, which are probably more complicated, and probably also much more damaging if failed. There's also the strong possibility that the order came down to shut down the whole data center, rather t

          • by Obfuscant (592200)

            There's also the strong possibility that the order came down to shut down the whole data center, rather than just the Panda Cam.

            Of course. It's better to inconvenience as many people as you can when you are taking advantage of a crisis.

            As I understand, though, there is still the threat of layoffs in several places, since the budget that does eventually pass is a pretty wild unknown.

            The "budget" that passed both houses was a continuing resolution. The difference was funding for ACA. If it passed the first time, chances are good it will pass again. The benefit is that there will be more money for salaries because the first few days weren't spent on those.

        • by bobbied (2522392)

          ...Ensuring a clean shutdown from a known-good state, rather than expecting they'll need to spend more time troubleshooting everything when they get back.

          You've never run a webcam site, have you? I have. If it fails, it fails. There is no "clean shutdown" necessary. You still fix the same thing when it breaks.

          More likely, they just turned off a whole set of systems for safe keeping while the administrative staff responsible for them are sitting at home. It just so happened that the web cam feed was disrupted when everything got shut down.

      • by khallow (566160)

        That's my government you're denouncing, and my neighbor's, and his cousin's, and his nephew's friend's dog's mother's owner's dentist's son's, too.

        Sounds like maybe you guys deserve it. Hope the warranty didn't run out.

      • ...And now it's spending less money on having fewer security guards.

        Have you ever been to ANY national monument? They may have police around, but no "federal guards". They have staff - that were there for posted hours, not the 24x7 the monument is available to walk through.

        And just how do you imagine simple barricades would stop a grafitti artist anyway? ...Ensuring a clean shutdown from a known-good state

        Come on.

        If you're in a position to be laid off by the government, you're already pretty dependent on

    • The government, after the shutdown, spent money to rent barricades to close off national monuments that are normally open 24x7 with no means of closing access

      Yeah, so those parks don't get covered in trash, graffiti, and meth labs while nobody is available to patrol them.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        Yeah, so those parks don't get covered in trash, graffiti, and meth labs while nobody is available to patrol them.

        Good to know that federal law enforcement is considered a non-essential service that is not exempted from the furloughs.

        • by Sarten-X (1102295)

          Law enforcement is essential. Guiding tours, emptying trash cans, cleaning restrooms, and having enough security to watch tens of thousands of visitors each day are all non-essential.

          • by Obfuscant (592200)
            Covering a park in trash, building a meth lab, spraying graffiti -- all are violations of law. The OP wasn't talking about maintenance, he was talking about criminal acts. Yes, I agree that law enforcement is an essential service, but apparently not to the government since dealing with criminals in the parks isn't.
            • State and local law enforcement services are not staffed, trained, or equipped to patrol massive parks.

  • I may or may not agree with their mission and goals, but given the fact that the government shutdown was more or less known about for months ahead of occurring, I'd like to think that the bureaucrats at the pentagon were simply doing their job by making these large contract awards instead of pretending that the shutdown wasn't going to happen.

    e.g. it's a lot easier to deal with a delay in paying for spare parts on the tail end than it is to do without those parts on the front end.

  • by sirwired (27582) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @02:21PM (#45017001)

    Pretty much any large organization with annual budgets burns through any remaining money before the fiscal year runs out. The reasoning is simple: if you don't spend every penny, budget planners inevitably use that as evidence you didn't need the money and will give you less the next year, even if you then turn out to need it.

    In addition, there may be special projects the authorization for which expires at the end of the fiscal year.

    Lastly, the people selling the stuff have targets of their own to meet and will often give special deals if you close the deal before the end of their fiscal year.

    • by dirk (87083)

      Pretty much any large organization with annual budgets burns through any remaining money before the fiscal year runs out. The reasoning is simple: if you don't spend every penny, budget planners inevitably use that as evidence you didn't need the money and will give you less the next year, even if you then turn out to need it.

      If you have to burn money at the end of the year, then you DON'T need it. The very definition of having too much money in the budget is having to work and find places to spend it all so you don't lose it.

      • by Firethorn (177587)

        If you have to burn money at the end of the year, then you DON'T need it.

        You're missing part of it. Expenses are generally NOT static. Consider a personal level - Let's say that my annual expenses were $18k last year, but I got $20k to cover it.. This year I discover my roof needs fixing ($2k), so actually 'need' the full $20k.

        What tends to happen is that if they have a year where they only spend $18M they lower that authorization down to $18M. So 2012 - $20M, 2013 - $18M. So now when the roof breaks they don't have the ability to fix it without compromising the mission in

      • by mdielmann (514750)

        Pretty much any large organization with annual budgets burns through any remaining money before the fiscal year runs out. The reasoning is simple: if you don't spend every penny, budget planners inevitably use that as evidence you didn't need the money and will give you less the next year, even if you then turn out to need it.

        If you have to burn money at the end of the year, then you DON'T need it. The very definition of having too much money in the budget is having to work and find places to spend it all so you don't lose it.

        While this is true in general, there are other specific issues that complicate things. Let's say you need $1M every year, at most. One year in 3 you only really need $850k. If you don't spend that $150k, you won't have the $150k you're going to need next year without fighting for it. If budgets weren't measured merely by last year's spending, but used some more complicated trending, as well as including incentives to keep budgets low, perhaps we wouldn't have this issue as badly.

        As a general rule, peopl

      • I didn't say this was a good thing or fiscally prudent. Just that using it to agure: "Look at how horrible our government is." it's not really a good example, as it occurs in pretty much every single large organization that uses annual budgets and breaks them into pieces.

        We use annual budgets because "making things up as you go along" (expense planning on an "as-needed" basis) gets quite exhausting and makes advance planning difficult. In response, pretty much every large organization uses annual budges,

  • Cannot just hand out grants to scientific research in the last few hours of the day. Nor the NIH.

    Shit like this is what makes me angry at the priorities of the US. There is a very good reason that the NSF program directors can't hand out money to their buddies - proposals need to be submitted, evaluated, debated, etc. But were there multiple competitors for the money given to Pratt and Whitney? Did they have to read, deliberate, and have experts from various organizations debate the merits? Or did some guys

    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      But were there multiple competitors for the money given to Pratt and Whitney? Did they have to read, deliberate, and have experts from various organizations debate the merits? Or did some guys get together and say - 'we have a really tough job to do; we need to distribute several billions in a few days/hours'?

      The summary is a wonderful rant on the government bypassing shutdown, but a few facts might clear things up. The government wasn't yet shutdown when the contract was awarded to Pratt and Whitney. There goes the "military can spend while the government is shut down! " rant.

      And then, by simply following the Reuters article linked to in the summary itself, you will find that the contract is:

      • Sole source. Sole-sourcing a contract means you've got a justification for not bidding it out. That justification migh
    • by Sepodati (746220)

      Have you ever written a contract? A price estimate? Bid? Even sole-source requires a lot of work.

      This isn't walk in and "where do I sign for some money?"

  • "We spend more money by 9 AM than most countries do all year"
  • "only 17 contracts including $49 million to help France buy 16 MQ-9 Reaper drones" I'm confused. Why are we helping France buy drones again? Shouldn't they be buying their own? And if its our technology, shouldn't they be paying us?
  • It could be worse, they could have spent that money to let creepy uncle sam rape you at the doctor's office. [youtube.com] Thanks for doing what in the people's best interest! (People that don't donate to election campaigns aren't REAL people!)

    I don't want to live on this planet anymore. [youtube.com]

  • It only seems that way because they signed the deal with Lockheed for the F-35 LRIP6 and LRIP7 contracts on the 24th of September, which together total $7.8Billion.

  • unfunded requests

    you would budget for lots of things but there wouldn't be enough money for it
    at the end of the FY there was a huge pot of money left over that would be divided up and spent. every last penny because if you come in under budget then next year's budget is cut.

    i used to have a government credit card and had to buy lots of worthless stuff just to spend money

  • "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."

    Supposedly said by Everett Dirksen when he appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. There seems to be some question as to whether he actually said it but there are lots of sources that attribute it to him. Unfortunately, the archives for the Tonight Show don't go back far enough to include his appearance.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  • The Pentagon budget is roughly 700T. Given 250 working days per year they need to spend about 3B a day. So at the end of the month they tend to spend a bit more to catch up. $5B is just BAU (Business As Usual).

    Nothing to see here, just move along.

  • This is no different than an IT budget that gets to the end of the year, realizes it still has some extra money, and then goes and makes a few extra purchases before the money disappears. I really don't see why this is such a big deal.
  • by EMG at MU (1194965) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @03:57PM (#45018193)
    The problem is not that they renewed all these contracts at the EOY, the problem is that while the asshats in washington are bitching about spending on things like social programs and health care (not saying they are good or bad programs) the asshats at the Pentagon are spending money like a /.er at Frys and no one is discussing that.

    I would love the discussion to be about whether or not we need to make these purchases given the state of our government budget and the global military situation.

    Do we need to bribe France to buy war machines from American defence companies? Especially when we are sending home kids in Head-Start?
  • Is it really necessary for government agencies to shut down access to public datasets and post messages about how everything is shutdown on their websites?

    The systems are still up and running, Internet connectivity still up they just decided they would actively disable access to information wasting employee time to implement these changes for seemingly little to no productive reason. It is one thing to pull the plug if there is no money but they clearly have not done so.

    I could see pressure to mine public

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @04:31PM (#45018549) Homepage

    The cutoff date was also the end of the third quarter of 2013, and budgets have to be overrun or it would get cut next year (provided Congress and the President ever came up with a budget). My guess is that there's a flurry of spending on 9/30 (or the Friday directly before then if 9/30 falls on a weekend) every single year going back a couple of decades.

    It's sort of like Neil DeGrasse Tyson's argument against one of the 2012 scares about planetary alignment: The planetary alignment the worrywarts were claiming was a disaster was going to happen on December 21, 2012, but it also happened on the winter solstice in every year before that.

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

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