Explain the problems of defense industry with examples.

1.   Large military build-ups: $2 billion cost overrun on the development of C5-A cargo plane reported to the public by Ernest Fitzgerald due to poor operating efficiencies in defense industry. He pointed out how large suppliers felt secure in not complying to cost-cutting plans but small contractors were willing.

   25%  firms  hold  50%of  all defense  contracts  and  8  firms  conduct  45% of defense research.

2.    Technology creep: The arms are not only growing in size, it is also becoming better. The development of a new missile or one that can target more accurately, by one country, can upset or destabilize a diplomatic negotiation. Sometimes this fad for modernization leads to undesirably consequences.  The F15 fighter planes were supposed  to be fastest  and most maneuverable  of its kind but most were not available  for service due to repairs, defects and lack of spares. Engineers should be beware of such pitfalls.

3.    Impact of secrecy: Secrecy poses problems to engineers. Engineers should be aware of the answers to the following questions:

Should  discoveries  of significance  to  military  be  informed  to govt.?  Can  they be shared with other researchers, in other countries? Should they be withheld from the scientific and public community? Will the secrecy in weapons development will also serve to hide corruption or their mistakes  in defense  establishments?  Can secrecy help  the  promotion  of  weapons  systems  without  criticism  or  interference  from outsiders?

4.   Effect on economy: Every dollar spent on defense produces less jobs than what could be provided for by using the resource on other neglected sectors such as education and road development.  May be a changeover by training defense engineers to use their designs, processes  and  techniques  to bring about better,  competitive  civilian  products  is what would be the most appropriate thing to do now.

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