Trillions for Military Technology

Trillions for Military Technology

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Trillions for Military Technology explains why the weapons purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense cost so much, why it takes decades to get them into production even as innovation in the civilian economy becomes ever more frenetic, and why some of those weapons don’t work very well despite expenditures of many billions of dollars.  It also explains what do about these problems.  The author argues that the internal politics of the armed services make weapons acquisition almost unmanageable.  Solutions require empowering civilian officials and reforms that will bring choice of weapons “into the sunshine” of public debate.
John Alic writes and consults on policy issues related to technology and science. As a staff member at the congressional Office of Technology Assessment from 1979 to 1995, he directed studies on international competitiveness and technology policy. He is a co-author of Beyond Spinoff: Military and Commercial Technologies in a Changing World, which appeared in 1992, and New Rules for a New Economy: Employment and Opportunity in Postindustrial America, a Century Foundation book published in 1998. Alic is also author or co-author of many over 100 papers, articles, case studies, and book chapters. A graduate of Cornell, Stanford, and the University of Maryland, hHe has taught at several universities, most recently as an adjunct at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

“Many people know that the military budget has grown uncontrollably large, without understanding exactly how, or why, or how much of it is wasted, or whether it could be more sensibly addressed toward the nation’s real security needs. John Alic’s book is a significant step forward in clarifying all these issues – and especially in explaining why the commercial world’s continuing application of advanced technology has been so much more effective and economical than the Pentagon’s. This book is clear, specific, well-written, and very valuable. I hope whoever is devising the next Administration’s policy on defense pays attention to it.”
–James Fallows, author of Blind into Baghdad and National Defense 
“Effectively combines basic technical understanding, a clear-sighted view of the way the process has evolved since the early 20th century, and close familiarity with the actual recent workings of the process. Many have noted the flaws in the defense acquisition process, but no one has so clearly identified their origins.”
–Barton C. Hacker, Smithsonian Institution