00:53 GMT +324 October 2019
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    A US Army's Patriot Surface-to Air missile system is displayed during the Air Power Day at the US airbase in Osan, south of Seoul on October 12, 2008

    Pentagon to Permit Cost Overruns on Patriot Missile Program - Ex-US Army Officer

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    Retired US Army Major and historian Todd Pierce claims that the US Department of Defense is likely to ignore an official report urging it to set up effective oversight controls to prevent cost excesses on the $2.9 billion Patriot missile upgrades program.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Department of Defense is likely to ignore an official report urging it to set up effective oversight controls to prevent cost excesses on the $2.9 billion Patriot missile upgrades program, retired US Army Major and historian Todd Pierce told Sputnik.

    "It is not likely or feasible that oversight controls will be set up," Pierce said on Friday. "To think they will [be established] is the triumph of hope over reality with all the evidence we have to go by."

    On Thursday, the US government’s General Accountability Office (GAO) urged the Defense Department Defense in a report to establish effective oversight of the $2.9 million upgrade of the Patriot surface-to-air missile system.

    However, Pierce predicted that the continuing power of the defense lobby in the US Congress would ensure that no such oversight mechanism would be established, or if it appeared to, that would be for public appearances only.

    "The militarists in Congress only will agree to rein in ‘entitlement spending,’ meaning Social Security and other essential domestic spending with military spending continuing its exponential growth, though much of that is hidden by classification and other gimmicks," he said.

    The lack of oversight on spending on the Patriot program documented by the GAO was a common practice throughout the US military-industrial complex (MIC), Pierce warned.

    Such unsupervised spending without adequate oversight is as widespread as the MIC itself as none of it is responsibly supervised in a meaningful way that takes account of real economic needs," he stated.

    The GAO report noted that the US Army had decided against putting a system in place to track the program against initial estimates of cost and performance, even though that is an accepted procedure with major Defense Department acquisition programs.

    The GAO also urged Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to direct the US Army to establish oversight mechanisms, similar to those for other big defense procurements.

    Todd E. Pierce served in the US Army Judge Advocate General Corps and retired in November 2012.


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