Every year, tens of billions of Pentagon dollars go missing. The money vanishes not because of fraud, waste or abuse, but because U.S. military planners have appropriated it to secretly develop advanced weapons and fund clandestine operations. Next year, this so-called black budget will be even larger than it was in the Cold War days of1987, when the leading black-budget watchdog, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), began gathering reliable estimates. The current total is staggering: $58 billion—enough to pay for two complete Manhattan Projects.
Where does the money go? Tracking the black budget has always been a challenge. Constantly shifting project names that seem to be randomly generated by computers—Tractor Cage, Tractor Card, Tractor Dirt, Tractor Hike and Tractor Hip are all real examples—make linking dollar amounts to technologies impossible for outsiders. But there are clues.
According to Todd Harrison, an analyst at the CSBA, the allocations for classified operations in the 2011 federal budget include $19.4 billion for research and development across all four branches of the military (funding for the CIA, including its drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is contained within the Defense Department black budget), another $16.9 billion for procurement, and $14.6 billion for "operations and maintenance." This latter category, Harrison notes, has been expanding quickly. This may suggest that many classified technologies are now moving from the laboratory to the battlefield.
In fact, the rise in classified defense spending accompanies a fundamental change in American military strategy. After the attacks of September 11, the Pentagon began a shift away from its late Cold War–era "two-war strategy," premised on maintaining the ability to conduct two major military operations simultaneously, and began to focus instead on irregular warfare against individuals and groups. That strategic shift most likely coincides with an investment shift, away from technology that enables large-scale, possibly nuclear, war against superpower states and toward technology that helps military planners hunt and kill individuals. Each branch of the military uses different language to describe this process. Pentagon officials have spoken openly about their desire to use advanced technology to "reduce sensor-to-shooter time" in situations involving "time-sensitive targets." The head of U.S. Special Operations Command talks about "high-tech manhunting," while Air Force officials describe plans to compress the "kill chain."
Even inside the Pentagon, few people know the precise details of the black budget. But by combining what is known about Pentagon goals and what is known about the most recent advances in military technology, we can begin to sketch its general contours.
The first link in the kill chain: finding the person to hunt. Particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this type of intelligence gathering is increasingly done using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). According to the New America Foundation, a nonprofit think tank, the U.S. conducted 45 drone strikes in Pakistan in the first six months of this year. The centrality of unmanned aircraft to such missions suggests that the black budget is almost certainly already funding next-generation drones.
In April 2009, a French magazine published a photograph of one recent product of that funding—a slender-winged aircraft that had previously been spotted in southern Afghanistan and that aerospace experts had begun calling the Beast of Kandahar. After another photograph surfaced, this one a clear shot of the craft on the runway in Kandahar, the Air Force issued a statement that finally gave the Beast a formal identity: the RQ-170 Sentinel.
Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the RQ-170 is a tailless flying wing with the telltale shape and surface contours of a stealth aircraft. Black-plane watchers immediately noticed similarities between the RQ-170 and Lockheed's unmanned Polecat aircraft, which UAV observers had long speculated was being developed in secret and which was finally made public at the Farnborough International Airshow in England in 2006. The Air Force says that the Sentinel is a reconnaissance drone, a claim supported by the aircraft's lack of visible armaments, by the sensors that appear to be embedded in its wings, and by its "RQ" designation.
But much about the RQ-170 is puzzling. Why would the Air Force need a stealth aircraft in Afghanistan, a country with no radar defense system? It wouldn't, according to those familiar with the drone. The RQ-170 was developed with a more sophisticated enemy, perhaps China, in mind. That doesn't mean it couldn't be adapted for current conflicts, however. Unlike the relatively easy-to-spot Predator and Reaper drones, the RQ-170's stealth could allow it to conduct missions that those aircraft cannot, such as clandestine tracking, or slipping unnoticed across Afghanistan's border into Iran or Pakistan to spy on their nuclear programs.
Aircraft like the RQ-170, the Predator and the Reaper can get only so close to their targets, of course, which is why the Pentagon is developing micro-drones designed to investigate dangerous terrain undetected. In April the Washington Post reported that the CIA was using pizza-platter-size micro-drones to find insurgents in Pakistan. And the 2010 Pentagon budget contains a brief unclassified reference to Project Anubis, a micro-drone developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory. The Air Force won't talk about that specific vehicle, but a more general 2008 marketing video released by the lab did suggest that future micro-UAVs might be equipped with "incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads, or even explosives for precision targeting capability." The video depicts an explosives-laden drone dive-bombing and killing a sniper. Budget documents indicate that Project Anubis (named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead) is now complete, which means a lethal micro-drone could already be in the field.
ATTENTION ALL PEOPLE WHO KNOW NOTHING!
@Aileen Aranzame if you were tested on w/ microwave weapons, you were paid... You agreed to this.
@Hobittual Total BS. If you kill a cop, you'll rot in prison, shooting you is pointless, and cops realize this. No US official told you otherwise. Additionally, if you knew anything, you would know that the abomb saved both Japanese and American lives. (1.5-3 Million on both sides) An invasion of Japan would have been much worse.
@dontbother The US Military is not allowed to operate on US citizens or cities. Plus, the military uses stealth for enemy radar, not friendly radar. (like on Iran)
@Oakspar77777 if Bin Ladon was spotted, he would be taken dead or alive. Alive is preferred, so the american people can watch him die after his trial.
@Dustin2127 the most rich country is always hates, and requires the largest armies. Although the budget is still insatiably high.
Anyone ever told you that you're crazy?
She... not he...
Your logic is flawed and therefore your observation and opinion is invalid.
Thank you for playing.
Bin Ladin has always been a target, he's been a target since the first attack on the WTC. Bin Ladin has been know as a terrorist and fundamentally anti-American since I was a child. I remember reading an arcticle around 1995 in Reader's Digest about Bin Ladin. It was titled "Why this Man Wants You Dead".
"1) Yes it is murder, only reasonable force may be used otherwise it is murder. Soldiers in every war and many police have been punished for using unreasonable force."
WRONG. Maybe you should learn to read first. First the subject was the American military which is not remotely the same thing as police. Secondly there is something every Marine learns called deadly force. If a Marine sees some douche-bag shooting up a school he can legally apply deadly force and kill the bastard. If I was on duty and I saw to scum bags raping a woman I can invoke deadly force and put a .45 round in each of there skulls. Legally.
You have no clue what you're talking about here.
Correction, the United States is the only country that has used an Atomic weapon as an instrument of war. The Soviet Union tested atomic weapons numerous times, North Korea and India all have tested atomic weapons. Nazi Germany is even believed to have tested an early stage atomic weapon. Although belief is that the weapon the Nazis used were the equivelint of a "Dirty Bomb". Not to mention, when the Germans tested their weapon, they killed their own civilians with the subsequent radiation fallout from their testing.
I'll take your comments as unqualified opinions. As you obviously lack any and all knowledge with regards to the subject matter.
If you think that countries like China and North Korea are largely benevolant, then you've got another thing coming. Just because the United States discontinues weapon research and development does not mean that they wont.
Some research on China's military capabilites might be in order for you. Their military development is not for defense, its for Asian-Pacific domination.
Additionally, the ONLY reason why China has not expanded any further is because the United States Navy keeps them in check.
Blanketing the country with schools is a nice sentiment but you still need to provide security and kill wing-nut Taliban d-bags. Building schools and co-ops means nothing if the people you claim to want to help prefer flying planes into buildings and blowing up nightclubs.
People seem to forget that our military budget is what it is because we subsidize the security of our allies.
Well, that dissolving fleschette shooting umbrella that George H.W. Bush used to kill JFK and the will-weakening, amnesia inducing (vaporous, clear liquid with consistency similar to ethanol) drug the CIA developed to automate assassinations probably cost a lot less than 58 billion dollars, little good it did us in the hands of the republican party of the United States. They merely murdered JFK, MLK, RFK, LBJ, George Wallace, Vince Foster, framed two other Kennedy family members (killed a girl), broke into the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate, shot at Ford twice, wounded Ronald Reagan, embarrassed Wilber Mills, murdered White House Counsel Vince Foster, maybe JFK, jr., too. Republicans have poisoned whole ballrooms full of Democratic Party members.
The only way our republican party has stayed competitive is with murder dirty tricks, and burglary tools. Running for office as a Democrat, even at the lowest level, can cost one one's job, one's wife, even one's own life. Where is our FBI? Maybe we should be spending all those big bucks trying to stop criminal behavior instead of promoting it? Just a thought.
A lot of that "Black Budget" spending should be called fraud, waste and abuse. There are a lot of people who would like to believe that the military is using that money to develop a bunch of Buck Rodgers technology. But, little advanced technology ever reaches the field.
Much of that money is funneled to Defense Contractors through projects that are way over priced and that often reach a dead end like much of the "Star Wars" project. Some of the projects require technology that doesn't even exist. Some money goes to researching technologies that don't even make sense. For instance, the technology to launch hyper-speed weapons into orbit on command to hit anywhere in the world in thirty minutes may sound doable the way Pop Sci describes it. But, even if we have the technology, the cost of maintaining such a system in constant readiness would be outrageous. Even then, there is no guarantee that it will work dependably. The more complicated the system, the more it is down and the harder it is to repair.
Our Defense Department is more likely to build a factory to make obsolete vacuum tubes for much of it's obsolete technology than actually replace it with more efficient technology. They still have problems keeping their systems in the field up and running. They take forever just to get parts because of their outdated procurement system.
People have always been disposable. The thing that DOD hates is witnesses with cameras and proof. A lot of people die every year because their weapons systems failed in time of need or never worked right to begin with. Soldiers are often the guinea pigs. Nano-machines and sensors are little more than simplistic devices that do little more than demonstrate a principle. They just aren't practical for mass production. The DOD funds a lot of projects that are absolutely worthless and politicians receive some of their biggest contributions from defense companies. What a coincidence!
I worked for the DOD for many years and have witness some really stupid and wasteful spending of your tax money. Your Congressional representatives know a lot more than they let on about where it is going.
Come on Aileen....
jdkchem - I guarantee if you blow someone away as you suggest you'll be before a review board explaining/justifying you actions.
@jdkchem hollycow is suggesting that you should wait until the rapists are finished doing their unspeakable deeds and then aprehend them.
Apparently the life of an innocent means nothing compared to the life of a rapist or a murderer.
"... As you obviously lack any and all knowledge with regards to the subject matter..."
that's being quite rude and extremely arrogant, not to mention presumptuous. Because I come to an opinion that's different than yours, I must be an uneducated idiot? Also, I never said that rogue states were benevolent (where the hell did you pull that from?), but I think that the threat of ICBMs and a missile shield are enough to keep NK in check expansion-wise and do not object to their usage (in retaliation of course). As for China, the path ahead is less clear; although I certainly think that we're handling it horribly. For instance, discouraging computer literacy (read:hacking). But I highly doubt we're the only restraining factor in their growth as you so assume.
For the record, I'm a libertarian and I'm an isolationist. Though I do believe the UN needs to be given the power to deal with genocidal maniac dictators in military force.
Technology is a wonderful thing, but not the only thing.
Back in the 1980s or even the late 70s I seem to recall that the technology in our aircraft and air to air missiles permitted us to kill 4 Eastern Block aircraft even before they knew we were there. Unfortunately the USSR had a five to one aircraft superiority at that time.....do the math. See the F-15 and F16 and the Phoenix Missile systems.
Microwave Energy Beam....Hmmm, does anyone remember the MASER? Predated the laser by about a decade, back in the 50s and 60s.
Hypersonic RAM/SCRAM Jets and drones...once again, seems 50s and 60s technology to me....look up the BOMARC systems. Granted they were not hypersonic then, but the materials weren't available to permit it. The BOMARC was supposed to be an unmanned vehicle capable of very high speed medium distance intercept. The Nike-Ajax and Hercules systems were also conceived of in the same frame though they were pure rocket powered. I remember the sites in South Florida from when I was a child/teen.
Satellite imaging technologies....nothing really new here either, the only thing is an ongoing incremental increase in resolution given the gains in digital imaging across the entire spectrum and the computing power and algorithms that can be thrown into the analysis of the images. NASA has been using these technologies for years for both deep space and solar observations.
The uptake of these technologies isn't the thing. Permitting the personnel on the ground to have access to them is relatively new. Better information leads to better decisions. The use of this information in the decisions is controlled by POLICY, not technology. Through technology we are reducing the "fog of war", and bringing more reliable information to those that need it, the question is if there is so much information that it is leading to a lack of decision, and thus the continuation of BAD POLICIES.
It's not rude or arrogant, it simply is. Also, it's not opinion, it's fact. To believe that you should cut the US Military budget by as much as you say it should IS saying that we should ignore other threats to our national security. If you dont like the facts that have been derrived from your statement, then perhaps you should THINK about what you say before you say it.
No, the way ahead for China is very clear. Do the research. You can find the aggressiveness of China in any news report relating to China and their deplomacy as well as how aggressive they are in international waters to ANY ships out there. RESEARCH. It's your best friend.
BTW, it's not an assumption. It's knowledge, it's fact.
I'll echo my earlier words, it's not arrogance, its not an assumption, it's knowledge of FACTS.
Just so you know, isolationism does not mean that the threats to the country cease to exist. I'll refer you to Germany's telegram to Mexico offering states along the US - Mexico border if they agreed to attack the US during WWI, I'll also refer you to the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec 7 1941. A strong military is the ONLY deterrant against less than benevolant countries.
I suggest you go back and read what you said... It was screaming naivety and ignorance. It's unbecoming.
See the difference here is I know because I keep track of what is going on in the world.
Perhaps serving would change your perspective. I know it has for nearly 100% of the people I served with for 7 years.
eh... Mach 20?... Really?
"Every year, tens of billions of Pentagon dollars go missing. The money vanishes not because of fraud, waste or abuse..."
-Should read : "...The money vanishes not JUST because..."
LOL, just send in those coward Apache or Drone pilots. They kill anything that moves. Women, Children, reporters, entire city blocks, they dont care!
During the unfortunate American civil war it was common for the South to send sabateurs into the North to try and set fire to the many wooden railroad trestles that facilitated the movement and supply of Northern armies.
These brave young men wore civilian clothes and tried their best to lose their southern accents. When apprehended many dozens of such fellows were summarily hanged by the orders of U.S. Grant following a hearing on the spot of capture by the ranking officer present. Several times there were mass hangings of six or more men.
The drone program is flawed. What was supposed to give us surveillance capabilities and the ability to eavesdrop and track our enemies has been sidetracked by miniature missiles mounted under the wings of these drones. Sure, it's fun to see a Hellfire missile take out a car load of terrorists, but wouldn't it work better, as a system, to use the drone to track them to a specific location where they can be arrested or detained in order to see if they can give us information about who they're working with and what they're planning?
Aileen, just get yourself a lead lined burqa and you'll be fine. The missing money thing, who knows! Maybe it's for stealth drones, Hulk suits, AI, the Stargate, no one can really say. Or maybe newer and better RF weapons to test on Aileen. LOL! :)
Hahahah Hey BNicholson that was good tell another one.
No! Do you arrest a mad dog and ask it where it took its last crap? Who cares, just kill it.