But perhaps more in need of overhaul than the weapons systems themselves is the process that produces them. New weapons typically start out as ideas developed in one of the R&D labs belonging to the U.S. military or to private defense contractors such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin or hundreds of smaller companies around the country. As it progresses, though, a new technology may get bogged down by Byzantine red tape and excessive everything-but-the-kitchen-sink tinkering. Years may elapse--5, 10, 15 or more--while proposals and demonstrations are requested, Congressional approvals secured, contractors chosen, and the technology tested and fielded--and by then the weapon that emerges may be technologically obsolete, or designed for threats that no longer exist. The Defense Department has a history of continuing to fund needless programs because of political pressures and sheer momentum. A prime example: the Army's Comanche attack helicopter, which was canceled in February after a 21-year, $6.9 billion development program. One of its key missions, battlefield reconnaissance, is quickly being usurped by far less expensive unmanned aerial vehicles.