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The $5 Billion Misunderstanding: The Collapse of the Navy's A-12 Stealth Bomber Program Hardcover – 2001
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"...a chilling tale of noncommunication, mismanagement, and deception...required reading for all in the Cabinet, Congress, and the Pentagon." -- Air & Space, February/March 2002
"This book should be required reading for the Cabinet, Congress and the Pentagon." -- Indianapolis Star, May 11, 2002
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Top customer reviews
I worked at McAir during the period covered by this book. I watched about 6,000 hard-working engineers and technicians get laid off in a single week, and I had to do the work of three peoople after those layoffs, so yes, I'm pretty bitter about the whole thing. But anyone who pays taxes ought to be bitter about the totally irresponsible (and yes, illegal) way the program was conceived, awarded, managed, and terminated.
My only complaint is that the book covers only the top-level decision-making. You won't find any "lessons learned" on program management or personal stories of the fraud, waste, and abuse that went on. Oh, yes, in spite of assertions to the contrary, McDonnell and GD BOTH cooked the books and overspent WILDLY on travel, overtime, and facilities (although the description of GD's Building 500 [page 196] is a nice appetizer for the KIND of waste that I saw SO VERY MUCH of.) Still, this is the first time the story has been brought to the attention of the general public, and it's one that is more relevant than ever today. "Black" programs make up increasingly large percentages of the defense budget and it is nearly impossible for Congress to see just exactly what is being done with that money. Highly recommended reading.
Our Congressmen should have to pass a test after reading it before they can be seated.
What I did feel was missing, was a telling of general euphoria, arrogance, and excitement that defined the Pentagon during the Regan adminstrations. Money flowed like water and every service -- not just the Navy or the Air Force -- rushed to the trough. Black programs, especially stealth, proliferated wildely, and all this was just considered "normal". Of course there were billions of dollars being wasted on programs such as the A-12, but then everybody was doing it! I wish a bit more of the popular attitudes of the times had been addressed to provide context.