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Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex Paperback – March 6, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Actually the corporate history of LM is interesting enough that one wished Hartung had gone into more detail. In any event it provides enough of a sketchy history to follow how small scale airplane manufacturing effort begun by the Loughead brothers (who latter changed the spelling to Lockheed to avoid having people mispronounce their name) was gradually transformed into the aero-space giant that it is today.
The bulk of the book really is concerned with showing why what should be a fairly straight forward process of a military service buying a weapon system has become such a convoluted and complicated business. Since before its merger with Martin Marietta, LM was primarily an aircraft manufacturer, Hartung provides a lot of examples of USAF procurement practices with the unwritten assumption they are representative of DOD as a whole.
First there is the universal practice of low bidding. That is a contractor will purposely try to win a contractor by offering to produce a system at a much lower cost than what it will actually cost to produce. Once the contract is awarded the cost then can be adjusted upward in collusion with the client.Read more ›
This and a few other little slips throughout the book suggest hasty writing and weak editing.
I agree with the reviewers who understand that the problems are more in the overal acquisition process the government uses than any one single company. But the author's visceral hatred of Lockheed-Martin clouds his judgment.
For example: Lockheed's Cheyenne helicopter project was cancelled in the 1960's after building 10 ships and spending a half a billion dollars before finally being confronted with technological issues. This is held up as an example of LM corruption. Yet no mention is made of the Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66 Commanche helicopter that was a textbook example of bad system engineering and requirements creep and was cancelled in 2004 after spending over $5 Billion.
LM's United Launch Alliance partnership with Boeing is shown as some sort of example of LM greed trying to corner the EELV launch market late in the book. But the author fails to note that the ULA partnership was almost dictated by the settlement between LM and Boeing after Boeing illegally won the original award using 30,000 pages of purloined LM documents.
There is only minor reference to Boeing scandals on page 164 about Phil Condit's resignation over insider deals, but no mention of Darleen Druyun or the fact that Boeing was the only company that had some of its executives go to prison.
But what's missing is that the book doesn't really go into describing the process by which contracts are awarded. To read the book, you'd get the impression that the right politician gets a campaign contribution and instantly a company gets a Billion-dollar contract. But it doesn't work that way.Read more ›
I reduce the book to four from five stars because it is a lazy book--no charts, no maps, just a blast of names and dates and numbers--VERY boring. However righteous, this book could have been much better.
+ 29B per year in revenue from the Pentagon, probably is low number, is not that much.
+ Lockheed grossly exaggerates job numbers and refuses to back them up.
+ Lockheed wins with low bids and the Pentagon acquisition folks are so inept or politically influenced they accept that.
+ Lockheed is the poster child for a broken acquisition system--quite right--that does not make them the bad guys.
+ Lesson learned from U-2: intelligence is irrelevant if it is not used by the decision-makers. Today we spend close to $90 billion a year on intelligence that provides less than 4% of what we need to know, and even then, intelligence for lack of integrity is impotent.
+ Wikileaks is alive and well within the Pentagon, but among authorized individuals who do not leak to the outside. I see that exploding into the public eye in the near future.
+ US Air Force is treasonous for its hatred of honest acquisition officers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book is good, but I bought the hardcover version new and it arrived covered in pencil marks from the previous owner. Dishonest!Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting reading. Have some time to read this to absorb the information.Published 10 months ago by Gary W. Crane
I found this book to be very biased one way coversation.
Has LM never contributed any thing postive to this country?
Very one dided.
A good book to understand the mechanisms of lobbying and the fear& greed based incentives that propel
an out of control arms production. Read more
So very true. Dealing with Lockheed martin everyday as I do, I find this account tame compared to the real behind the scene action they take.Published 19 months ago by Spares
who says we don't have money for education, infrastructure, education, and social safety netsPublished 20 months ago by donaldmize
Always like to read books about the wasteful pentagon,and congress lackeys wasting American taxpayer moneyPublished on July 14, 2014 by Lonnie W. Morris Jr.
This explains in detail what is wrong with the American way of running the country. I would read it and weep, and then get out there and try to do something to change it.Published on June 11, 2014 by Solarian