While it’s good for contractors and vendors, defense spending as I’ve come to discover can be a total waste of taxpayer money. I’m going to be very vague here because I don’t want to get into any trouble. During my visit to a certain well-known Department of Defense client of ours in Washington, DC last week, one of their network engineers complained to me about how his department is throwing a significant amount of money (easily into eight figures) into a highly costly technology that not only doesn’t improve their network, but actually decreases their network’s fault tolerance and survivability. This wasn’t a case of opinion or personal preference; any network engineer would come to the same conclusion.

Apparently the only reason why this was allowed to happen is because a certain person in a high level position, who seems to not really understand networking technology, gave his approval to this project. Even when others eventually saw that the project was a total waste of money that did more harm than good, they didn’t dare bring this to the attention of the high-level-position-person for fear of “embarrassing” him and getting on his bad side. There was also speculation that this HLPP either had a substantial investment in the stock of the vendor for this project, or was getting some nice kickbacks in return for his support.

The point of all this is just to serve as an anecdote of a personal encounter with incompetence protected by political bureaucracy resulting in a deplorable waste of taxpayer money. I’ve heard stories before, but I’ve never seen it first hand until now. I guess I’m not surprised, but it’s certainly going to leave a bitter taste in my mouth when I finally get around to doing my taxes.