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Frederico Bartels is a policy analyst for defense budgeting at The Heritage Foundation's Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy.
The Air Force recently came under scrutiny for spending $1,280 apiece on hot cups.
Cups - Symbol - Facts - Needs - Steward
The cups have become a symbol of two facts that shape our military: The military needs to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars, and an older military leads to increased costs.
The cups in question were being used in KC-10 aerial tankers. They have a reputation for having fragile handles that don’t survive many falls, and currently, once the handle is broken the whole cup needs to be replaced.
Cup - Defense - Sorts - Liquids - Coffee
In the cup’s defense, it can heat all sorts of liquids, from coffee to soup. It is of great use. But it has also come at great cost. This is but the latest example of government procurement that defies common sense.
To the Air Force’s credit, it was the squadron that flies the aircraft that raised the issue and sought alternative solutions.
Fifteen - Days - Secretary - Heather - Wilson
Fifteen days later, Secretary Heather Wilson responded to the senator’s query pointing out that the Air Force is currently seeking out ways to manufacture a part that is no longer under production.
Every material or part that goes into a military aircraft needs to be tested for how it interacts with all the other components. Replacement parts need to be manufactured to meet those previously tested specifications. If the replacement part is no longer under production because the aircraft is simply too old, the costs raise substantially.
Replacement - Parts - Air - Force - Fleet
Many replacement parts for the Air Force’s current fleet are no longer in production and thus require expensive one-off processes to be reproduced. It’s why the Air Force’s goal is to create its own solution through additive manufacturing.
These particular hot cups go in KC-10s, C-5s, and C-17s. The average age of the fleet of...
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