THE NAVY: Just Bill The Taxpayer

THE NAVY: Just Bill The Taxpayer

The Navy's A-12 Avenger attack-bomber development has been so mismanaged that three high-ranking uniformed officers and a top Defense Department official were forced out of their jobs or censured. One problem has been the Pentagon's familiar habit of permitting huge overruns on contracts. A layman might see an easy solution: the contractors should either live up to their commitments or lose the work. But that is not the military way.

Last week top Navy officials and the two Avenger contractors, General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas, agreed to ask taxpayers to pick up a big share of the excessive costs, which may...

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