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During the Kennedy administration, the bean counters decided that a government arsenal (i.e., Springfield) was not cost effective and could be closed, and that the government's small arms needs could be met by private industry. I am neutral on that specific issue, but the decision had one unfortunate effect in that it took away almost all of the government's small arms design and production expertise. From that point, the government lost not only its own R&D but also its capability to evaluate design and estimate tool up and production time and cost.

Left to themselves, military planners, especially of the junior officer variety, tend to "ask for the moon" because they have no ability to understand how much said "moon" is likely to cost. Contractors, unfortunately, will try to give the government what it says it wants or needs. If the contractor personnel know that the job is impossible or will cost too much, they keep quiet - after all, their paychecks are on the line. With no government expertise to provide a source of sound estimates of cost and capaility, every small arms system tends to have cost overruns, poor performance, and a failure to understand the conditions encountered in combat.

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