• U.S.

Military Procurement: Sky-High Salaries

1 minute read

With the cost of U.S. warplanes climbing faster than an F-15 fighter, one defense expert has suggested that it would take the entire U.S. military budget to buy a single aircraft by the middle of the 21st century. Last week a Government study cited one possible reason for the runaway prices: lavish pay for the executives and employees of some major U.S. defense contractors.

Prepared by the General Accounting Office, the report found that salaries and bonuses of top executives at twelve large aerospace firms were 42% higher than the average in other industries. Pay for factory and clerical workers was 7% to 9% greater, while janitors at the aerospace firms made 18% more than their counterparts elsewhere.

The study cautioned, however, that the high pay scales are not necessarily to blame for rising aircraft costs. It noted that 10% more for wages “does not mean 10% too much.” But Texas Democrat Jack Brooks, whose House Committee on Government Operations requested the report, had no such hesitation. “We are paying more for weapons systems than we should,” he said, “in part because of bloated salaries and benefits.”

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