We less government types are perpetually chagrined by the very many failings of government.
We want government to do so very little – per the Constitution. Yet government does so very much – in defiance of the Constitution.
We would like government to do things well. But we know human nature renders that nigh impossible.
For oh-so-many-reasons – including, especially, our Wallet Rule:
If you go out on a Friday night with your wallet, and you go out the following Friday night with my wallet – on which Friday night are you going to have more fun?
Obviously, you’re going to have a whole lot more fun with my wallet – because you don’t care what my wallet looks like at the end of the evening.
Well, government is always on other peoples’ wallets – ours. In gambling parlance – they’re playing with house money.
Government will thus never spend money as wisely or well as the people who earned it – from whom government takes it.
Our Wallet Rule explains oh-so-much of they very many wrongs committed by government.
Why would government engage in best practices – and do business with the best private providers offering the best performances at the best prices?
When they can instead do business with the private providers – who best bribe them?
After all, the major money wasted isn’t theirs – it’s ours. So it’s no skin off of their noses – it’s our proboscises being peeled.
Throughout our nation’s history of ever-expanding government, the one regular exception to our ongoing, rolling, massive disappointment – is the military.
First: Because national defense is one of the few things the federal government is actually supposed to do – per the Constitution.
The Founding Fathers were pretty bright individuals. Two-hundred-and-forty-plus years later – we have time and again found:
The further government strays from the Constitution – the worse it does and things get. The closer government hews to the Constitution – the better it does and things get.
Second: Unlike…well, just about the entire rest of the government, the Defense Department (DoD) is not entirely populated by cubicle-d, lifeless, bureaucrat lifers given exorbitant salaries and benefit packages – for doing nothing but harm to We the People.
The core and the face of the DoD – are the incredible, incredibly brave men and women in uniform. Who VOLUNTEER to put their lives on the line for almost no money – in defense of We the People.
Most of the rest of government – is seriously unserious.
The DoD – is engaged in deadly serious business.
Because of this, cronyism is less likely to arise in the DoD.
Because of this, when it does it is orders-of-magnitude more dangerous – and orders-of-magnitude more important that we ensure it never actually comes to pass.
The Barack Obama Administration loved cronyism – any and everywhere it could get it. And most unfortunately, it tried to set the all-time record for the biggest crony deal ever – with the DoD.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) – the cloud computing wing of the massive Amazon (Market Cap: $891 billion) empire – was in Spring 2018 about to be handed a $10 billion, sole-source contract to provide ALL the cloud backup for the entirety of the DoD.
The government contract process – began as a search for multiple providers. Because having only one – is titanically stupid.
But then the cronyism kicked in.
The Obama Administration created a new wing of the DoD – to oversee the contracting process for tech. And hired as its head – a man by the name of Deap Ubhi. Who was at the time working for…Amazon Web Services.
Can you guess what happened next?
The cloud contract suddenly transmogrified from multi-source – to sole source. And the contractor description was rewritten – so that only Amazon met the specifications.
By then, the Donald Trump Administration had succeeded the Obama Administration (thank God). So in Spring 2018 when it was announced that Amazon was on the verge of the largest crony deal in history – red flags flew and sirens wailed.
What was supposed to then be a two-to-three month process of bringing the cronyism in for a landing – became instead a quintessential “Drain the Swamp” moment.
Not just because there was a new sheriff in town. Not just because the cronyism was historically huge.
But because awarding Amazon the sole backup for the entire DoD – would put our men and women in uniform in deadly serious jeopardy.
Because when Amazon goes offline – and every online company does…routinely – the entire DoD would go offline.
And then military personnel in dangerous places – counting on Amazon-backed-up data to get out – would be left deaf, dumb and blind. And very prospectively – dead.
It is now September 2019. The cloud contract remains – un-awarded. Though it is still sole-source.
And beyond all sense and sensibility – Amazon remains in the running. They should have already cheated their way out consideration. And Microsoft – and only Microsoft – has been added as a contender.
Just last month, then-newly-sworn-in Defense Secretary Mark Esper ordered a review of the contract process.
With no self-awareness or sense of irony – the Swamp Creatures are doing so in the name of resisting political pressure.
As if the massive Amazon cronyism that got us to this point – wasn’t the very definition of political pressure applied.
And with no self-awareness or sense of irony – the Swamp Creatures are saying the delay is putting our military men and women in harms way.
No, Swamp Creatures. Consigning the entire DoD to Amazon and only Amazon – is what will exponentially increase the danger for our military men and women.
They have two parachutes when they jump out of airplanes. They should have more than one cloud backup upon which to rely.
Here’s hoping Secretary Esper’s review – ends entirely the existing, utterly corrupt DOD cloud contracting process. And we begin anew – cronyism…and Amazon…free.
“Measure twice – cut once” – is almost never government standard operating procedure. But it should be.
Most especially when its life-or-death – as this eminently is.
This first appeared in Red State.