Monday, June 19, 2006

ANATOMY OF AN EARMARK --
Over the past decade Vibration & Sound Solutions Ltd., a small Alexandria defense contractor, has received a steady flow of federal contracts to work on "Project M" -- $37 million in all from annual "earmarks" by congressional supporters such as Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.).

Project M, a technology involving magnetic levitation, was conceived as a way to keep submarine machinery quieter, was later marketed as a way to keep Navy SEALs safer in their boats and, in the end, was examined as a possible way to protect Marines from roadside bombs.

All the applications have one thing in common: The Pentagon hasn't wanted them.
At what point does largesse cross the line? Presumably, there is one viable application of the technology -- continued campaign contributions.