Procurement: The Utility of Used


January20, 2007: The Philippines has learned how to get the most out of its procurement budget. The secret is to buy used equipment. In 2007, the Philippines has only about $200 million for new gear. But buying mostly used stuff will enable it to buy six UH-1H helicopters, twenty upgraded MG-520 attack helicopters and five shallow water boats, for patrolling rivers and swamps. Also coming are assault rifles, radios and protective vests (some new, some "pre-owned").

Buying, or getting, used weapons and equipment is an old Filipino custom. After World War II, in 1946, when the Philippines became independent, the armed forces was equipped almost entirely with American World War II surplus gear. With the war over, and the U.S. had disbanded over 80 percent of its huge armed forces. A third of that stuff was in the Pacific, and the Filipinos got their pick. Actually, a lot of it was new, stuff what was on its way to the combat zone, but arriving after the Japanese surrendered. For decades after, the Philippines continued to get by on second hand gear. The only enemies were internal rebels, so there was no risk of an arms race. Second hand gear was cheap, it worked, and there are not a lot of Filipinos agitating for buying the latest, brand new models, at a much higher price.


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