Rust Costs the Pentagon $21 Billion Per Year

Rust Costs the Pentagon $21 Billion Per Year
U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Justin Yarborough

Rust costs the Pentagon more money annually than many of its most expensive weapons systems—up to $21 billion per year, according to a Defense Department-commissioned audit released in March.

The report indicates the corrosion of metals that make up modern weapons systems like fighter jets, ships, ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons can sometimes approach one-third of the total operations and maintenance costs of those systems.

The problem is so large, in 2002, the department established the Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight to ensure big-dollar weapons systems weren't taken offline by oxidation and to help branches determine how much money ought to be spent on rust prevention.

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