Conservatives are throwing a hissy fit about a few hundred thousand dollars spent on a scientific study about duck sex, but over at the Pentagon, Congress is spending $380 million on a missile program that has no funding authorization, doesn't work, and the Department of Defense doesn't plan on buying.
So why are we still paying for it? Because Germany and Italy are making the US feel awkward, and when you back out of a defense contract, you have to sell your first-born child. Also, jobs.
The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), contracted to Lockheed Martin, is a joint project with Italy and Germany intended to produce a weapon that will intercept ballistic missiles. If you read Lockheed Martin's website, MEADS sounds really cool.
This "hit-to-kill" missile will "defeat tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft, [and provide] full 360-degree engagement." Woah! (Shhh, forget about the fact that Lockheed Martin's program is basically a duplicate of the "Patriot" missile program that the US is already paying for. This one sounds cooler, okay?)