On the Boeing shuttle/fighter bit:
It's not a direct parallel, but there's similarities in the development of the Space Shuttle. It turned into its bloated, $1.5 billion/launch monstrosity in part because of capabilities the Air Force insisted on. The Shuttle's large down-payload, 1000 mile cross-range capability, and once-around abort from launch to polar orbit were intended for snatching spy satellites, and required large wings covered with fragile tiles which had high operational costs and eventually led to us losing one orbiter and 7 astronauts. Adding insult to injury, advances in communications and electronics made physical retrieval mostly irrelevant...no film to steal...and the military largely went back to other launch systems after Challenger.
Similarly, there's been a lot of political pressure for any replacement launch system NASA develops to use the Shuttle-derived solid boosters instead of more advanced, better performing, and safer liquid boosters. The parallel here is that using Shuttle derived boosters would mean higher costs, more limited capabilities, and sacrificing safety to help prop up ICBM manufacturing (which uses the same propellant technology).
edited 7th Oct '12 1:09:22 PM by cjameshuff