rice bowl
 n.— «The composition of QDR architects is likely to produce another rubber-stamp picture of where spending priorities should remain, thus protecting the iron rice bowls of tactical air supremacy aircraft, carriers and subs, stealth platforms and those other expensive systems better suited to fight the last war than the next one. Complicating the eventual outcome even further is the recent formation of a National Defense Panel, an independent (theoretically, at least) oversight group whose charter is to critique the QDR and attempt to ensure that those rice bowls are made up of staff more malleable than iron, where this is in the national interest. » —“Empty rice bowls” by Hal Gerhanoff Journal of Electronic Defense Feb. 1, 1997. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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