I see your point. Nevertheless, it seems intuitive to pay top dollar for people who can produce results and then hold them accountable rather than paying meidocre money plus job security and hoping the staff you recruit are motivated by a sense of “calling”. First, you do tend to get what you pay for. Second, if public employees produce world class results; they deserve world class compensation. Given what they have produced, I would have no problems paying the team at DARPA seven figure salaries, and I am a tightwad fiscal conservative.