Friday, September 5, 2014

Pentagon Problems Solved!

It’s been obvious for some time now that the US is losing its technological edge.  This is worrisome because the Pentagon has historically made the conscious decision to emphasize technology over numbers.  We’ve conceded the advantage of numbers to those of our enemies who wish to pursue that route while we have operated under the assumption that superior technology will more than offset our numerical disadvantage.  Setting aside the wisdom of that path, if our technology edge lessons or reverses we’re in serious trouble since we’ve opted not to emphasize numbers.

It’s also recently become clear (say, in the last 70 years or so) that our acquisition process is badly broken.

Technology edge loss and broken acquisition.  Are we worried?  Nah.  The Pentagon has things well in hand.  From a USNI website article (1),

"The Pentagon is launching a new “third game-changing offset strategy” to maintain America’s decisive technological military edge well into the future. The new strategy will be developed by deputy defense secretary Bob Work and Pentagon procurement chief Frank Kendall."

Alright, well there you have it.  We’ll simply develop a “third game-changing offset strategy” and remain invincible.  I know, you’re thinking that this sounds like just another game of buzzword bingo but I think this time it’s going to be just what we need.  What’s that, you ask?  Am I being sarcastic?  Ahh …  OK, fine, I am.  This is the same garbage we’ve heard many times before.

Still, on the plus side, the effort will be overseen by Bob Work and Frank Kendall, the men who brought us the LCS and any number of current acquisition disasters, respectively.  While I may doubt their individual abilities, they’ll be operating under the able guidance of SecDef Hagel so that should eliminate any problems that might otherwise arise.  What’s that, you ask?  Am I being sarcastic again?  Ahh …  OK, fine, I am.  Seriously, the Three Stooges would do a better job of managing the Pentagon. 

Work championed the LCS and guaranteed us that it was the finest warship in the world.  Yes, that’s literally what he said and he said it repeatedly.  This is the guy whose judgment we want to trust?  Kendall, for his part, has overseen some fantastic acquisition debacles. 

Still, the Pentagon appears to have solved the acquisition problems, at least.  From the article,

"... the Pentagon is making another effort to streamline its cumbersome acquisition process with an initiative called Better Buying Power 3.0."

Outstanding!  Better Buying Power can’t help but be successful.  The very name says it all and virtually guarantees success.  Further, 3.0 is way better than 2.0 and is, like, you know, around three times better than 1.0.  The only unfortunate aspect to this is that we didn’t think to initiate acquisition reform before this.  Imagine all the money we could have saved if someone had thought to reform acquisition five years ago, or ten, or twenty.  We’d be swimming in surplus budgets by now.  Oh well, better late than never.  I would guess the Pentagon will be showing a profit within a year, two at the outside.  What’s that, you ask?  Am I being sarcastic yet again?  You don’t really need to ask, do you?

The Pentagon’s problems are solved.  I will sleep better tonight!


  1. Isn't Better Buying Power 3.0 an implicit admission that Better Buying Power 1.0 and 2.0 were failures?

  2. Project management by power point - things never change.


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