Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Slight Detour into One of the Reasons Government Has Grown So Huge


I'm about to take the usual detour from random thoughts into the Friday-through-Monday cycle* of routine posts, which means that you'll have to wait until next Tuesday for the next part of my government reorganization plan. But just to whet your appetite and to give you an idea of the magnitude of the challenge of getting government under control, I thought I'd share with you one of the most amazing things you will ever see: a chart which depicts the major systems acquisition process for the Department of Defense:


Now, obviously you can't read anything on the chart at this size ... click it to embiggen it and, if you still can't read the detail, go here.

The US military operates some of the finest, deadliest, most technologically advanced weapons in the world, but it’s a miracle that any of them actually get built. The Defense Acquisition System is a monument to bureaucratic and fiscal complexity, and ensures that it’s virtually impossible to field anything quickly. Much of the process is devoted to ensuring that (1) things that are built are actually needed and justified by documented requirements; (2) things that are built are delivered on schedule; (3) things that are built work as promised when delivered; and (4) things that are built comply with all relevant laws and Congressional direction**. All four of these steps are fraught with danger and complexity (such as “requirements creep,” low-bidders coming back to the till to ask for ever more money, and reliance too early in the process on technology that isn’t quite ready yet), but Congressional political considerations also play a role. For instance, there is scarcely a single major weapons program that does not have parts manufactured or assembled in dozens of different Congressional districts as a way of ensuring Congressional support for the program.

I'll have more to say on all this later. For now, look at the chart and think about how many people and how much money it takes to make all those things happen.

Crying is authorized.

Have a good day. Come back tomorrow for the announcement of the Left Cheek Ass Clown for March ... believe it or not, I haven't yet decided who to name. That's how difficult the choice is getting to be.

Bilbo

Ass Clown Award, Cartoon Saturday, Poetry Sunday, Musical Monday.

** And boy, can Congress give direction when there's money and political considerations involved.

4 comments:

eViL pOp TaRt said...

I'm flummoxed! How anything gets operational is a miracle.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

It's a wonder that anything gets done!

Sinner Bob said...

With all of those links, it is no wonder that decisions take so long to implement and translated into a product.

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