• Barnett on Acquisitions

    by  • October 31, 2007 • The Global Picture • 1 Comment


    To which I said:

    To really understand this, we need to run a war game. Two groups, one with the standard kit, the other with 25% of the budget spent on total acquisition of that kit, one year, and the ability to buy or contract for anything they can get delivered.

    I don’t think anybody has much doubt how that game would turn out.

    A lot of this stuff is analogous to architectural problems in legacy software. The old architecture simply no longer does the job, the Young Turks of the Web Department are writing gateways and setting up alternative processes just to stay 5 years behind current practices, and nobody will take responsibility for breaking “what has always worked” even through it’s fairly obviously not working any more. These systems evolved against two generations (40 years) of opposition to a system who’s calcification makes our own look acrobatic and supple. But being last dinosaur standing is not the same thing as being the winner, and it would do us all well to remember that.

    Here’s the bad news: 5% faster than the Soviets isn’t enough any more.

    Today’s bad guys don’t bring their own sack of bureaucrats to every engagement. We should not either. That’s a tactic that was successful 20 years ago in yesterday’s war against yesterday’s enemy.

    It only gets worse from here.

    Monoculture is a problem and a sign of weakness, not strength. Etc. The problem with having politicians who don’t believe in evolution is that they don’t build systems that evolve, except by accident, under perverse incentives. I’ve witnessed round after round of personal losses to the bureaucrazy, and you would not believe what America has lost as a result.

    flattr this!


    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


    One Response to Barnett on Acquisitions

    1. Paul Cajka
      November 5, 2007 at 11:20 pm

      Mr. Gupta,

      I guess I’m one of those people who found ways to bypass the irritations of the USN&USMC supply systems while on active duty.

      Take a look at my comments on Dr. Barnett’s notes on this matter on his blog. Comments welcome at my email address.

      Paul A. Cajka
      MM1, USN(ret)

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *