Call Me Sisyphus
Air Force Institute of Technology Wright Patterson AFB United States
Pagination or Media Count:
Critics of the Department of Defense cite massive cost overruns on major weapon programs, usually aircraft, as evidence of mismanagement and waste. We are currently paying eight times the cost per pound for fighter aircraft that we did in the 1940s. We are paying four or five times as much as we did in the 1950s. These are production costs. Development costs have grown even more. Starks article highlights one painful impact of cost growth, explaining that as costs increase, we can afford to develop fewer new airplanes. This means that those we now have must stay in the inventory longer. The persistently shrinkingF-22A fleet comes to mind, along with our critically aging tankers and F-15s. Stark goes on to point out the way we procure aircraft has evolved into a very complex, institutionalized process, which is negatively affecting our defense posture. No doubt much the same can also be said for the other services and weapon systems. These are familiar charges, and anyone who pays any attention to the DoD acquisition community has heard them before. In fact, Starks article echoes many of the themes, principles, criticisms, and ideas found in the articles I have written over the past six years. As I read it, I felt as if I could have written it myself. But I didnt bring Starks article up because he agrees with me so completelyI mention it because his article was published in 1973, the year I was born. The new aircraft he wrote about were the F-15 and the A-X, which we now know as the A-10.