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Don't Come to the Dark Side: Acquisition Lessons from a Galaxy Far, Far Away
DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY (AIR FORCE) (SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING) WASHINGTON DC
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Yes, the Empire should stop building Death Stars. It turns out the DoD shouldnt build them either, metaphorically speaking. What sort of system fits into this category Ill resist the urge to give specific examples and instead will simply point out that any enormous project that is brain-meltingly complex, ravenously consumes resources, and aims to deliver an Undefeatable Ultimate Weapon is well on its way to becoming a Death Star, and thats not a good thing. Why are Death Stars a bad idea The main objections fit into two categories operational and programmatic. The operational shortcomings of the Empires doomed battlestations are well known and widely mocked. Their programmatic shortcomings are less well known but worth considering. Well take a look at both categories. Consider this A Death Star is an Empire weapon that aims to intimidate opponents into submission. Droids are Republic technology. They dont intimidate anyone. Instead, they earn their keep by being useful and practical. Droids are about finesse, while Death Stars are about brute force. And given the current world situation, finesse is clearly what we need. Droids arent expensive their requirements arent overstated. One might argue that a droid cant do what a Death Star does, but then again, the Death Stars didnt do very much when all was said and done. In the final accounting, a droid like Artoo does more than it was designed to do, while a Death Star ends up doing much less. If you want to develop and deliver effective weapon systems, build droids instead of Death Stars. The key is exercising design restraint, focusing our requirements on the essential requirements rather than the endless list of desirements, living within our budget and resisting the temptation to extend the schedule. There are all sorts of ways to simplify a design, to reduce a set of requirements to the bare minimum, to make sure we build what we can afford.
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