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01 February 2011

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Jim,

I heartily agree. DoD has suffered in just the same way as has our education system: too much $ allows too many sloppy theories, pet projects, hemming & hawing, and endless mulling to survive otherwise necessary scrutiny and gettting down to more straight forward forms of doing business. What you've hit on is when there is a clear, or reasonably clear, and easily expressable operational utility that is desired (I'd say "required" but we are making choices here - we merely decide what we think we require), then the acquisition system sometimes works out fairly well and can provide timely and useful tools for our operators. Less largess, fewer all-encompassing grand schemes (e.g. FCS), abandoning favored wonder widgets (e.g. JSF) will certainly result in clearer and more useful thinking and tool-making. The leaner times in DoD have more often than not been rather fruitful (e.g. the Navy post-Civil War, the Marines in the early 20th century).

This is the best thing I've read on this subject in a very, very long time. Really outstanding work. I hope I can build on your thoughts in a future post about the potentially positive impact of austerity on doctrine, concepts, and adaptability in force employment, but for now I just want to say thanks for a really great essay.

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  • Since September 2001, I have been researching and writing about global security challenges, and advising the economic enterprises that provide the tools to address them. Specifically, I help defense contractors and defense ministries with their problems in marketing, planning, and policy analysis.

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