"What Has 35 Years of Acquisition Reform Accomplished?"
(See T. Christie, pp. 30-35, February 2006 Proceedings)
Sherman N. Mullin, Retired President, Lockheed Skunk Works-Not much, which Christie documents well. Why? To the Washington defense establishment, reform is based on program failures, not successes. It is accomplished by new and lengthy process policies, speeches, and the endless submittal of more data on every major program. Real acquisition reform will only be accomplished by picking program managers with guts, who accept full responsibility, seize total authority, and are backed 100% by the powers that be. Forget rotation every three years, forget involving them in irrelevant tasks, and forget external strap-hangers at any level changing the requirements, the schedule, or the budget. Christie strongly opposes program concurrency. Many successful programs were highly concurrent: Polaris, S-3A aircraft, F-15, F-16, F-117 stealth fighter, and more. Acquisition reform has merely been decades of bureaucratic documents, speeches by transient DoD officials, and no rigorous, sustained action. If reform cannot be defined on one page, forget it.