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With Great Complexity, Comes Great Responsibility

Stories like these, not new, just more frequently repeated, are just as dangerous as any kinetic threat:

The Defense Department's inspector general says he needs more staff and money to monitor sharply rising spending by the Pentagon on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the broader fight against terrorism.

. . .

"The rapid growth of the DoD budget since FY 2000 leaves the Department increasingly more vulnerable to the fraud, waste, and, abuse that undermines the Department's mission," the report said.

and

The Defense Department has laid out a monthly milestone system for the Joint Strike Fighter program, in which the prime contractor ... will be fined $10 million every month it is behind schedule, the Pentagon's top weapons-buyer told lawmakers today.

The best technology in the world - and I have seen and heard discussion of a lot of it at the DHS S&T conference - is useless if not quickly and effectively employed. That condition is in turn driven by factors unrelated to technology or engineering, but of much softer skill sets. Absent mastery of the management process, which is an intregal part of the development and deployment of any platform, system or device, we might as well not bother designing much less fielding new capabilities.

Notes

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Technology without management and an understanding of how the technology will be integrated into the user community is simply spending more money on widgets. Of course, this is my area of endeavor, and to me it is inherent in any program that management and strategy is the driver, not the widget.

DHS however is in the unenviable position of trying to predict needs in some areas, and to catch up in others. I truly wish I had had the chance to attend the Conference, but it wasn't to be, especially given my trip to NYC next week. From my perspective, the bureacracy of DHS inhibits innovation and nimbleness, but maybe an offline discussion is more in order.