…In a complex system like acquisition, any attempt to fix deep seated system faults through policy will fail. The only way to get at the deep seated problems in acquisition is through workforce improvement, and I don’t mean numbers. We need well-educated, superbly trained people for the big stuff, and we do not have enough of them. Mismanagement and poor leadership will prompt many of the best of the new recruits to leave. The problems are beyond the reach of management in the organizational structure we have now for the simple reason that no one is in charge. Only someone with the power and the ruthlessness of a Stalin could fix the system. A few purges might be just the thing…
It is the cold, hard truth. We need to focus on people, and not the numbers as I have previously discussed (here, here and here).
Focusing on tactical issues can certainly help, especially focusing on performance based contracting, better requirements development, and better communications and collaboration with industry. Nonetheless, the state of the acquisition workforce gets worse every day, and the hole keeps getting deeper.
You won’t hear that in any Presidential debate or attack ad. It is easier to focus on the symptoms rather than the disease.