The recently published viewpoint “Can the Pentagon Spend More Smartly?” (AW&ST Aug. 31-Sept. 13, p. 58) highlights the consequences of increased dependence on technology to maintain an edge. In fact, the core issue of the exponential growth in cost associated with the linear growth in technology capability is highlighted in Norman Augustine’s 1982 book Augustine’s Laws. Specifically, two of “Augustine’s laws” focus on what needs to be avoided within the Defense Department acquisition community.
One of the laws states: “In the year 2054, the entire defense budget will purchase just one aircraft. This aircraft will have to be shared by the Air Force and Navy three and a half days each per week, except for leap year when it will be made available to the Marines for the extra day.”
Additionally, the book highlights the Defense Department’s growing dependence on electronic systems with this law: “After the year 2015, there will be no airplane crashes. There will be no takeoffs either, because electronics will occupy 100% of every airplane’s weight.”
Even if these laws seem outlandish, the book’s underlying lessons still ring true today. (end of excerpt)
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