Tom Christie spent almost 50 years inside the DOD acquisition apparatus, concluding his career as a top level civilian professional directing DOD's office of Operational Test and Evaluation. Since the 1960s, he has seen every single stab at reforming how we develop and buy weapons come and go – and fail. Today, as measured by GAO and many others, cost overruns are higher, deliveries are later, and the biggest DOD budget since the end of World War II buys us the smallest, oldest force structure and weapons inventory since 1946.
Christie has a straight forward explanation: the buying apparatus in the Pentagon, Congress and industry does not enforce the declared intent of acquisition laws and regulations, they circumvent the intent – thanks to the multiple loopholes and dodges assiduously inserted by Congress, the Pentagon and industry. Politely, he calls this a lack of “discipline.”
This interview is part of a series; find a link to these and several other related interviews at one of the webpages devoted to the anthology, The Pentagon Labyrinth: 10 Short Essays to Help You Through It.
Want to make a comment about Christie's or any other author's essay? Want to hold a debate? We welcome that. Let me know by emailing winslowwheeler at msn.com.
Phi Beta Iota: Integrity is a self-healing system. No one dealing with acquisition has it. This has gotten so out of hand it is now an atrocity.