How to Break the Exponential Growth of Weapon Costs

 In Industry, Acquisition, & Innovation, Defense, Sea, Air, Forces & Capabilities

(Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology; posted Sept. 16, 2020)

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)

Click here for the full story, on the Aviation Week web­site.


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