News

“Where you stand depends on where you sit”, Miles Law and related maxims

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in Defense Industry, Leadership | 0 comments

I attended an evening affair recently with a well respected leader who reminded me that the old maximum “Where you stand, depends on where you sit” was actually memorialized by Rufus Miles of Princeton University back in the 70’s. Anyone who has ever been in a bureaucracy knows exactly what he means.  I myself am a slave to Miles Law.  And not only when I was lurking around the bureaucracy of the Pentagon, but even afterwards in my second career.  It’s not a bad thing, by the way.  In fact, if  you are to be a loyal...

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Plugging the DFAS Dam

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in DoD Audit, DoD Budget, Financial Systems | 0 comments

I saw a reprint of an article done by Reuters the other day entitled “Special Report: The Pentagon’s doctored ledgers conceal epic waste” and even though it’s almost a year old, I think it still applies.   In just a few days, all the big accounting firms that do business with DoD will be submitting proposals to conduct audits of the the Army, Navy and Air Force Statements of Budgetary Activity (SBA)……that’s a high level balance sheet that has little applicability to the actual management of anything.  Experience...

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Competition and Sewing Machines

Posted by on Aug 26, 2014 in Acquisition Reform, Defense Industry | 0 comments

I saw an interesting article this morning on the NDIA Blog site which said Secretary Frank Kendall, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics  USD(AT&L), was unhappy that DoD did not meet the goal for having more competition for defense-related contracts.   I’m not surprised at that because given the irrational focus of DoD on vendor profits, they have managed to make bidding on defense contracts so unattractive that fewer and fewer companies are making the effort to bid.  In my view, it’s not...

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The Devil is in the DoD-Tails

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in DoD Budget, JSF, QDR, Sequestration | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, Secretary of Defense Hagel published his list of six focus areas for the coming year. Here’s his list: Focus on institutional reform. Re-evaluate our military’s force planning construct. Prepare for a prolonged military readiness challenge. Protecting investments in emerging military capabilities Achieve balance Personnel and compensation policy Really?  That’s what he’s focusing on?  You probably haven’t heard much about this list because it is sooooo uninspiring.  If this isn’t...

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Let It Go…..Let It Go…,the A-10 I mean.

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I just reread the summary of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by the House on a vote of 385-98.  At the end of the day, it appears that the House was not interested in agreeing with many of the cost cutting proposals that DoD had hoped for.  Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) is not an option (see Bric-a-BRAC) , and it looks like the Air Force can keep it’s A-10’s for now.  When all is totaled up, the bill accounts for just a shade over $600 Billion in spending.  That number is a far cry from what the...

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Incentivize Me. I Dare you!

Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I just finished plowing through the 2014 Performance of the Defense Acquisition report published by Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L).   I was prompted to look at it when I saw this article in the Washington Post on what motivated contractors, according to the report.  Pardon my suspicion at a report bragging about how well the current crowd at AT&L is doing, but I’m suspicious.  First….there’s a lot of statistics included and my experience is that statisticians can...

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To Do or Not To Do: That’s the Question

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I received several comments after I published my last article on “Leadership in the 21st Century” and I appreciate all the comments. In that article I commented on the recent case involving a former Commanding Officer of the Navy’s elite flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels.  After consulting, conferring and otherwise hobnobbing with my  fellow former Wizards, I thought I might offer up just a few more comments on the subject before forever holding my peace on the subject of Capt. McWherter and the Blue Angels.  There...

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Neglected Nightmares and Forgotten Dreams

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Defense Industry, DoD Budget, Sequestration, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I know.  I know.  You are asking what can this article possibly be about? Well, it’s all about the DoD budget (the Dream) and sequestration (the Nightmare).  I’ve been talking to a few budget folks over the past week and asking how is this year compared to others in terms of pain.  The universal answer has been “Not so bad this year.”  But soon all our dreams of finally getting some sanity in the budget process will give way to the nightmarish and forgotten process known as Sequestration.  It’s been quite a...

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Command Performance

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I attended a two day session put on by The Performance Institute and Association of Government Accountants this week on the subject of performance management in government. It was a great session ( and I managed to knock out 14 CPEs) with some interesting insights on measuring performance in Federal, State and Local agencies. We heard from David Walker (former Comptroller General), Mark Reger (Acting Comptroller at OMB), Lisa Danzig (Associate Director for Personnel and Performance at OMB) and a host of other performance gurus. I came away...

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The High Risk List: So What?

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Leadership, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Washington Post had a great little piece over the weekend on the number of reports required by the Congress this year.  The article, “Unrequired Reading” states that the Congress is expecting  no less than 4291 reports from 466 Federal agencies and non-profits this year.  Of course one wonders who the heck reads those reports and more importantly, what gets done about them. As far as who reads them, my guess is that even the people who write them don’t bother to read the whole report, so that means probably one of the...

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