Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Save Me The Money

Posted: August 2, 2010 in DoD Overhead, Government, Overhead

Does Overhead All Go Down The Toilet?

The goal of Secretary Gates is to save $100 billion across the Department of Defense over five years.

The Frank/Paul position is to cut $1 trillion across the DoD in ten years.

Whatever the goal, the bill-payer de jour has become “overhead.”  Yes, the ubiquitous and no-value added bad-guy overhead.

But what is overhead?  It there a common understanding of what it entails?  And how do we measure DoD overhead?  How accurate are our measurements?

These are propound questions which don’t have answers.  Until there are definitions and measurements, it’s unlikely true overhead reductions will be achieved and instead, we’ll continue with program cuts in the tradition of the ‘peanut butter spread’ which will instead be called ‘overhead cuts.’

DoD Buzz has a great article on just these themes.


It ain’t just the Air Force but it is about funding.

The pressure is no doubt on the Secretary to come up with something analagous to the peace dividend of the 1990s.  I’m sure he’s thinking about his legacy, but while budgets start with the services, OSD is a gigantic pass-through.

If OSD didn’t ‘fix’ the services’ requests, where would OSD’s value be?  But ‘fixing’ is almost always nibbling around the margins.  There are exceptions, but they prove the rule.

Those who really own the budget are Congress and the administration.

A more plausible approach for the Secretary (in my mind, anyway)–which would still be tilting at windmills–would be to attempt to find and cut the fat out of the bureaucracy. Easy to say, difficult to do, but I can dream.

Want to know why we have $500 hammers?  That’s what it costs to write a mil-spec for a hammer, staff it through the bureaucracy, have a contractor come up with a proposal, get bids from multiple contractors, transport and issue the hammer to someone who will use it (who probably already has at least one suitable substitute), get a hand-receipt for said item, and then to conduct the safety training required for the hammer.  Exaggerating?  Only slightly.

Now turn that ‘hammer’ into an SSBN(X) and what do you get?  An $11 billion submarine.

The real imbalance is with overhead, that is, the bureaucracy–the staffs, the evaluators, safety, quality assurance, the power point.

The lesson is Steven Covey’s law of the farm…you reap what you sow.

Remember the golden rule of just about everything: if it ain’t funded, it ain’t.  While policy is interesting, it is actually revealed in what gets–or doesn’t get–funded.

This analysis is basically appears to largely be putting a number of the budgetary requirements documents (known as r-docs) into a table and providing commentary from the respective r-docs’ word pictures.

The trends: space control, counterspace, and operationally responsive space are down.  Space situational awareness–supported in part by the separately funded space fence–is headed way up.  Also some serious growth in a couple of MDA’s classified PEs and finally, directed energy is (surprisingly) stayin’ alive.

Will Mentor For Food

Posted: November 20, 2009 in Government, Senior Mentors

This USA Today article from Thursday, 17 November 2009 caught my eye.

I will be working up something to post or maybe it will lead to an article in an upcoming The Wright Stuff.

Leak Farm Links

Posted: November 13, 2009 in Government, Leakers, Leaking, Leaks

Hmmm.  Check out these leak links (or at least the titles) and see if a theme emerges:

Administration plans to punish leakers

Among Obama Aides, Debate Intensifies on Troop Levels

Shut Up, Gates Says Again

Gates Condemns Leaks on U.S. Afghan Policy and Ft. Hood