09 September 2009


I like to say that FIST isn't a new way to do acquisitions. It's just how we do acquisitions when we do it well.

But frankly, I'm not convinced my current attempt to drive FISTy change into the system is going to succeed. I am very aware that the probability of success is low. Five or ten years from now, there's a pretty good chance the defense acquisition community is going to look very much like it does right now.

Having said that, the environment does seem more change-friendly than it ever has before. Our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan are a big part of that, along with the new administration, changes in the economy and advances in technology - particularly UAV's. This combination of operational, political, economic and technical factors is sort of a perfect storm and gives me hope that significant, meaningful change is possible. If the FIST approach ever had a chance at widespread adoption, it's in the current climate.

Our troops overseas are increasingly emphasizing the importance of rapid access to systems that are simple and effective. They have less tolerance for the complexity and delays of previous years. The president ran on a platform of change, and military leaders from the SECDEF on down are reimagining the way we do business. The economy is forcing people to think really hard before spending money. And along come these UAV's, which offer relatively inexpensive and simple ways to accomplish missions that used to require much more time, money and effort.

So will FIST take off? I don't know. I certainly hope so. All I know is that I've got to try to make a difference, even if the odds are against me, 'cause these are the best odds I'm ever likely to see.

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