03 May 2010

Thrift Supervision?

Walking through downtown DC the other day, I came across the Office of Thrift Supervision. I thought this office sounded like a pretty good idea, and I'd like to get one for the DoD.

The DoD office of Thrift Supervision could focus on making sure people exercise some restraint when it comes to spending. It could encourage and reward underruns on development programs. It could provide education on why a tight budget is good for programs, why it's good to not spend all your money by the end of the year, and help program managers understand that constraints foster creativity. Naturally, this new office would work closely with the Office of Speed Supervision, which would encourage programs to establish short timelines. And we could probably use an Office of Simplicity Supervision... heck, let's just put them all together into the Office of FIST Supervision.

Speaking of speed, did you know that in 1943, the XP-80 development team was given 150 days to deliver their aircraft? They did it in 143 days... one week early! Did you know we could do that today if we wanted to? Or we can keep on making 10-year plans that turn into 20-year projects...

Hey, a guy can dream, right?


Glen B. Alleman said...

What would be some suggestions for something like JSF in the context of FIST? Something actionable? Something that would actually move the program to a better place?

Gabe said...

From my experience working the JSF, I would slash the electronics suite. In my opinion, the suite was filled with too many “nice to haves”, many of which could be left out without any loss to the operator’s ability to fly the craft and do the job. The extra functions just add complexity and, thus, time to the development effort.

In fact, the JSF concept itself is faulty. Even within service roles, it’s trying to be all things to all people. An 80 function Swiss Army Knife is cool, but not very practical.

The Dan Ward said...

I agree with Gabe about the whole concept being faulty. We're putting way too many eggs in one basket with the JSF, imho, expecting one aircraft to meet the wildly diverse needs of an absurdly large group. The end result is a swiss-army-knife approach, plus huge delays & overruns. The other result is that both Israel and the USAF are talking about just buying more F-15's and F-16's instead.

The FIST JSF would be a real STRIKE fighter. It would be a third the size of the current JSF. It would have one mission - strike. No air-to-air capabilities. I'd do a whole other aircraft for that mission.

My FIST JSF would go from concept to fielding in 24 months, by building on existing designs and exercising some serious design restraint. It would be the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) of fighter jets.

Do one thing. Do it well. Do it quickly.

Oh, and my JSF 2.0 would be fielded no later than 5 years after the IOC of the first one. None of this 30+ year wait between new fighters we're seeing these days.