Beware Wishful Thinking

The Pentagon must avoid wishful thinking in times of restricted budgets, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall said Tuesday at the Sea Air Space exposition in National Harbor, Md. “If you start a program when budgets are tight, you have much higher cost growth,” Kendall said, noting a “very strong correlation.” The issue, Kendall said, is that “people are more optimistic” in budget-restricted environments, and think they can get the things they need for less. “We need to be careful in times of tight money that we don’t convince ourselves of things that aren’t true,” he said. Kendall did not directly address a Senate Armed Services Committee proposal that would eliminate his job, though he did say his two themes for this year are to “sustain momentum” and to keep his sense of humor. “I think you all know why I need to keep my sense of humor these days,” Kendall said, “I won’t go into detail on that one.”