Eliminate Silver Bullets

“We absolutely have to think systems engineering—think the entire system—not some point solution to an individual problem that benefits one aspect of one program, or one aspect of one company,” Lt. Gen. Tom Owen, commander of Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, told attendees at an AFA-sponsored technology symposium in Dayton. Airmen must get into a “systems engineering, enterprise-wide mindset” that shuns stovepipes and silver-bullet remedies. He noted, too, that industry figures large in the Pentagon’s changing approach to acquisition, in which companies must assume more risk. He said, “Profit should be closely related to risk.” Speaking at the same event, Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, acknowledged “some slash and burn” yet to come as USAF attempts to strike “a balance between overfunding a program and constraining the use of funds.” (Wright-Patt report by Derek Kaufman)