Promises Aren’t Made to be Broken

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz didn’t mince words Wednesday after giving a speech at an industry conference on special operations and low-intensity conflict in Washington, D.C. Asked by an audience member for his advice to companies looking to support Pentagon projects during these austere budget times, Schwartz said: “Deliver what you promise. Period. Dot. Don’t blow smoke up my ass. There is no time for it. There is not money for it. There is no patience for it.” Industry, Schwartz added, has a responsibility to keep its promises, but he acknowledged that it does not carry the sole responsibility for fixing skyrocketing acquisition costs. He called on government to fix requirements and stabilize funding. Further, he said, both entities need to be wary of “wishful thinking” and learn “to scale back our ambitions.” Long-range strike, he said, is the perfect example. “We are not going to be as ambitious as we perhaps were at one time. That, I think, will make it a little easier for us to manage and less challenging for industry to keep their promise,” said Schwartz.