Friday, December 17, 2004

How to Build an Atomic Bomb

Those inside Air Forces circles have been watching the high-level fall-out from a lack of integrity involving replacing our aging tankers (i.e. in-air refueling aircraft). The top lady in Air Force acquisitions is behind bars, her boss has resigned and so has the Secretary of the Air Force. Other General Officer promotions and assignments have been blocked. It all stems from integrity issues in how we acquire weapon systems.

I'm an acquisitions officer; my job is to buy weapons that kill people and break things. I'm half-way through a year-long school that teaches me how to design, acquire, and employ the most technological weapons the world has ever known. I've spent hours and hours learning about designing crispness into the architecture of weapons. I've been tested on how well I can design concordance between different views of weapon models. Etc, etc.

But in light of the on-going scandal involving acquisitions, our biggest problem is not how do we keep our technological advantage over our enemies. What we need is ethics. Historically, with some exceptions (i.e. General Fogleman), this topic has been treated about as seriously as the "safety brief". It appears we could all use some straight talk on integrity.

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