Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


US Army fumbles $6 billion Aerial Common Sensor project

The Washington Post can be credited for bringing this ridiculous management fiasco to my attention: $6 Billion Lockheed Deal For Spy Plane in Jeopardy. Reading the story reveals that it's an even more amazing situation: "The Army ordered Lockheed Martin Corp. to stop work on a $6 billion manned spy plane program yesterday after determining that the company's proposal would not meet the project's requirements."

What I'm still trying to figure out is how did the contract ever get awarded and Lockheed start working on the project if their proposal didn't meet the project requirements in the first place?

Let's try to clarify the situation by drawing a simple parallel: you've asked a carpet company to bid on installing new carpet throughout your office, they've submitted a bid that doesn't actually match your specifications, but to which you, for no obvious reason, say "Looks good! Why don't you get started?" A few days later your partner says "Hey! We wanted blue carpet and they're installing green! Didn't you actually check the darn bid before giving them the go-ahead?"

Seems unlikely, doesn't it? But for this $6 billion spy plane project it's not unlikely at all, in fact, it's criminal idiocy, it's hundreds of millions of of our tax dollars being grossly mismanaged in exactly this fashion...