Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cue the gospel choir swaying..... now.


So one of blokes in the know that I've met in my internetty travels commented quite eloquently on why Australia's Defence Materiel Organisation, Defence Science Technology Organisation and Defence generally have the unwavering and universal respect of frontline ADF personnel when it comes to procurement projects.

In fact, this guy in particular was nice enough to let me quote him directly... call me unoriginal, but this really did deserve a repost...

"It generally ends up like this:

Year 1:
MAJ x says his thingy should be better and more like someone else's thingy. Now Maj x has never fired/used/physically seen the thingy but he's certainly read about it and he knows that it could be more like someone else's thingy aka better. Eventually MAJ gets promoted to LTCOL and gets to influence the procurements cycle.

Year 6:
LTCOL x now gets to influcance his mates at Capability Development Group to recognise that his thingy is old and could be better. CDG investigates a better thingy.

Year 8:
By investigate, they mean, fly around the world staying in plush hotels looking at other country's thingys. All the contractors who used to do the LTCOL's job in their countries, who make the thingys sweeten the deal and really put on a good show for CDG.

Year 9:
CDG comes back with its hair blown back saying to DMO how great someone's thingy is and how we would have a far superior force if we had one and how much of a budget it would save by buying twice as much.

Year 10:
DMO consults with DSTO about CDG's recommended thingy. DMO and DSTO have never physically seen the thingy either, but they also hear how awesome it is.

Year 11:
DSTO consults with its PhD wizards who do a feasibility study of using the thingy while wearing lab coats in an Adelaide/woomera paddock testing the "unique Australian requirements". DSTO determines that the thingy is the bees knees but they need to add widget y to it for it to meet "unique Australian conditions".

Year 12:
DSTO spend years working how exactly how to bolt on the widget and ignore the pre-made widget that the supplier gave for free because that widget doesn't meet "unique Australian camouflage patterns".

Year 14:
The thingy is released to much fanfare. The defence minister talks about how it's going to save lives and how the thingy will help make our troops more combat effective.

Meanwhile no one looked at how the digger was using it, why the digger was using it, what the digger thinks of it and what does the digger think is a better thingy.

Year 15:
The digger finally gets to see the thingy. He does a complicated course that's been bastardised by the ADF on the suppliers actual course. The thingy turns out marginally better than the orginal thingy if at all. In the last 15 years there have been some significant technological changes and since the thingy was identified and procured a much newer/better thingy version have come out but can't be bought since DMO and CDG haven't signed off on them as they signed off on thingy version a.

Meanwhile LTCOL x is now discharged, working for the contractor making a killing, the supplier paid big bucks to have someone deeply familiar with the ADF procurements process (read old boys network). Since LTCOL x has never actually used the thingy he still thinks it's the bees knees. When he hears about diggers complaining about it he just says that they are using it wrong and that all the bugs were fixed in the next version if only the ADF would buy it (and he gets the kick backs).

In the meantime we continue to say how we are the best equipped in the world, that our thingys are superior to other countries thingys. Even if they have newer thingys we say they don't use them correctly and that our way is better with older thingys.

Then one day a MAJ reading Australian Defence Magazine sees a really cool thingy that's kind of in his area..........."

It's just as well no-one on the internet actually reads what I post here (Hi Gran!!!)... we wouldn't actually want our elected leaders, senior ADF officers (who actually care for the greater good more than their own careers) and the associated bureaucracy to cotton on and actually handle Defence matters with any kind of common sense now would we (so much for obtaining an indirect fire capability other countries had seventy years ago)?

Quoted for Truth.

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