Thursday, December 10, 2009
There are a lot of reasons, really. (One is that none of them wanted to hire me.) But this CNAS report, authored by Ethan Kapstein, reminds me of the most significant: think-tanks come up with ridiculous, impossible, never-to-be-implemented ideas all the time.
Now I understand the utility of dialogue, and that some ideas that seem ridiculous at the time eventually become mainstream. What are we to make, though, of a policy brief on defense acquisition reform when the suggestions in it basically amount to:
1. Find a way to make super-smart people work for the government instead of industry
2. Convince Congress to limit itself to an up-or-down vote on the entire defense procurement budget, thus denying itself one of the most effective vehicles for advancing profitable pork and ensuring re-election
Oh yeah, and "the media, think tanks, and the administration should object strenuously when Congress channels unnecessary funds to procurement that should be going directly to our 'boots on the ground' instead." Uh, right. Problem is we've all got a different definition of "unnecessary," don't we?
I recognize that there's something to be gained from examining the lessons of other systems, and from imagining what benefit we might derive from dramatic change. But shouldn't we also consider just exactly how sodding unlikely these "reforms" are to to be implemented?