Augustine’s Laws – revisited

The epiphany of Norm Augustine...

Former Lockheed Martin CEO, Norm Augustine, was a defense industry titan, but his greatest contribution to the business world might just be his 1983 book, Augustine’s Laws, in which he posits the absurdities of managing a large aerospace corporation. A recent editorial by David Smallwood (1203smal) reprises Augustine’s Laws. In reading this latest treatment, it occurred to me how shockingly relevant Augustine’s insights remain to the current defense industry.

“Large increases in cost with questionable increases in performance can be tolerated only for race horses and fancy women.” – Lord Kelvin

Kelvin’s idea forms the basis of Augustine’s Law XV: The last 10% of performance generates one- third of the cost and two-thirds of the problems.

Both treatments speak to the heart of the future of defense acquisition: 70% solutions delivered on-time and on-budget are infinitely better than 100% solutions delivered a day late and a dollar short…

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