Acquisition Logistics Guide

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0-16-054762-8

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1.1 THE COLD WAR YEARS

In the years following World War II, the United States entered a period of technological competition with the then Soviet Union called the Cold War. It was a classic quality versus quantity confrontation. The Soviets designed and built tough, technically simple, iterative systems that could be produced in large numbers. The United States usually chose the latest technological solution and relied on projected higher “ kill ratios” to prevail in combat even if the confrontations were between Soviet and U.S. Third-World clients. By the middle of the 1960s, a terrible truth was obvious about the U.S. commitment to high technology. Our systems were fragile, expensive to support, and short-lived when employed. The F-111 aircraft was the classic example. Brilliant in concept, it was formidable on the rare occasion when everything worked and lasted for the duration of a mission. The amount of equipment and number of personnel required to support that aircraft and the support costs involved were shocking. A new philosophical approach was definitely required.

The philosophy was simple to state: Influence the design of a system from its conception so that support was considered and life-cycle costs minimized. The implementation was more difficult. The iterative nature of the design and manufacturing process created disciplinary “ stovepipes” that resisted the intrusion of support considerations on design, and the logisticians lacked an effective tool-set to credibly present their arguments. Intuition wasn’t good enough.

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