Friday, July 31, 2009

How to Create a Problem

In my job I find the hardest part is to deal with decision making based on opinion, emotion, or spur of the moment ideas. This is the way the US government works. Every senior leader, regardless of whether he/she is a General or a Civilian makes multi-million dollar decisions based on nothing more substantial than a set of briefing slides. Then, regardless of whether the decision is good, bad or indifferent, their successor will want to review and probably change that decision. This leads to tremendous waste, and serves as a model of what the Obama administration believes is the way to run things.

In flying we had a saying. There was nothing more useless than altitude above you, runway behind you, and airspeed you don't have; for the Federal government it would be last years budget. Your money wasted last year should have no impact on the decisions we make this year.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Government HeaLth Insurance

As I sit listening to President Obama discuss health care reform I can certainly see his point that sick people shouldn't have to pay too much to get better. In a perfect world, all medical professionals should be friendly, good-looking, competent and fix sick people for free. Here's what is bothering me about this latest thrust for greater government control over how our existence should be managed.

I know of no endeavor the federal government has ever attempted where efficiency, accurate cost accounting, and effective management have been central to the success of the effort. We have acquisition professionals who believe that we should pay $100,000,000.00 for a fighter, that it is reasonable to spend $50,000 for each hour we fly that fighter, and since it isn't their money no cost is unreasonable. A government bureau once established, will do whatever it needs to further its own existence. Everything else becomes secondary.

Let's take, for example, Homeland Security. Once established, exactly what have they done to educate us, or tighten our defenses? Maybe it is just it is all so secret! TSA, a part of Home Land Security certainly has dramatically improved our air transportation experience with the security color code systems and all the gate checks.... Wouldn't it be a little better if we didn't have the same heightened state of alert for the last 7 years?

Medicaid is probably as close an example of what we can expect from government-run health insurance. Isn't this the same organization that is routinely found to have paid fraudulent claims costing American taxpayers millions and millions of dollars. Apparently, government bureaucrats are quite gullible.

It would be my hope we can find a way to provide a safety net to Americans without health insurance, but if we socialize medicine I expect we will see so many abuses of the system our overall ability to provide the finest medical care in the world will disappear.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I've been thinking lately about how we deal with failure, misfortune, and unexpected outcomes. I have come to believe it is a fully human reaction to rationalize these events are always beyond our control and there was nothing we could do to alter the outcome. Or is it?

Why is it so hard for us to admit to ourselves, or to others, we've made a mistake, we've forgotten something, or we didn't accomplish what we've set set out to do? Is it to protect our psyche, our reputation, or is there another motivation?

In my current job I find dealing with this is perhaps the hardest communication issue I have. If nothing is ever our fault then how can we affect change? How can we learn from our mistakes or not make the same mistakes over and over?

Wouldn't it be neat if we could teach our children to be responsible, to try their best, to recognize their mistakes, to find alternative approaches and move past the self pity that comes so naturally to our generation?
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