Billion-Dollar Flop


Interesting article in NY Times today: “Billion-Dollar Flop: Air Force Stumbles on Software Plan”:

QUOTE: “For the United States Air Force, installing a new software system has certainly proved to be a wicked problem. Last month, it canceled a six-year-old modernization effort that had eaten up more than $1 billion. When the Air Force realized that it would cost another $1 billion just to achieve one-quarter of the capabilities originally planned — and that even then the system would not be fully ready before 2020 — it decided to decamp… The software initiative, called the Expeditionary Combat Support System, was supposed to manage logistics using software from Oracle. In 2006, the Air Force announced that it had awarded a $628 million contract to the Computer Sciences Corporation to serve as lead system integrator…” END QUOTE

Unfortunately the article is not answering some of the key questions one might have after reading it:

  1. As a taxpayer I want to know whether US government will have its money back?
  2. Why exactly the program failed? Was it software’s fault, or vendor incompetence,  or all of the above? (one of the suggested reasons is the desire to do too much at once and lack of central leadership in the project)
  3. How can the Air Force to go forward with the software systems built in 70s?
  4. What disciplinary actions are taken against those who was in charge of spending this much taxpayers money?
  5. What actions are taken against Oracle and CSC? Where there any SLAs set for the project?
    etc.


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