Review of Bud Bakers Article the Fall of the Firefly: an Assessment of a Failed Project Strategy.

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Bud Baker tells us it this article about a program that the United States Air Force has that they used to select their Pilots and to weed out the candidates for pilots they didn’t want. For a long time the Air Force would conduct their initial flight testing of new pilot candidates with an aircraft called the Cessna model 172. This is not a very powerful or acrobatic aircraft by any standards but the pilot test evaluators at the time felt this plane to be very suitable to their pilot testing needs. These Evaluators felt it to be more than acceptable considering most Air Force pilots were not to be Fighter aircraft pilots by rather pilots of bombers, transports and other support aircraft, only a few candidates become pilots and fewer still become Fighter Pilots and that was fine because the fighter pilots had their own Fighter aircraft to train with. At some point in the mid eighties members of the Senior leadership of the Air Force decided they felt that the entrance test aircraft should be much more powerful and capable such as a typical fighter aircraft. Mr. Baker tells us that there was much discussion and some argument about this decision amongst the rank and structure of the Air Force. In the end it was decided for the Air Force to use an existing acquisition strategy to purchase a replacement Testing aircraft. This Strategy is called the Commercial Off The Shelf strategy or COTS for short. The Air Force Senior leaderships position was that this COTS strategy is the best way for them to obtain a huge high dollar program such as a new aircraft system. They wanted to buy this aircraft very close to being completed allowing them to save on the immense Development and manufacturing costs. Bud Bakers article tells us that this is where the problems began. The competition for this COTS aircraft system contract had seven competitors and the Air force ended

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