Official Short-sightedness - a philosophical question

FlagWagger

GCM
Book Reviewer
Reading the reports on the BBC News web-site, and other on-line UK press sites, about the apparent overstretch of the UK military (Troops shortage a clear danger) and the MoD's party line that the current situation is sustainable I cannot fail to see a parallel between the current situation and the NASA cock-up over Challenger.

As is well known, Challenger suffered a catstrophic failure shortly after launch - in the investigation it was revealed that the root cause of the explosion was an O-Ring seal which had failed due to the low temperatures encountered. While engineers suspected a high likelihood of failure, NASA management had brushed off their concerns and were much more optimistic. A good commentary on the different viewpoints can be found in the commentary on the official report by Richard Feynman, a Nobel prize winning physicist who worked on the Manhattan project and bongo player.

Quoting from the introduction of this section:

It appears that there are enormous differences of opinion as to the probability of a failure with loss of vehicle and of human life. The estimates range from roughly 1 in 100 to 1 in 100,000. The higher figures come from the working engineers, and the very low figures from management. What are the causes and consequences of this lack of agreement? Since 1 part in 100,000 would imply that one could put a Shuttle up each day for 300 years expecting to lose only one, we could properly ask "What is the cause of management's fantastic faith in the machinery?"

The parallel between the Mod saying "we can do it" in the face of comments from people like Gen Dannatt, Gen Jackson, the Commons Defence Committee, unnamed serving officers, etc. is striking.

In the his conclusions, Feynmann identifies that time and cost constraints condemned the engineers to flying the shuttle with reduced safety margins, however, these reductions wer recognised and understood at the engineering level. He then goes on to conclude that:

Official management, on the other hand, claims to believe the probability of failure is a thousand times less. One reason for this may be an attempt to assure the government of NASA perfection and success in order to ensure the supply of funds. The other may be that they sincerely believed it to be true, demonstrating an almost incredible lack of communication between themselves and their working engineers.

The cost of the NASA management's short-sightedness was 7 astronauts (who all knew the risk of spaceflight) and a costly remediation programme. The cost to the MOD in terms of lives in Afghanistan and Iraq is already far greater than this. How much longer will the mandarins of the MOD delude themselves that the current situation is sustainable?
 
They will continue deluding themselves that it's sutainable until, to use your own example, the shuttle blows up. If by some stroke of luck the explosion doesn't occur, they'll justify their delusions by pointing to this as proof.

Remember, the definition of the term "more efficient" when applied to the Armed Services is vastly different, depending on whether or not you're a serviceman or an accountant.
 
The fact those in charge do seem to believe their own spin and propaganda is very scary, and yes I forsee some significant catastrophy before the next election, in some ways the present situation in Afghanistan is a precursor.

In reality a good accountant and a service man could agree on more efficient, it is just that the treasury are not actualy interested in ifficiency or effectiveness, just money, and the less of it they can give you the better.

The reality is that the country can't afford both Tones adventurism and Godons generosity, but neither of them will give in.
 

Clouseau

Banned
Comparing NASA's engineering risk management of the space shuttle project with a government's management of a county's combined foreign, defence and financial policy is streatching it a bit?!! :?

How about comparing the shortsightedness of the architects of the SS Titanic with, say, the US vietnam policies of the 1960's?! :)
 

FlagWagger

GCM
Book Reviewer
Clouseau said:
Comparing NASA's engineering risk management of the space shuttle project with a government's management of a county's combined foreign, defence and financial policy is streatching it a bit?!! :?

How about comparing the shortsightedness of the architects of the SS Titanic with, say, the US vietnam policies of the 1960's?! :)
Both short-sighted and over-optimistic, just like NASA management and the UK MoD. I accept that there's a huge difference in scale, however, I believe that there are parallels between the MOD's behaviour and that of NASA.
 

noemis

Lantern Swinger
Had previously attempted to post eloquent reply but lost it somehow so resorted to "Muppets"!

When will Tony and his cronies realise that:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2969787.stm

Someone considered to be a good CDS took early retirement because he was fed up with banging his head agaist the bulkhead!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6046888.stm

The new CGS is uncomfortable with the overstretch!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6215296.stm

And the last guy in the job thinks they are muppets!

These men could bite their tounges no longer and said it how it was, I salute their moral bravery. Tony and Gordon don't understand the concept, just trying to cement their entry in the history books as leaders on a world stage. I hope that I am correct in my belief that they will be viewed as morally bankrupt and incompetent!

Get rid of these numpties, RR for PM!!
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
MoD_RSS Charity regulator issues Official Warning to Islamic Centre of England Ltd MoD News 0
MoD_RSS British Steel: ministerial direction on continuation of Official Receiver’s indemnity MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Contacting an Official Receiver MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Official Development Assistance Programme 2020-2021: Expressions of Interest MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Prince of Wales concludes tenth official visit to India MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Prince of Wales embarks on tenth official visit to India MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Prince of Wales embarks on tenth official visit to India MoD News 0
MoD_RSS DBS have launched an official Twitter account MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Minister for Europe makes first official visit to Cyprus MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Bankrupt hid property from Official Receiver receives prison term MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Northern Powerhouse Minister backs Liverpool’s regeneration plans in first official visit since Cabinet promotion MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Official Receiver enters exclusive sales talks with preferred buyer for British Steel MoD News 0
MoD_RSS (Official Warning Withdrawn): Charitable think tank warned over breaches of charity law MoD News 0
MoD_RSS News story: New Official Solicitor and Public Trustee appointed MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Press release: British exports hit a record high, according to new official data MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Press release: Minister for Europe accompanies The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on Their official visit to Germany MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Press release: Commission applies to High Court to appoint an Official Receiver to charity MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Press release: Charity Commission issues Official Warning to trustee of housing charity MoD News 0
MoD_RSS News story: Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) claims and the Official Receiver MoD News 0
MoD_RSS News story: Minister Adams honours courageous Armed Forces at his first official engagement in Wales. MoD News 0
P Official photographers Nearest & Dearest 1
BillyNoMates Happy Official Birthday H.M. the Q. Diamond Lil's 4
u04elw2 Official RNR Entry Date...what does this mean? Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 5
alexissonice HMS Collingwood Official Summer Leave Dates 2014 Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 9
C An old Official number (?) History 4
soleil Royal Navy/Navy News Official Calendar 2014 - "Royal Navy Sea Power" The Fleet 6
trelawney126 It's Official Most MP's are Nutters Diamond Lil's 4
soleil Scilly Today: "Islands May Get Official Navy Visit This Summer" The Fleet 2
frogman007 BBC: "Royal Navy Submariner Admits Official Secrets Act Breach" Submariners 45
G Help needed on official numbers History 2
trelawney126 Submariner charged Official Secrets Act. Current Affairs 0
Bad CO The Official ARRSE Guide to the British Army by Major Des Astor Competitions 1
trelawney126 It's Official "Crabby Northerners" Diamond Lil's 6
E RM - Official Flower? The Corps 2
soleil Royal Navy Official Calendar 2011 - "Island Nation" - Last Few Left! The Fleet 2
D Official residance Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 6
trelawney126 FRENCH Official Language London Olympics 2012 Diamond Lil's 4
RachelC The Royal British Legion’s official Poppy People launch Charity 0
soleil RN Website: HMS Raleigh - Official Recruiting Update Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 29
soleil Somerset Gztte: Official Opening for Marines' Medical Centre The Corps 0
R Ex service members - Official wearing of uniform. Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 50
slim China schoolgirl aspires to be 'corrupt official':state medi Diamond Lil's 3
alfred_the_great The use of RR as an Official Forum Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) 53
Oil_Slick Official! - Pompey birds are the fattest munters in the land Current Affairs 25
BillyNoMates Official M.O.D. Reports. Current Affairs 2
B Baby P council official appeals against sacking Current Affairs 30
T Obesity as dangerous as Terrorism - Official claims Diamond Lil's 6
Ninja_Stoker Soldiers KIA allegedly left off official lists Current Affairs 0
defenceheadquarters Strategic Review Of UK Reserve Forces - "official" thread Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) 4
trehorn Official - RNR Get a "New" Reserve Training Centre. Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) 58
Similar threads


















































Latest Threads

Top