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To Engineer is Human Engineer is Human2018-07-17T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass674678E171E04398A8FEA0B803D0399B"><img alt="arj-76-book-review" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/To%20Engineer%20is%20Human.jpg" style="margin-right:4px;margin-left:4px;float:left;width:129px;height:200px;" /> <h2>To Engineer is Human</h2> <p><strong>Author:</strong> Henry Petroski</p> <p><strong>Publisher:</strong> Vintage</p> <p><strong>Copyright Date:</strong> 1992</p> <p><strong>Hard/Softcover/Digital:</strong> Both, 272 pages, <a href=""></a></p> <p><strong>ISBN: </strong>978-0679734161</p> <p><strong>Reviewed by:</strong> Aileen Sedmak, Deputy Director for Systems Engineering Policy, Guidance, and Workforce, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering, Pentagon, Washington, DC.</p> <hr /> <h2>Summary</h2> <p>This book has its origins in the basic question: What is engineering? It sets forth the premise that understanding failure is essential to understanding and achieving success in engineering. Fundamentally, engineering is figuring out how things work, solving problems, and finding practical uses and ways of doing things that have not been done before. Successful engineers properly anticipate how things can fail, and design accordingly. Case studies of past failures thus provide invaluable information for the design of future successes.</p> <p>Conversely, designs based on the extrapolation of successful experience alone can lead to failure, because latent design features that were not important in earlier systems can become overlooked design flaws that dominate the behavior of more complex systems that evolve over time. This paradox is explored in To Engineer Is Human in the context of historical case studies, which provide hard data to test the hypotheses put forward. Among the historical data points are the repeated and recurrent failures of suspension bridges, which from the 1850s through the 1930s evolved from John Roebling’s enormous successes—culminating in the Brooklyn Bridge—to structures that oscillated in the wind and, in the case of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, twisted itself apart and collapsed in 1940. Lessons learned from these cases and others are generalized to apply across a broad spectrum of engineering structures and complex systems. They also help explain why failures continue to occur, even as technology advances.</p> <p><em>Summary by: Henry Petroski, Professor of Civil Engineering and History, Duke University</em></p> <hr /> <h2>Review</h2> <p>Henry Petroski’s 1982 classic is relevant today given the Department of Defense’s challenge to develop and deliver highly effective and reliable defense systems that are increasingly integrated and complex. A natural result of this increased complexity is increased risk and probability of failure. However, efforts to eliminate all risk would impede the Department’s ability to provide the warfighter with the technological superiority to dominate the battlefield in an economical and timely manner. Instead, Petroski challenges us to understand and learn from our failures, which allows us to push the technical edge of our defense capabilities even further.</p> <p>As an example, Petroski cites the case of Washington state’s Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which shook apart in high winds just a few months after opening in 1940. The engineer, Leon Moisseiff, based the bridge design on the designs of several successful bridges of the time, but he did not consider the wind-related problems that had damaged other bridges. All structures have a natural resonance, and the bridge design did not account for this resonance. When the wind hit 42 miles per hour, it caused the motion that ultimately led to failure. As a result of this disaster, modern structural engineers now factor in wind flow. They use simulation programs to better understand and design for the natural resonance of bridges, buildings, and other structures.</p> <p>Sharing this and other classic examples of engineering failures—a 1979 DC-10 crash in Chicago, a 1981 Kansas City Hyatt Regency walkway collapse, and more—Petroski shows that a failure-proof design does not exist, that innovation involves risk, and that studying failures contributes more to advancing technology than copying successes. <em>“One of the paradoxes of engineering is that successes don’t teach you very much. A successful bridge teaches you that <u>that</u> bridge works,”</em>Petroski says. This success does not prove that the same bridge, built at a different location or made longer or taller, would also be successful.<em> “It’s all theory until it’s completed,”</em> Petroski explains. Yet engineering curricula often focus on successful designs and neglect unsuccessful ones, which, ironically, could lead to future failures.</p> <p>Petroski stresses we need to understand how failures happened and incorporate this learning into the design process. Failure analyses influence the way engineers hypothesize, push the limits, and develop new systems and structures. Petroski says, <em>“I believe that the concept of failure…is central to understanding engineering, for engineering design has as its first and foremost objective the obviation of failure. Thus the colossal failures that do occur are ultimately failures of design, but the lessons learned from these disasters can do more to advance engineering knowledge than all the successful machines and structures in the world.”</em></p> <p>This brings Petroski to another point, that Moisseiff’s reliance on engineering successes and exclusion of engineering failures has a modern-day counterpart: computer simulation. <em>“There is clearly no guarantee of success in designing new things on the basis of past successes alone, and this is why artificial intelligence, expert systems, and other computer-based design aids whose logic follows examples of success can only have limited application,”</em> Petroski writes. Interestingly, Petroski points out that mistakes are more easily made because it still requires the human to ask the correct questions, to provide the correct scope, and to install checking mechanisms.</p> <p>This book is a valuable read for program managers, engineers, and other acquisition professionals. It helps put into perspective how the complex systems demanded by today’s warfighter cannot necessarily be developed and delivered in a fail-proof manner. It illustrates that our ability to learn from mistakes through risk reduction prototypes and “failing fast” during our development process can increase our ability to solve complex problems and deliver a safer capability in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.</p> <hr /> <h2>Multimedia</h2> <a href=""><strong>Author at National Book Festival 2010</strong></a> <hr />To print a PDF copy of this article, <a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/toengineerishuman.pdf">click here</a>.</div>string;#/library/professional-reading-program/blog/To-Engineer-is-Human
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t2018-07-17T04:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass7180A445C48B4F029587999059D8C0E0"><h2><img src="" alt="" style="margin-right:4px;margin-left:4px;float:left;" />Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t</h2> <p><strong>Author(s):</strong> Jim Collins<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> HarperBusiness<br> <strong>Copyright Date:</strong> 2011<br> <strong>ASIN:</strong> B0058DRUV6<br> <strong>Hard/Softcover:</strong> Both, 330 pages<br> <strong>Reviewed by: </strong>William “Bill” Kobren, C.P.L. , Director, Logistics & Sustainment Center Defense Acquisition University</p> <hr /> <h2>Summary</h2> <p><em>Built to Last,</em> the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.</p> <p>But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?</p> <p>The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?</p> <p>Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness — why some companies make the leap and others don’t. The findings of the <em>Good to Great </em>study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice.</p> <hr /> <h2>Review</h2> <p>What separates the good from the great? The merely successful from the very best? The effective from best-in-class?</p> <p>Insights gleaned from extensive research can be found in a book by author Jim Collins entitled<em>Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t</em>. The second in a series of books by Collins which include <em>Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies</em> (coauthored with Jerry Porras) and <em>Great by Choice</em>, <em>Good to Great</em> has applicability not just to businesses, corporations, and the corporate world, but to government organizations, including the Department of Defense and defense acquisition organizations. It also has staying power, and is still readily available fifteen years after first being published.</p> <p>In<em> Good to Great</em>, Collins seeks the answer to one fundamental question, “‘Can a good company become a great company, and if so, how?’ Based on a five-year research project comparing companies that made the leap to those that did not, <em>Good to Great</em> shows that greatness is not primarily a function of circumstance but largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”</p> <p>A surprisingly easy read, <em>Good to Great</em> is an interesting, insightful, engaging, research-driven and perhaps most importantly, relevant book. Collins summarizes his premise in the first sentence with the truism, “good is the enemy of great,” and then proceeds to delve into the common characteristics of great organizations who successfully made the transition from good. Those characteristics include:</p> <ul> <li>What Collins calls “Level 5 Leadership” (“a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will”),</li> <li>“First Who, then What” (“first get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats – and <em>then</em> figure out where to drive it.”),</li> <li>“Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith) (“maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time, have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality”),</li> <li>“The Hedgehog Concept” (cornerstone of the book, “if you cannot be the best in the world at your core business, then your core business absolutely cannot form the basis of a great company”),</li> <li>“A Culture of Discipline” (“When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great performance.”),</li> <li>“Technology Accelerators (“Good-to-great companies…never use technology as the primary means of igniting a transformation. Yet paradoxically they are pioneers in the application of carefully selected technologies”),</li> <li>“The Flywheel and the Doom Loop” (“Those who launch revolutions, dramatic change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap…Tremendous power exists in the fact of continued improvement and the delivery of results”)</li> </ul> <p>Although several of the companies identified as having made the leap from good-to-great back in 2001 have subsequently fallen off of the pedestal for a variety of often unrelated reasons, the foundational tenets and principles Collins and his team identified remain as timeless and relevant to successful organizations today as they did fifteen years ago when this book was first published.</p> <hr /> <h2>Multimedia</h2> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe> <hr />To print a PDF copy of this article, <a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/Book-Review-Good-to-Great-.pdf">click here</a>.</div>string;#/library/professional-reading-program/blog/Good-to-Great--Why-Some-Companies-Make-the-Leap…And-Others-Don’t
How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon2018-10-01T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass06C216D692464062A2BEEE4B06BCC7F7"><h1><img src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/howeverthing.jpg" style="margin-left:4px;margin-right:4px;float:left;" />How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon</h1> <strong>Author: </strong>Rosa Brooks<br> <strong>Publisher: </strong>Simon and Schuster<br> <strong>Copyright Date:</strong> 2016<br> <strong>Available Online:</strong> <a href=""></a><br> <strong>Hard/Softcover/Digital: </strong>Hardcover, 448 pages<br> <strong>ISBN-10: </strong>1476777861<br> <strong>ISBN-13:</strong> 978-1476777863<br> <strong>DOI:</strong> <a href=""> </a><br> <strong>Reviewed by:</strong> Dr. Trevor Taylor, Professorial Fellow in Defence Management, Royal United Service Institute (RUSI) <hr /> <h1><br> Summary</h1> Once, war was a temporary state of affairs. Today, America’s wars are everywhere and forever: our enemies change constantly and rarely wear uniforms, and virtually anything can become a weapon. As war expands, so does the role of the US military. Military personnel now analyze computer code, train Afghan judges, build Ebola isolation wards, eavesdrop on electronic communications, develop soap operas, and patrol for pirates. You name it, the military does it.<br> <br> In this “ambitious and astute” (<i>The Washington Post</i>) work, Rosa Brooks “provides a masterful analysis” (<i>San Francisco Chronicle</i>) of this seismic shift in how America wages war from an unconventional perspective—that of a former top Pentagon official who is the daughter of two anti-war protesters and married to an Army Green Beret. By turns a memoir, a work of journalism, a scholarly exploration of history, anthropology, and law, <i>How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything</i> is an “illuminating” (<i>The New York Times</i>), “eloquent” (<i>The Boston Globe</i>), “courageous” (<i>US News & World Report</i>), and “essential” (<i>The Dallas Morning News</i>) examination of the role of the military today. Above all, it is a rallying cry, for Brooks issues an urgent warning: When the boundaries around war disappear, we undermine both America’s founding values and the international rules and organizations that keep our world from sliding towards chaos. <hr /> <h1>Review</h1> <hr />This book’s central concern is the changing nature of violent conflict and the future of law as a moderating and constraining influence. It makes clear that currently law is not keeping up. The author’s background is that of an academic lawyer who has spent considerable time in the developing world in a private capacity, and who also served for a short but meaningful period in the Pentagon during the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama. Her range of knowledge and experience is brought to bear and apparent through the work. Her exploration of the historical and cultural approaches to the phenomenon of war and of the development of professional militaries helps to put today’s world into a meaningful context. The book’s analysis recognises the complexity of modern life: it makes clear that the 9/11 attacks were not an “armed attack” in the traditional sense of the use of force by a foreign military, “but if the wilful killing of thousands in an attack originating abroad wasn’t an ‘armed attack,’ what was it?” (p. 250).<br> <br> Similarly, when discussing the responsibility of a government to protect its own population, she observes that “it’s not clear how an intervention intended to protect civilians from predation from their own government could avoid morphing into regime change in the face of continuing attacks on civilians” (p. 247). When she looks at the United States, she draws attention to the use of the term “war” in political discourse and with specific focus on the phrase “war on terror.” She says that because such a struggle can never be won in a traditional sense, it is used to justify many actions that are not transparent or accountable such as the execution of specific individuals who have not been dealt with through a judicial process. These matters are addressed not just in principle, but also through detailed examples and the author’s personal experience, including a visit to Guantanamo Bay. Brooks asserts that congressional powers have been eroded by the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the executive, under both Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, exceeded the powers granted in the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force legislation. Another topic, referred to in the second part of the book’s title, is about how the U.S. Army has evolved, through its counterinsurgency and stabilisation roles, into a body concerned with more than the threat and use of lethal force. When she asked U.S. soldiers how they had spent their recent deployments, most had “supervised the building of wells, sewers, and bridges, helped resolve community disputes, patrolled territory, worked with the local police, analysed intelligence data, [and] engaged in cyber operations” (pp. 326 Defense ARJ, October 2018, Vol. 25 No. 3 : 324–326 Defense ARJ, October 2018, Vol. 25 No. 3 : 324–326 327 A Publication of the Defense Acquisition University October 2018 259–60). While she is not optimistic about the U.S.<br> <br> Army’s international engagement programmes, the book brings out well how this expansion of the U.S. Army’s agenda has, among other things, sparked resentment in the State Department and the Agency for International Development, which tend to become swamped when the Department of Defense shows up. The book’s limitations are first, its somewhat cursory treatment of the role of contractors in the support of U.S. operations. Second, some will find its final chapter of recommendations to be strong on exhortation, but weaker on detail and application, with its stress on the need to see war and peace on a continuum rather than as a binary and its assertion that some form of war is the norm not the exception in human history. However, she is surely right to regret that discussions in Washington about war are dominated by legal issues, and that what is not prohibited is allowed. However, in real life, policy and morality matter, and “you have to argue about right and wrong, good and evil, fear and hope, cruelty and compassion. Few lawyers are good at that sort of conversation, but it’s a conversation we need to have” (p. 363). Every so often a reader is lucky to encounter a book that ticks a series of boxes: it deals with important issues in international relations and national security governance and management; is clear and easy to read; presents evidence in an authoritative manner; and is both provocative and persuasive. Brooks has written such a work, but which senior member of the current U.S. administration will read it? <hr />Note: This review was first published in the <em>RUSI Journal</em>, 162(6), December 2017. It is reprinted here with the permission of the author, RUSI Journal, and Taylor & Francis Group. <hr /><strong>Multimedia:</strong><br> <iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe> <hr />To print a PDF copy of this review, <a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/ARJ86%20Book%20Review.pdf">click here.</a></div>string;#/library/professional-reading-program/blog/How-Everything-Became-War-and-the-Military-Became-Everything--Tales-from-the-Pentagon
America Inc.?: Innovation and Enterprise in the National Security State Inc.?: Innovation and Enterprise in the National Security State2018-10-01T16:00:00Z<div class="ExternalClass7A6FCB91112648B0A13249C86BE19892"><img alt="first-90-days-thumb" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/AmericaInc.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:133px;height:200px;" /> <h3 id="title">America Inc.? Innovation and Enterprise in the National Security State</h3> <p><strong>Author(s): </strong>Linda Weiss<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> Cornell University Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2014)<br> <strong>Copyright Date:</strong> 2014<br> <strong>ISBN-13:</strong> 978-0801479304<br> <strong>ISBN-10:</strong> 0801479304<br> <strong>Hard/Softcover:</strong> 277 pages<br> <strong>Reviewed by: </strong>Mr. Michael McMahon, Adjunct Faculty, School of Continuing Studies, Georgetown University</p> <hr /> <h3>Summary</h3> <p>For more than half a century, the United States has led the world in developing major technologies that drive the modern economy and underpin its prosperity. In <em>America, Inc.</em>, Linda Weiss attributes the U.S. capacity for transformative innovation to the strength of its national security state, a complex of agencies, programs, and hybrid arrangements that has developed around the institution of permanent defense preparedness and the pursuit of technological supremacy. She examines how that complex emerged and how it has evolved in response to changing geopolitical threats and domestic political constraints, from the Cold War period to the post-9/11 era.</p> <p>Weiss focuses on state-funded venture capital funds, new forms of technology procurement by defense and security-related agencies, and innovation in robotics, nanotechnology, and renewable energy since the 1980s. Weiss argues that the national security state has been the crucible for breakthrough innovations, a catalyst for entrepreneurship and the formation of new firms, and a collaborative network coordinator for private-sector initiatives. Her book appraises persistent myths about the military-commercial relationship at the core of the National Security State. Weiss also discusses the implications for understanding U.S. capitalism, the American state, and the future of American primacy as financialized corporations curtail investment in manufacturing and innovation.</p> <hr /> <h3>Review</h3> America Inc.? offers a well-documented and researched challenge to those who take great confidence in the role of private enterprise and limited government as the foundation stones for U.S. technological dominance from the post-Cold War period to the Post-9/11 era.<br> <br> Australian academic Linda Weiss sets forth to identify and describe the critical players and relationships responsible for ensuring America’s technological superiority for both national security and commercial purposes. In the process, she aims to debunk several mythologies surrounding the roles of the public and private sectors in the U.S. economy.<br> <br> Weiss starts by identifying a National Security State (NSS)—an apparatus much more expansive than the usual suspects in defense (law enforcement and intelligence)—as the driving impetus behind U.S. technological innovation. The NSS is not an authoritarian enterprise, but rather a technology enterprise geared toward building and maintaining technological supremacy over geopolitical rivals such as the Soviet Union and commercial competitors such as Japan. Chapters focus on the specific means and methods by which her conceptualized NSS guides U.S. industry to specific technological outcomes. In keeping with the traditional American ethos of private enterprise and a limited government role in the national economy, the NSS inclines towards hybrid mechanisms such as venture capital investments, licensing, and new institutional arrangements that move state-funded innovations to market.<br> <br> One of the popular myths that Weiss targets is the “serendipity argument” that government-funded research and development produces spin-off applications suitable for commercial markets. To the contrary, Weiss argues “spin-around”— that the NSS often looks first toward the commercial sustainability of innovative products so that government agencies can procure successful commercial-offthe-shelf technology afterwards.<br> <br> After an exhaustive litany of case studies and examples, readers are left with the United States as a unique model of hybrid capitalism, whereby U.S. government agencies are in fact highly entwined in the commercial sector in order to build and maintain high-tech dominance. The various categories and models of public-private partnership presented by Weiss are a credit to her substantial research and analysis; they are quite informative and help give order to an otherwise seemingly endless array of federal agency initiatives and programs.<br> <br> Her final conclusions—especially the myth-debunking narratives—run the risk of being somewhat overstated, and may prove less illuminating for serious students of the field. Though Weiss clearly has the true believers of free-market capitalism in her sights, her substantial scholarship chronicling U.S. technological dominance from the post-Cold War period to the Post-9/11 era renders America, Inc.? well suited for academic study. <hr /> <h3>Multimedia</h3> <iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe> <hr />To print a PDF copy of this article, <a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/ARJ84%20Reading%20List.pdf">click here</a>.</div>string;#/library/professional-reading-program/blog/America-Inc---Innovation-and-Enterprise-in-the-National-Security-State-