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Hard to Believe

August 28, 1988

I must take exception to J. Ronald Fox's July 31 Viewpoints column ("Private Industry's Lesson for the Pentagon") blaming inexperienced government program managers for the Defense Department's procurement difficulties. Having been a company program manager, I find it hard to believe that my government counterparts were lacking in experience and authority.

Fox cites industry managers new to the defense business as being appalled at overly detailed specifications, endless reporting, changes in funding and the many audits and controls. He fails to accept the fact that these burdensome controls were installed to prevent procurement improprieties by industry managers.

Fox conveniently omits other facts. Typically, for large programs, the appointed government program managers are senior military people with extensive experience in managing and controlling activities involving many organizations. These managers have staffs that include a large number of technical, managerial and administrative advisers who are specialists in their fields. Generally, there are many more specialists available to the government manager than there are to the contractor. Likewise, the manager can call on the many resources of the Defense Department and its "think tanks" for help when needed.

SAMUEL L. SOLA

Tehachapi

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