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04/01/2006

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J.

I've noticed this trend also - Boeing has a huge integration-focused group, I think Lockheed-Martin and SAIC do also. I'm not sure it's a bad thing all the time - the defense systems and desired capabilities are getting so complex that it takes a team of people to stay on top of all the acquisition decisions and all the contractors. The sad fact is that the government doesn't have the skilled acquisition experts in enough quantity to manage these programs, thus necessitating these integration contracts. I agree with you that it probably does raise the cost of business, perhaps too high, but at least there is a better chance of getting the job done on time.

Then again, there are cases that demonstrate this isn't a good idea. SAIC got an integration contract to put CBRN defense equipment on military installations. Out of a one billion dollar contract, they got a third of the money for executing the contract over a six-year period of performance. They were supposed to survey the installations, recommend placement of the CBRN defense equipment, help the installation commander and staff get the equipment into place, and exercise the staff. It has been a horrible failure - one base got equipment in the first year when 15 were supposed to get equipment. Of course, the Army PM in charge was half the problem, but SAIC had to take the blame as well.

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