When I started this job, almost eleven years ago, CECOM took pride in the fact that it was the center of excellence. Everyone took pride in the work being done, including management. With two wars going on, spending in the DoD was accordingly high.
However, now that the wars have ended (well, mostly), funding has been significantly cut. Management is now forced to manage to the dollar, not to the quality of the programs. I understand that management has limitations, and they have to work within those limitations. They don’t have the leeway that they used to when it comes to funding programs. Sure, there were always unfunded programs, but now there are a lot more of them. I get that, I really do. But the sad part is that now we are sacrificing quality for lower costs. Now, this is not uncommon, the government has a history of going to the lowest bidders (just one look at the buildings I work in shows you the “benefits” of lowest bidder), so I know I shouldn’t be all that surprised.
But with the budget cuts, we have moved into a situation of working as a Center of Good Enough. As long as the system is good enough, it doesn’t need to be excellent. It’s good enough for government work. Management doesn’t even seem to try. The dollar is the most important thing.
I guess there is nothing to do but work within the limitations. If a system that you use does 99% of what you need it to do, but there is a system that does 10% of what you need, for 20% of the cost, you may have to settle for the 10% and hope that it is enough.
So, the Center of Excellence is becoming the Center of Good Enough… or, as one coworker called it, the Center of Meh.