My Favorite 10 Augustine Laws of Defense Contracting

Ever read Augustine’s Laws? In the book, Norm Augustine codifies the rules of defense contracting. And gets you thinking as Schlosberg says.

A very satirical read with pseudo-technical commentary and charts, written in 1983. Most of the laws are even more applicable today.

Norm Augustine was an aerospace businessman before his retirement. He served as President and CEO of Lockheed Martin during several of the years I worked for Lockheed Martin. I will remember him most for his book Augustine Laws.

Here are my favorite 10 of the 52 laws described in his book:

Law Number V One-tenth of the participants produce over one-third of the output. Increasing the number of participants merely reduces the average output.

Law Number X Bulls do not win bullfights; people do. People do not win people's fights; lawyers do.

Law Number XIII There are many highly successful businesses in the United States. There are also many highly paid executives. The policy is not to intermingle the two.

Law Number XV The last 10 percent of performance generates one-third of the cost and two-thirds of the problems.

Law Number XVI In the year 2054, the entire defense budget will purchase just one aircraft. This aircraft will have to be shared by the Air Force and Navy 3–1/2 days each per week except for leap year when it will be made available to the Marines for the extra day.

Law Number XVII Software is like entropy. It is difficult to grasp, weighs nothing, and obeys the Second Law of Thermodynamics; i.e., it always increases.

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Law Number XXIIIf stock market experts were so expert, they would be buying stock, not selling advice.

Defense contracting … Law Number XXVA revised schedule is to (an Aerospace) business what a new season is to an athlete or a new canvas to an artist.

Defense contracting … Law Number XXVIIf a sufficient number of management layers are superimposed on each other, it can be assured that disaster is not left to chance.

Law Number XLVIIIThe more time you spend talking about what you have been doing, the less time you have to spend doing what you have been talking about. Eventually, you spend more and more time talking about less and less until finally, you spend all your time talking about nothing.

His most-cited law? That would be number 16, which shows that defense contracting budgets grow linearly but the unit cost of a new military aircraft grows exponentially. This law led to his humorous conclusion about sharing planes.

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In the year 2054, the entire defense budget will purchase just one tactical aircraft. This aircraft will have to be shared by the Air Force and Navy 3½ days each per week except for leap year when it will be made available to the Marines for the extra day. Norm didn’t take himself too seriously, did he? That is a great trait for an effective leader like Augustine.

Mike Schoultz writes about improving the performance of business. Bookmark his blog for stories and articles. www.digitalsparkmarketing.com