Not Jobs, Skills

It is “the fiduciary duty” of the current Pentagon management team to hand off to its successors a “vibrant,” functional, and healthy defense industrial base, Pentagon acquisition chief Ash Carter said Wednesday. “I don’t mean jobs, I mean skills,” Carter said, “Skills which, if we allow them to erode, will be difficult to recreate and which cannot be found in the commercial economy. Those are the ones we have a duty towards.” The health of the aircraft design base is “something that we have been concerned about in the wake of the cancellation of the Next Generation Bomber” and Carter said Defense Secretary Robert Gates told him to “do something about that.” The result is the enabling technology research funding meant to hold design teams together. “We are now trying to bridge the several key performers of that work in key technical areas to the era of the family of systems when we can get them going on an appropriate set of projects.”