Norman Augustine, fully Norman Ralph Augustine

Norman
Augustine, fully Norman Ralph Augustine
1935

American Aerospace Businessman, Chairman of the Review of United States Human Space Flights Plans Committee and Under Secretary of the Army

Author Quotes

Law Number XXVII: Rank does not intimidate hardware. Neither does the lack of rank.

People do not win people fights. Lawyers do.

Law Number XXVIII: It is better to be the reorganizer than the reorganize.

Right now the U.S. is not responding to change as we need to. But there is a way forward. Five years ago, I was part of a commission that studied U.S. competitiveness. We issued a report called Rising Above the Gathering Storm, which made some important recommendations and specific actions to implement them. The recommendations were: Improve K-12 science and math education. Invest in long-term basic research. Attract and retain the best and brightest students, scientists and engineers in the U.S. and around the world. Create and sustain incentives for innovation and research investment.

Law Number XXX: By the time the people asking the questions are ready for the answers, the people doing the work have lost track of the questions.

That?s how we rose to prominence. And that?s where we?re falling behind now. The statistics tell the story. U.S. consumers spend significantly more on potato chips than the U.S. government devotes to energy R&D. In 2009, for the first time, over half of U.S. patents were awarded to non-U.S. companies. China has replaced the U.S. as the world?s number one high-technology exporter. Between 1996 and 1999, 157 new drugs were approved in the U.S. Ten years later, that number had dropped to 74. The World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. #48 in quality of math and science education.

Law Number XXXI: The optimum committee has no members.

The average regulation has a life span one-fifth as long as a chimpanzee's and one-tenth as long as a human's -- but four times as long as the officials who created it.

Law Number XXXII: Hiring consultants to conduct studies can be an excellent means of turning problems into gold, your problems into their gold.

The 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.

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 XXXIII: Fools rush in where incumbents fear to tread.

The only thing more costly than stretching the schedule of an established project is accelerating it, which is itself the most costly action known to man.

Law Number XVI: Software is like entropy. It is difficult to grasp, weighs nothing, and obeys the second law of thermodynamics; i.e. it always increases.

Law Number XXXIV: The process of competitively selecting contractors to perform work is based on a system of rewards and penalties, all distributed randomly.

The thickness of the proposal required to win a multimillion dollar contract is about one millimeter per million dollars. If all the proposals conforming to this standard were piled on top of each other at the bottom of the Grand Canyon it would probably be a good idea.

Law Number XVIII: It is very expensive to achieve high unreliability. It is not uncommon to increase the cost of an item by a factor of ten for each factor of ten degradation accomplished.

Law Number XXXIX: Never promise to complete any project within six months of the end of the year, in either direction.

There are no lazy veteran lion hunters.

Law Number XX: In any given year, Congress will appropriate the amount of funding approved the prior year plus three-fourths of whatever change the administration requests, minus 4-percent tax.

Law Number XXXV: The weaker the data available upon which to base one's conclusion, the greater the precision which should be quoted in order to give the data authenticity.

These nations and many others have rightly concluded that the way to win in the world economy is by doing a better job of educating and innovating. And America? We?re losing our edge. Innovation is something we?ve always been good at. Until now, we?ve been the undisputed leaders when it comes to finding new ideas through basic research, translating those ideas into products through world-class engineering, and getting to market first through aggressive entrepreneurship.

Law Number XXI: It's easy to get a loan unless you need it.

Law Number XXXVI: The thickness of the proposal required to win a multimillion dollar contract is about one millimeter per million dollars. If all the proposals conforming to this standard were piled on top of each other at the bottom of the Grand Canyon it would probably be a good idea.

Too often technology is perceived as the problem rather than the solution; as something to be avoided rather than embraced. This is about as logical as my daughter's observing, while our family was driving through an unfamiliar city, "Trying to read a map while driving causes all the traffic lights to turn green."

Author Picture
First Name
Norman
Last Name
Augustine, fully Norman Ralph Augustine
Birth Date
1935
Bio

American Aerospace Businessman, Chairman of the Review of United States Human Space Flights Plans Committee and Under Secretary of the Army