Chair Force Engineer

Sunday, February 11, 2007

AFRL Shrugged

The lab has experienced a rash of retirements and departures over the past few months. We've lost a lot of the people I worked with, people who made it possible for me to get my job done. In their absence, few (if any) people have been hired to replace them. For the most part, we've asked existing personnel to work harder and cover for the people we have lost. It's getting harder to get things done around here. We've gone beyond the point of "doing more with less." AFRL is now "doing less with less."

It reminds me of Atlas Shrugged, where society begins to collapse after the people who form the pillars of society (predominantly the capitalists) start to vanish mysteriously. In Ayn Rand's magnum opus, there is a good reason behind the disappearances. I wish that the same could be said about AFRL's personnel problems, but that's not the case.

The world of Atlas Shrugged has a mysterious detroyer who is involved in the disappearances. In the Air Force's case, there is no mystery behind the destroyer's identity. The destroyers are the F-22, the F-35, and all of the other expensive (and unneeded) weapons systems that are being purchased at the expense of personnel.

When I leave the Air Force, I wonder if the people I worked with will make the same complaints about "doing less with less." Frankly, I never thought that I had much to offer the Air Force, and hopefully my co-workers will be able to adapt quickly to my absence. I will undoubtedly be torn between my desire to pursue self-interest (which, for me, lies outside the Air Force and outside engineering,) or to continue bearing the burden of supporting my co-workers. In this case, I'll listen to Ayn Rand and pursue self-interest.