The Draft Presidential Memorandum Games
McNamara applied operations research and systems analysis from his days in the Air Force and at Ford Motor Company to right-size Department of Defense programs, increase Defense efficiency, and address re-allocations of the Defense budget. Each functional group within the Whiz Kids was tasked with an annual major issue to be analyzed throughout the year for inclusion into a Draft Presidential Memorandum. If McNamara liked the study, he would forward it to the services for their inputs and then send the Memorandum to the President with recommendations derived from those inputs.
Tactical Transport Conundrum
As the new kid on the block in the Strategic Transportation Group, Pierre’s assignment was to undertake the group’s first analysis of the intra-theater transport section. Until that time, the group focused on the more glamorous area of inter-theater transportation, essentially doing computer analysis of the optimum mix of large cargo airplanes and rapid deployment ships to meet a 60-day deployment schedule supporting a major NATO conflict simultaneously with a 90-day schedule for a smaller Asian scenario. Pierre’s assigned area was Air and Ground Transportation for moving people, ammunition and supplies within a tactical theater. Though the group looked down on these messy, ill-defined tactical problems, the area fascinated Pierre and he spent 1966 studying McNamara’s first intra-theater question: “We have 1500 C-130s on hand or ordered. Are these too many or too few, and is the DoD spending too little or too much on them.”
Picking Apart the Hercules
Pierre spent the year studying the in-theater daily missions for C-130s and the emergency re-supply needed for forward troops in trouble. By working with Air Force Transportation Command, loadmasters, and unprepared field specialists, Pierre garnered an understanding of the cargo, tonnages, loading problems, and the critical airfield constraints upon effectively utilizing the C-130. Through meticulous research, Pierre discovered many inappropriate C-130 uses and found that the existing airlifters lacked sufficient short field takeoff and dirt / rough field landing capabilities.
Findings and Recommendations
In answering the McNamara question Pierre recommended cutting the total C-130 inventory number by half to 750 and dramatically upgrading all 750 remaining C-130s. He suggested totally refurbishing these aircraft with more powerful Allison engines, deeper biting propellers, better landing flaps, and completely revamped landing gear suitable for rough and muddy dirt runways. Naturally, the Air Force fought the proposal and Lockheed eventually designed a new model with engineering implementing some of those recommendations. Though McNamara approved the study, he was unable to politically achieve the recommended inventory cuts. Pierre’s change-agent reputation and independently critical attitude got him fired and moved to another group within the Whiz Kids.
How to Become a Public Enemy
At the beginning of 1967, Pierre transferred to the NATO Group under Charles Rossotti, a practical Harvard business school grad that became Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis at 29 years old. The group had been successfully analyzing the U.S. ground and naval forces committed to NATO support but needed someone that understood tactical aviation to study NATO’S U.S. and allied air force needs. The McNamara question for the year was to determine whether USAF tactical aircraft earmarked for NATO were too few or too many, whether we were buying the right kind of fighters, and whether we were spending too much or not enough. Pierre spent the next year analyzing this problem that involved as many as 5,000 U.S. and allied aircraft.