Other bits and pieces

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Turd in the Water Pipe

Some folks at work and I were talking the other day about how well the Roman Empire would have faired were it to be ran by the U.S. Air Force. Precipitate to that conversation, what follows is my account of the construction of the Roman Aqueducts under the governance of the USAF.


The issue was raised in a weekly staff meeting that Rome would likely flourish more rapidly if it were to benefit from an increase to its water supply. The commanding, Legatus legionis (LL) agreed with the finding in principle, and commissioned Legio III to form a task force dedicated to the project. The task force would be ultimately responsible for the success of the Aqueducts and was given a time line for completion of L years.

The task force (TF), which spent the first VI months debating the name of the project (later settled as 'Project Aquaeductus') assigned Legio V/A-VI as the Headquarters-level System Management Office (SMO) which would have the responsibility of assigning specific tasks to various stake holders and reporting back to the TF. Enthusiastically, the new SMO divvied out responsibilities as follows: Legio I would be the Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR) for material acquisition. Legio IV was OPR for manpower. Legio VII had the stick for the budget. Legio II had to pull double duty as both the Subject Matter Expert (SME) and OPR for Plans and Engineering (PE) and Research and Development (RD). Other OPRs would be generated on an as needed basis.

Progress report; Anum XVI from program standup:
The Staff Summary Sheet (SSS), authored by L-VII/A-V requesting monies from the Senate has been in staffing for a number of years. The latest status report revealed that there were disagreements over specific verbiage when the papyrus landed on the desks of the Senate office of Oversight and Compliance. The SSS has been sent back to the originator with additional suggestions in the comment matrix.

The Concept of Operations (CONOP) drafted by L-VIII/A-III, (later OPR added under 'Operations') which details exactly how the program will execute at the technical level, has been on hold for a number of years waiting for technical data from L-II, which has as yet, not been able to finalize the design of the structure. L-II has cited numerous setbacks, primarily problems obtaining specs from stone vendors.

While the program is still in its infancy, L-IV has been criticized by the TF for its overzealous execution of manpower. As the OPR, L-IV reported at the last staff meeting that fully MMMMCMXCIX x MXX slaves from IX provinces were assembled and ready for the task. At this time, they are being employed on 'casual' status until such time as Aqueductus construction begins.

Progress report; Anum XL from program standup:
XII years after the contract for construction was awarded to Booz-Allen-Roma (BAR), the contract has fallen back into re-compete before a single stone has been placed. The contract had been awarded while the SSS remained in staffing—preventing the actual embarkation of the project. The SMO had originally looked at sole sourcing the construction, but lawsuits from various contractors over unfair competition forced the TF to engage in the lengthy contract competition process.

During the latest staff meeting, L-II identified a disagreement between the CONOP and manpower data. While L-IV had supplied an ample number of slaves, there would be insufficient trained masons among the work force according to the Annex IX, Appendix D of the CONOP. The TF and the SMO decided that it would be more cost effective to train masons from among the slaves than to attempt to acquire them from the elsewhere. L-II/A-IV was immediately assigned OPR from the development of a training plan and syllabus.

While the Senate had approved the funding of the project, the money still had not been allocated to the TF for execution. The Action Officer (AO) from L-VII reported that, contrary to popular understanding, it was not L-VII/X-XI's 'to do' to submit the Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request (MIPR) to the Senate Budge Comptroller's office because they were only the Office of Collateral Responsibility (OCR), vice OPR where money transfers were concerned. L-VII/X-IV, being the actual OPR should be picking up that duty.

Progress report; Anum LV
V years overdue, the program is ready to begin construction. BAR lost the contract during re-compete, but managed to regain it following a lawsuit, in which BAR claimed that it had been prepared to execute its previous contract in good faith. The SSS has been approved, though there remain several disagreements among AOs. The CONOP, which had been approved for over XX years, was finally been looked at by the TF SMO office, which didn't realize that an approved CONOP no longer required them as a signatory.

IV days before breaking ground, L-IV AO brought up in the weekly staff meeting that the date for construction had not been socialized with L-IV, and as a consequence, LXXV percent of the manpower had been reassigned to Project Via Appia. The AO also pointed out that L-II/A-IV had never appointed anyone as either AO, OPR, or SME for the development of Techniques, Tasks, and Procedures (TTPs), and that without validated TTPs, any courseware for training masons would be invalid and lead to a finding of 'non-compliant' during the upcoming Unit Compliance Inspection (UCI).

Construction was then slipped VI years to the right while TTPs were reconciled.

Progress report; Anum LXX
Project Aqueductus has been halted pending investigation by the Senate Oversight Committee (SOC). The inquest is expected to take X years.

©Raymond Smith- MMIX

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