Under the calm waves of the DOD

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"Just know that until that budget is released, the DOD "duck" is paddling like hell under the water. Trust me - stuff is happening as you read this. Each day, every day, we are one day safer."

There is an old saying. Some things in life are like a duck on the water. On the surface, it appears the duck is just sitting around enjoying the day. However under the water, the duck may be using those webbed feet to paddle like mad. The DOD (Defense Department) today may be something similar to that duck. It may not look like much is happening, but trust me, those webbed feet are going in hyper-drive.
I had the honor and privilege to not only serve this country (in the Naval Reserve) under Ronald Reagan, but also be employed as a defense contractor. Similar to today, the military was a mess after four years Jimmy Carter. I can only imagine what it looks like after eight years of Barrack Obama.
I was employed at Control Data's Aerospace Division during the entire 1980's decade. To say life was hectic as a defense contractor back then is a gross understatement. It seemed like the division was involved in everything, all the way from the Navy to NASA (and everything in-between). However, my bread and butter program was AEGIS - and it was very, very busy. Most orders I dealt with had a DPAS (Defense Priorities and Allocation System) of DOA7. If was a run of the mill priority, but higher than orders which came in with no priority at all.
About halfway through the 1980's decade. things really started to get hot and heavy. It was almost like the DOD could smell blood in the water with the Soviets. Maybe a little more gas under the pedal might actually defeat these guys. All of a sudden, many of the new orders coming in had a DX rating. Some existing DOA7 orders were also changed to DX. And what is a DX rating? A critical rating, where no DO order gets done before fulfilling the DX orders first.
I believe what is happening in the DOD is similar today to what was going on in the 1980's. A big difference however, is Ronald Reagan had a souped up DOD budget to work with - compliments of Congress. Donald Trump does not have that luxury as yet. He needs to work under the confines of the CR budget he has. However, there are many things the DOD can do "under the water" which will help move critical programs along and still be legal.
For example, beside issuing DX orders, there was this. Many times when I was sitting in acquisition meetings in Washington, I would hear side conversations under the heading of "If you scratch my back now, I will scratch yours later." Translation = the government does not have the money allocated to fund this, but if the company can spend some R+D dollars to help out, the government will make you whole at a later time. I can attest that many times, that "later time", never came. And the company knew that from the get-go. But it was for the greater good, so they did it.
One more thing I should mention. For a time, I was the Contract Manager for engineering programs on the Vertical Launching System Programs while employed at FMC/BAE. I spent quite a bit of time with the scores of engineers who were working on that most critical program. Never once did I see anyone sitting around trying to figure out what to do. Every day, it was a madhouse of activity. Many different things, done by many different people, all at once. At the end of each day, the goal was to have the can kicked a bit further down the road. And it was.
My belief is today, the companies who are working on any part of our Ballistic Missile Defense System, are operating somewhere between over-drive and hyper-drive. Every day the Norks or the Iranians have not launched something at us is a gift. It makes us one day better prepared. The Trump Administration is quickly making up for the remiss of the eight years of the Obama Administration.
When the budget is finally signed in December (it better be!), I will be interested to see the types of things authorized in the DOD portion. I know this President puts a very high priority in making America strong again.
Just know that until that budget is released, the DOD "duck" is paddling like hell under the water. Trust me - stuff is happening as you read this. Each day, every day, we are one day safer.