Reflections on 10 Years of the Javelin Program

June 1999

I originally intended to present a historical timeline of the program, but it was just way too much, so what I’ve tried to do is select a few items from the program’s earlier days to give you a sense, or a recollection, of what it was like, 10 years ago on the AAWS-M (Advanced Anti-tank Weapon System – Medium) program, and recall a few of the personalities we’ve encountered along the way.

Now I should mention,  in the interests of recycling and software re-use, I have pulled some of my “encore” material from the files. For example, you may be wondering about the gloves …

Back in the early days, late 1989 into 1990, we used to have regular Saturday status meetings. One week, I was out sick but returned on Friday to prepare for Saturday’s meeting. During the day, I overheard someone say, regarding my absence, “Stockdale needs a pair of gloves THIS big to get his shit together.” So I started off that Saturday meeting wearing these gloves, and explained “These are the biggest I could find.”

Well, this is the part of the party where the gloves — both literally and figuratively — come off!

The TI/Martin AAWS-M Joint Venture officially formed ten years ago – June 21,1989 – coincident with the signing of the EMD contract. Of course, we don’t want to forget the years of work leading up to that red-letter day …. the toils and tears of the early days of Tank-Breaker, the invention and development of the focal plane array technology integrated with a tracker, the three-year Proof-of-Principle (or POP) program, and the agonizing period in which TI and Martin Marietta put together the ultimately-winning competitive proposal and BAFO. And, given the current circumstances, it’s perhaps worthwhile to remember that the two ‘losers’ (I mean, the unselected bidders) in that EMD competition were the former companies Ford Aerospace and a small electronics company in Tucson called Hughes. [Note to Listener: Insert your own punchline.]

Now, you may not be aware of the initial program organization:

  • the TI program moved to Denton from Lewisville in 1989
  • the Martin Marietta design and management staff moved to Denton from Orlando for the first 18 months, which was to have coincided with the PPT (Pre-Production Test) phase of the program
  • the JV Business Office actually set up shop in Huntsville, AL, with Steve Marcereau, Sue Heath, Wes Irby, Gene Costa, Mary Bowman, Robin Horton, Jeannie Brizzi, and Betty Williams
  • we had the TI Focal Plane Array Mfg (or FPAM) for both seeker arrays and CLU detector dewar coolers at the TI Expressway site
  • oh, yeah, and we had the CLU program at Forest Lane (geez, I bet that’s never happened before, somebody forgetting about the CLU!)

Now the initial program plan was for TI and Martin to cooperate in EMD, then compete in production. As we used to say, it was kinda like entering a marriage, knowing you were going to get divorced. We were each charged to transfer technology to the other such that we could each build and qualify complete systems in EMD. It’s somewhat interesting to recall the original workshare arrangement:

TI designed the seeker and the three ‘real’ boards in the GEU, the CLU (less power supply), and was the designated Lead for System Engineering and T&E.

Martin designed the fourth GEU board – the stabilization board, which begat a fifth board, the PDA; they also designed the GEU packaging and interconnects, missile airframe, and the CLU power supply, and led the design activity for the propulsion, warhead, CAS, telemetry, LTA and trainers.

As you can tell, prior to the notion of “Cost As an Independent Variable”, AAWS-M experimented with the notion of “Workshare As an Independent Variable.” The results were not unsurprising.

To say that the AAWS-M EMD program encountered some challenges would be to say that Les Shurtleff has a little growth on his upper lip. We can recall:

  • the weight problems, Dan Dyring’s maniacal counting of grams trying to get down to 50 lbs, then to 49.5 lbs to meet the waiver from 45 lbs.
  • the distracting diversion of the Baseline Test Program during the first nine months of EMD
  • the qual problems with JV suppliers
  • the problems with focal planes, and the infamous “FPAM Holding Account”, the abacus-driven accounting system which resulted in unpredictable and seemingly random monthly swings of transfers and journal entries rounded off to .1 MILLIONS of dollars per month! Fortunately, Martin Marietta had the responsibility to lead development of an FPA 2nd Source, so that they wouldn’t be dependent on TI for focal planes when it came time to compete. Lucky for them, and the program, they found a company out in California – out in Santa Barbara – which could pick up the slack from TI and reduce Martin’s future dependence on their production competitor. (Heh-heh-heh)

And then, there were the cost and schedule problems…..

Long before the Texas legislature established the Texas lotto, the AAWS-M EMD Schedule lotto offered the best betting entertainment in North Texas: “Today’s winning AAWS-M Schedule numbers: 36 -40 -48 -56 – 52 – and 54 months.”

I recall a meeting a couple of months into the program, when Dan Brown and his planners had done their magic and got their Artemis program to spit out the initial Master Program PERT chart. Col. Earl Finley, the Army Project Manager for AAWS-M, and his staff gathered around the tables, peering down at the spaghetti lines, networked together and converging at the far right with “IOT&E Complete” at April 30, 1992 (two months inside the government schedule). I recollect Col. Finley stating with all confidence: “Let’s not kid ourselves — we all know this isn’t a 36-month, $170M development program.”

But in point of fact, after the first two re-programmings in 1990 and 1991, Wes Irby provided the ultimate refute of Col. Finley’s pessimism: Of course this is a 36-month, $170M program …. no matter where we are or what we’ve completed or how much we’ve spent … we always have 36 months and $170M to go.”

Actually, though, I should point out that we never referred simply to “the schedule”. It was always preceded with adjectives, such as “aggressive  schedule …. challenging ….. very aggressive …. very challenging … success-oriented ….. assuming first-pass success ….“, and my own personal favorite, “awaiting a miracle.”

I regret that Steve Marcereau isn’t here tonight due to his recent knee surgery. In my opinion, Steve, more than anybody else, helped navigate the JV through some pretty murky cost and schedule turbulence in the early days. I remember a phrase he used to repeat as we got beat up in review after review, “We have to live today to fight tomorrow.” Everyday was an adventure. And Steve really helped us all get through some pretty ‘hair-raising’ adventures.

Yeah, looking back it’s not hard to imagine how the AAWS-M address at 3540 N. Elm St. in Denton soon became known as – obviously – “The Nightmare on Elm Street”. But with the passing of the years, we can look back and see that we had something unique, and sometimes special, up in Denton.

The Denton plant was a much smaller facility, where it was easy to get to know people. It was the kind of place, for example, where we had a plant-wide going-away party for Rosie, the cafeteria cashier.

It facilitated team work and cooperation. I can recall the occasion of Gary Koster’s 50th birthday. Some of you may not know that Gary served as the site manager in Denton. The secretarial staff worked like a well-oiled machine to decorate/bomb his office like I’ve never seen, complete with a black casket prominently displayed in front of the cafeteria. Do you remember that, Gary? Doesn’t that now seem like such a long, long…, long………., long……….. time ago?

And the close camaraderie of the Denton site promoted participation in events like Junior Achievement Bowling, and Big Games Days, which always drew a large AAWS-M participation. I remember one Big Games Day competition in which Lee Harris demonstrated the ultimate in group leadership and delegation. He recruited me and several others to participate on the QRA-sponsored team – the Opossums – told us where and what time to show up on Saturday morning, then went off and spent the entire day playing in a baseball tournament while the leader-less Opossums staged an unlikely last-to-first finish in the last event to win our division title, only then to have Lee show up from his baseball game just in time to accept the trophy – on our behalf.

With all of our execution problems, we worked extremely hard. If you averaged less than 50 hours a week, you were classified as “part-time program support.”

We did, however, take time out to be trained – especially mandatory training. I was going through my files and found my completion certificate for the TI mandatory course in Six Sigma  ……. in 1991! {Insert your own punchline}

Some of us were sometimes able to keep a sense of humor about things. For example, there was the software/tracker group, with its rather “eclectic” mix of personalities and unique humor. I’m told in late ’91, after the infamous Chester Ludlam came aboard to right the software ship by bringing on his hordes of engineers which peaked at – what, like, 3-400? – to get ready for software FQT, someone circulated a goodbye card for a departing engineer. About 35 software engineers signed the card — even though the engineer who was leaving was entirely imaginary.

A comment from my weekly report in 1991 offers some insight into our cost control techniques in those early days:

“Confirmed TI’s FY92 expenditure target with the JV. Prepared initial way to get there using a combination of FPAM and MPS reductions, data double-dips, deferral and reduction in build quantities, T&E/AUR reductions, near-mass vacations in July/August, labor rate adjustments, two talons of eagle, a lock of hair from a newborn goat and three pints of Dr. Dimento’s Universal Cure-All Elixir, all baked at 161.5 degrees for the next ten months.”

For me, though, the program bottomed out in the summer of 1991. I reached a point of personal exasperation, which I know was shared by many others, as reflected by the abysmal attitude survey results which were released that April. My July 17th weekly report reveals that some inner demon took over my keyboard and typed to the world:

  • I will have zero tolerance for B.S. When I see it, hear it, smell it, or step in it, I will flag it, mark it, highlight it or otherwise attempt to dispose of it on the spot.
  • I will not allow problems to fester. I will expose them at the earliest opportunity.
  • I will make every effort to meet the commitments I make.
  • I will recognize and acknowledge good work when I see it.
  • and the kicker … I will shave when there is a consensus of opinion that the program is turning the corner.

So I chose to become, more or less, a walking barometer of program sentiment. A couple of weeks later, Gene Gordon gave me a post-it note with a small button taped to it. The message written on the post-it said, “Steve, if you get tired of the beard, you can wear this.” The button read:

STILL WORKING FOR IDIOTS

We’ve since exchanged this a few times as circumstances have changed. So Gene … well, I’ll just say that if you should receive a Fedex on August 18th …

Now, you might ask, “But, Steve, what was it like working so closely with your competitor in a Joint Venture?” Of course, that’s a very complicated, multi-faceted question which is hard to answer in words. But to give you some general sense of what it was like in the early days:

[Double-headed bear cartoon: “One of us is an asshole”]

And then there’s this one, which apparently contains such universal truth that the front of the speaker’s podium has been whited out, I suppose to allow easy change out of the company logo:

cartoon

[Dinosaur cartoon: “The situation’s pretty bleak, gentlemen … The world’s climates are changing, the mammals are taking over, and we all a brain about the size of a walnut.”]

As the early 90s proceeded, Martin Marietta led the trend toward defense industry consolidation. I may have the order wrong, but I recall they gobbled up companies like Ford Aerospace, Honeywell, Fairchild, GE Aerospace, Sanders, IBM Federal, Unisys Defense, and then the biggie – they merged with Lockheed/General Dynamics, and then after that bought Loral. This insatiable growth didn’t stop until Congress blocked their attempt to merge with … the United States Air Force.

According to this fax, until Congress blocked the deal, there was widespread concern among government officials regarding the feasibility of an industry/military merger. One skeptical government official is quoted in this article as saying, “We know how to spend money, but we don’t know a damn thing about making it.”

But enough of problems and companies and challenges … it’s time to remember some of the people we would do well to remember from the early days, whom I haven’t already mentioned. At the very real risk of forgetting somebody, for which I upfront apologize.

Let’s not forget those we started with — Jimmie Horton was the Anti-armor Division Vice-President; Larry Freeman was the JV President, Steve Marcereau was the JV Vice-president; Jerry Muscha was the TI Program Manager, and Howard Weaver was the Martin Marietta Program Manager.

Weaver Lafferty was still in the hospital recovering from his surgery; looking at old org charts we can see old familiar names like Paul Allen, Marcus Rhodes, Ralph Dawson, Dave Dart, Pete Nelson, Jerry Whatley, Brian Kavanaugh, Ernie Vigil, Wendell Bonham, Clay Clark, Alan Perkowski, Herb Flandreau, Curtis Jones, Pilar Chiodo, Larry Logsdon, Buddy Norred, Keith Olson, Val Herrera, Dick Scott, Mike Carr, Mike Leddy, Ernie Strong, Donna Dalton, Chris Hornberger, Jerry Schaefer, Angela Driggers, and Barbara Lindley.

{BIG BREATH}

And then there was Carroll Falls, whom I certainly wouldn’t want to mention in the same breath with anyone else.

Oh, and let’s not forget the secretarial staff — Shari Daugherty, Denna Hilliard, Lisa Nack, Dee Rainey, Carol Mason, Sandy Turk, Peggy Blythe, Sherry Porter, Betty Tyler, Tammy Gross, and Joy Nyquist (whom we referred to affectionately as “Auntie Armor”).

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot the CLU – geez, I bet that’s never happened before. George Chollar, Leader Koo, Gene Gordon, Jim Byrne, Jim Harwell, Jon Piatt, Bill Deckert, Frank Ometz. They spent the first year of EMD being neglected and forgotten about down at Forest Lane, then in June 1990 they were shipped up to Denton, along with their happy-go-lucky PCC manager at the time … Les Shurtleff and his trusty sidekick Becky Craft.

And then there were the “JV Pukes” — names from TI and Martin you may recall such as Ron Hughes, Leroy Ducharme, Chuck Sincoski, Pat Gooden, Murro Martens, Ron Dodge, and of course, Dan Brown and his Planners of Renown.

And a special mention is reserved for Clyde-the-Glide-Rupert, the spiritual godfather of the Cost Reduction Plan model by way of the LRIP 1 DTUPC spreadsheet, the original “Baby Book” and inventor of the “Rupert Swiz …..” … uh … I’ll just leave it at that.

Then of course we can’t talk about the people without mentioning a few of our fearless leaders. On the serious side, in going through my files I found this – the memorial to Jerry Junkins, TI Chairman and CEO who died suddenly in 1996. The title of this tribute reads, “He had the vision to lead, and the humility to listen”.  A message I would offer to all of you aspiring leaders out there.

I feel privileged to have known and had the opportunity to observe the leadership of Dean Clubb. One comment which he tended to repeat over and over applies to us as managers, supervisors, parents, spouses, volunteers – or whatever we do: “You get what you accept.” “You get what you accept.”

And then there was Larry Schmidt and Bob Vaughan. Now don’t worry, I’m not going to repeat any of THEIR pearls of wisdom.

I remember first meeting Larry outside the conference room on his first afternoon to report in Denton. We were in the October 1991 “Save the Program” meeting with George Williams. That morning, Dean had briefed the program re-organization, and commented to Mr. Williams that Larry was “the best program manager we’ve got”.

I specifically remember Larry that day because he had trouble maintaining his balance — I noticed that his shoes had no heels. I guess they couldn’t survive the long drag on I-35 between Lewisville and Denton.

Now with Bob Vaughan, I knew of his reputation before I actually met him. But really, I didn’t have a hard time with Bob, as I’ve heard some others did. I suppose it was because I was a pretty good athlete, and I didn’t have much trouble dodging the flying coffee mugs.

I remember Larry and Bob as “people persons”. Such as the time they treated the LRIP 1 proposal team to a celebration after we delivered  the LRIP 1 proposal to the Project Office in Huntsville.  They extended their heartfelt thanks to the team by taking the eight of us for a late lunch to ….. the Huntsville Hooters for hot wings and pitcher beer. Then we rushed off to the airport to fly home, and Larry had arranged for us TIers to fly back in the TI Lear jet. And to further show his appreciation to Barbara Lindley, Clyde Rupert, Gary Koster and me, he had arranged for the flight crew to obtain for us …. complete takeout barbeque meals! Less than an hour after we left Hooter’s! That’s just the kind of guy that Larry was.

When Larry and Bob left Javelin, I felt they deserved special commemoration. On the occasion of Larry’s transfer in August 1994 from Javelin to lead  the troubled Advanced Programs Division, I ‘presented’ this to him at his going-away:

The Leader

Into another chaotic mess I come
Once your self-managed follies are done.
When reality finally boxes your ears
And your voices cry out, “We need you here!”

I pack my saddle and mount my steed
Again to ride ahead those in need.
For if Failure beckons, and you fear you heed Her,
Call on me – I BE THE LEADER!

Call on me when victory’s in doubt
And mere mortals see no sensible out,
I’ll make a decision, the issue I’ll force,
Just simply do whatever I say, of course!

For I’m not paid to sit and ponder
Or lazily ’round the decision tree wander.
My game be ACTION, my pace be QUICK
So follow me! Else, your ass I’ll kick!

Now, my job here is completely finished.
I leave with “Hosanna!”s, my image unblemished.
When our history’s written, and you be the reader,
You’ll think of me, for I BE THE LEADER!

With one final thought for you I now leave
On Javelin, Life, to whatever you cleave …
Shut up in the back! So everyone hears
I’ll say this just once, then get back to my beers.

When troubles catch up, despite your best run
When the job is so tough, it just can’t be done,
When you’re ready to quit, you can’t take more abuse ….
Don’t call on me! The watch is now Stu’s.

And then to ‘honor’ Bob Vaughan at his retirement party in February 1995, I prepared this for Stu to present, then he chickened out. I was after some way to capture Bob’s deep passion, his almost religious conviction, for his work …

Bob Vaughan is my partner; I shall not cross.
He maketh me to sit still in Program Reviews;
he leadeth me NOT down the green fairways.
He restoreth my Rounds;
he leadeth me down the paths to Troy for the soldiers’ sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of QALVT,
I will fear no failure;
For Bob art with me.
His Ron and his staff, they comfort me.
We’ve preparest a program before us
in the presence of our customer;
We hath anointed Bob’s head with calm.
His mug runneth over.
Surely good wishes and godspeed shall follow Bob
all the fiscal years of his life, and he shall
dwell in the house of Janice forever.

Thank you for allowing me to share some of my recollections over the last 10 years. I’d like to close with one of my fondest memories of Denton and Javelin, the Denton Plant Dig.

The Denton plant was configured similarly to the Lewisville plant, with the large indoor atriums. When TI closed the plant, they allowed the employees to dig up and transplant most of the plants. Some TIers inventoried and tagged all the plants, then we had a lottery so that everyone who wanted to participate would draw three or four plants, and the last Saturday prior to closure we spent the day digging up our plants. For me, it truly was a wonderful experience. I’m pleased to say that I still have three of the four plants I dug.

So in the spirit of digging and transplanting … Each of us will soon begin, or continue, moves and transitions to different places with different people in different situations. We will each face challenges which will require us to grow in new and unique ways. I’ll leave you with this final comment, inspired by my proud 10-year association with the Javelin program, and my experience with the Denton Plant Dig:

Take care to protect your roots.