You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Air Force under fire for expensive program

Expeditionary Combat Support System, once managed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, had a price tag of more than $1 billion and led to the loss of more than 600 jobs in the Miami Valley.

A key Senate subcommittee report chastised the Air Force for spending $1 billion to develop a computer logistics management system that was never fielded.

The Expeditionary Combat Support System, once managed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, was canceled in December 2012 after eight years of development, a price tag of more than $1 billion, and the loss of more than 600 jobs in the Miami Valley tied to the project.

Wright-Patterson announced 115 people would lose their jobs at the base and 55 others would be reassigned in 2012 because of the program’s cancellation. The Air Force decision to end contractor Computer Science Corp. involvement with the program led to the elimination of about 500 company or contractor jobs in Beavercreek by that same year.

The Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations released a July 7 report highly critical of how the Air Force handled the initiative to take commercial, off-the-shelf software, with some modifications, and use it to replace more than 200 computer logistics systems.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, ranking member of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, called the Air Force’s management of ECSS a “debacle” and urged the Pentagon to follow lessons learned to allow its budgets to be audited and to avoid “the same disastrous fate as ECSS.”

“The Air Force’s billion dollar ECSS failure is the most egregious example of mismanagement at the Department of Defense in recent memory,” McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement. “The Air Force did not have a clear idea of what it wanted ECSS to accomplish, the lack of strong leadership, coupled with the Air Force’s cultural resistance to change, only exacerbated the program’s problems.”

The report echoed similar concerns: “The result of the ECSS’s failure was a waste of $1.1 billion in taxpayer money, a loss of eight years of effort, the same old inadequate logistics system far inferior to the promise of ECSS, and a major setback to the Air Force’s attempt to transform how it does business,” the report said.

Among the report’s key conclusion on why the project faltered: A strong cultural resistance to change in the Defense Department hindered using “widely endorsed” management principles; a lack of leadership; and a disregard of acquisition best practices.

Ed Gulick, an Air Force spokesman, said in an email Tuesday the Air Force “has learned many lessons from the cancellation of the program and is implementing corrective actions” from an Air Force review “to reduce risk of similar issues occurring” in the future. The Air Force has moved away from plans for a large-scale computer logistics management system to smaller, more manageable systems, he said.

The Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System, a new financial management system, has put into practice the lessons learned from ECSS, according to Gulick. That system is on track to meet to meet a congressional directive to meet financial audit requirements by fiscal year 2017, he said in an email. “It will take time to institutionalize all the changes needed, but we believe we are on a solid course forward,” Gulick added.

Heather L. Williams, a Computer Sciences Corp. spokeswoman, said in an email the Senate report’s key findings were consistent with the company’s review of the program. “We remain confident that the progress we made, jointly with the Air Force, could be the foundation for a future system,” she said in an email.

“We provided the foundational capabilities and (information technology) assets for implementing the software system of the future and delivered the design blueprints for modernizing the Air Force’s logistics,” she added. “CSC is a stronger partner to the federal government and advocate for the use of best practices early in the acquisition process as a result of our experience.”

Senator investigators noted: The Air Force transitioned six program managers, and five program executive officers, which left no one accountable for the project’s failure.

Among other recommendations, the report urged the Pentagon to improve results of acquiring enterprise resource planning programs, such as ECSS, by following business guidelines early in the acquisition process; bringing investment review boards into the beginning of budgeting; and creating a single governance structure to acquire enterprise resource planning systems.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

3 storm chasers killed in crash near Lubbock, Texas
3 storm chasers killed in crash near Lubbock, Texas

Three storm chasers were killed Tuesday in a two-vehicle collision just east of Lubbock, Texas, in an accident authorities are saying did not involve severe weather. According to media reports from and CBS Dallas, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers said the storm chasers were driving toward a tornado and ran a stop sign. “A...
Troy police started pursuit, terminated it before deadly crash
Troy police started pursuit, terminated it before deadly crash

Nine Troy police officers responded to the report of a stolen vehicle that spurred Monday’s high-speed police pursuit that ended with the death of an innocent driver in Harrison Twp. Troy police — who have a pursuit policy requiring an “immediate need for apprehension” — initiated the chase but later terminated it before...
Nearly 50 dachshunds rescued, looking for forever homes
Nearly 50 dachshunds rescued, looking for forever homes

Two Florida animal rescue facilities have taken in 47 dachshunds and are looking for a forever home for each of them. WJHG reported that the Alaqua Animal Refuge in Freeport, Florida, and the Save Underdogs Rescue in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, took in the dogs. “They were going to be taken to a local shelter that wasn't a no-kill shelter so...
Elon Musk launches effort to interface human brain and computers
Elon Musk launches effort to interface human brain and computers

  Entrepreneur Elon Musk is the man behind the car company Tesla, the inventor of PayPal and the genius behind Space X, Hyperloop and even more. Now the billionaire inventor has launched a company called Neuralink to figure out how to connect the brain and computers, the Wall Street Journal reported. The idea is to create tiny devices, like electrodes...
19-year-old ‘genius’ to graduate college early, plans to be astronaut
19-year-old ‘genius’ to graduate college early, plans to be astronaut

In May, Ronald McCullough Jr. will graduate college at the same age most students are still early underclassmen.  But doing things ahead of schedule is not unusual for the 19-year-old, whose genius-level intelligence allowed him to skip second grade and graduate from Maynard Jackson High School at 15, according to a news release.  McCullough...
More Stories