Change, Contracts, and Complexity

“Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it.”
–Alan Perlis.

Recently I’ve been drawn to conversations concerning change implied by the President’s 2011 budget for NASA’s human spaceflight, versus the rollback of some of those changes embodied in the NASA Authorization bills in work by the Senate and House.  Depending on where you sit, you can point out things to like and things to hate, whether you are an advocate for the status quo, a supporter of New Space, or whatever.  Other conversations have concerned contract type – specifically, fixed price versus cost reimbursable – and their potential use once we get through appropriations and put together an actionable plan to execute the human spaceflight policy.  A common theme has reoccurred in all those conversations: complexity.  So, my observations today are about change, contracts, and complexity; how do they relate, and what can we do to deliver an affordable and sustainable human presence in space?

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Change, Contracts, and Complexity