Nation Must Focus National Security Dollars on Mission not Program

Deeper Systems Engineering Can Facilitate Making Right Tradeoffs in a Downturn, According to TASC

Jun 18, 2012, 13:40 ET from TASC, Inc.

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. government must focus national and homeland security budgets on mission objectives of the future instead of unnecessary programs of the past if it is to achieve required budget reductions without jeopardizing national security, said David Langstaff, president and chief executive officer of TASC, Inc.  He called on both government and business leaders to make significant changes to their approach in order to help the country navigate the federal budget crisis and meet national security goals of performance and affordability.

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"In the past, we navigated downturns in times of relative global stability.  Today, we are navigating a downturn in a time of relative global volatility," said Langstaff.  "Simply put, we can't afford to get national security wrong."

Langstaff highlighted the increased recognition in government and industry circles of the need for deeper systems engineering.  He underscored that while generally applied in the construction of a system or program, systems engineering can help with deconstruction, "making the right tradeoffs to scale back programs and systems without sacrificing mission readiness, mission sustainability and overall mission goals."

In addition, Langstaff contended that the government's "race to the lowest cost" effectively means that U.S. national security agencies are "building our national security house out of straw."

"By defining value as the lowest upfront cost without adequate regard for other factors, we risk building on the wrong foundation, bearing unnecessary risk, and, in time, incurring a much higher cost, through budget overruns, delivery delays and, in the worst cases, failure," he said.

Moreover, the growing tendency to rely on government contractors solely for temporary labor is shutting out the private-sector domain knowledge, innovation and ingenuity that U.S. national security agencies have depended on for decades. 

"Doing 'more with less' – or doing 'more with no more' – while not ignoring our national security responsibilities – requires knowledge, intelligence and courage," said Langstaff.  "It is time for us to embrace the changes we know we need to make and put aside our self-serving, parochial interests."

Langstaff was speaking at a National Press Club Newsmaker with Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. To view the Newsmaker, go to C-SPAN 3.

About TASC
Founded in 1966, TASC, Inc., helps solve complex national security and public safety challenges by providing advanced systems engineering, integration and decision-support services to the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense and civilian agencies of the federal government.  With about 5,000 employees in 40 locations, TASC generates more than $1.5 billion in annual revenue.  For more information and career opportunities, visit our website at

Media Contact:  Christine Nyirjesy Bragale, TASC Public Relations Manager,, (703) 653-5996.