THE TFX DECISION: McNamara and the Military by Robert J. Art

THE TFX DECISION: McNamara and the Military

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Great political uproar followed the Defense Department's 1962 decision to award General Dynamics a $439 million contract for tactical fighter aircraft. The military was disgruntled because it had recommended Boeing; and the McClellan Committee charged political and personal bias. The author maintains that the difference of opinion stemmed from differing criteria of judgment. His essay (which reads like a doctoral dissertation in style and attention to detail) spells out the importance of the contract to the rival companies, the grounds for McClellan's charges, and the general decision-making implications of the affair. Art calls it ""a watershed decision,"" typical of McNamara's new approach to decisions, but less rigorous than most of his judgments. The book traces the three-year evolution of the TFX, the special problems of advanced weapons systems, and the respective criteria used in civilian and military evaluations of the competing proposals. McNamara's innovations have rarely been analyzed in this close, case-study method; the esoterica of incentive contracting and wing-pivot mechanisms will attract a diverse, if rather small, readership.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1968
Publisher: Little, Brown