Lockheed Martin Independent Assessment Team on Mission Success
BETHESDA, MD, September 8th, 1999 -- The Lockheed Martin Independent Assessment Team on Mission Success was commissioned May 4, 1999, to conduct a comprehensive review of the Space & Strategic Missiles Sector, determine the problems contributing to failures in launch vehicle missions and THAAD flight tests, and recommend corrective actions to prevent recurrences. A. Thomas Young and Thomas S. Moorman, Jr. served as chair and vice chair. The team was made up of sixteen members with a wealth of experience and insight applicable to this effort. The team conducted a series of structured reviews that included two three-day reviews at both Astronautics and Missiles & Space, as well as reviews at launch sites on both coasts and at Michoud Space Systems. The team interviewed a cross section of employees at all levels in the organizational structure and interviewed a large number of senior government customers. As a result of the extensive interaction between the team and general managers and program managers at the sites visited, many of the corrective actions recommended in the team's report are already underway under the leadership of the new company presidents at Astronautics and Missiles & Space.
The initial recommendations in the report focus on strengthening mission success, and in ensuring the successful fly out of the remaining Titan IV launches. The report makes a distinction between mission success as a value and as a function and recommends strengthening both. Mission success is a Lockheed Martin core value. Management must continually reinforce its importance, balance mission success and cost requirements, and effectively communicate that balance to the workforce. The mission success and product assurance functions should both be strengthened to help enhance the overall level of quality. Successful fly out of the remaining Titan IV launches is an effort of significant national importance and requires special treatment. The report calls for the development of a Titan IV fly out plan that emphasizes retention of needed critical skills through the end of the program, improves process and hardware quality, and establishes clear lines of individual and organizational accountability.
Subsequent recommendations focus on systemic findings dealing with accountability, quality, loss of experienced personnel, and subcontract/supplier management. The report calls for strengthening functional management accountability for critical processes and improved senior management oversight. It also calls for revitalizing the Product Integrity Engineer process, which includes strengthening the accountability of engineers for the hardware and software within their area of responsibility.
There are several recommendations to enhance quality for all programs. These include rigorous implementation of the policy of "test as you fly -- fly as you test" and paying particular attention to mission critical events where such testing cannot be done. The report recommends taking steps to make sure independent verification and validation processes are thorough, complete, and truly independent, and to establish procedures that are more resistant to human error. Recommendations also call for ways to enhance workforce quality, such as enhanced training, mentoring, succession planning, and using skills of retirees to support critical events. Several recommendations are also included to enhance subcontract/supplier management.
Following several recommendations that are program and site specific, the report concludes with a few general recommendations. An example is to formulate a procedure and communicate the proper implementation and audit of "better, cheaper, faster" and the use of commercial practices. The recommendation is based on a finding that successful implementation of this concept depends in large part on the approach to implementation.
During this four-month effort, the team has witnessed considerable progress by Astronautics and Missiles & Space in correcting problems identified by the findings in this report. Full implementation of the team recommendations would help restore the confidence of customers, employees, shareholders, and management in the Space and Strategic Missiles Sector's ability to achieve the high level of mission success all of these stakeholders expect.