Inputs, Outputs, and the Military

One of the earliest subjects on which I posted and to which I’ve returned from time to time over the years is Gammon’s Law. To refresh your memory Gammon’s Law is the rule of thumb that in a bureaucratic organization as expenditures increase production decreases. It’s been identified in education by Milton Friedman, in health care (the “law” was first enunciated in Gammon’s analysis of British National Health), and other organizations.

Does it apply to the military? How would you define production in the military? How can it be measured?

3 comments… add one
  • Andy Link

    Not technically a military function, but the National Reconnaissance Office is the best example I can think of.

  • walt moffett Link

    One way would be the number of troops, trucks, ships, etc able to be deployed on say a week’s notice. Another would be look at the tooth to tail ratio, while a third would be the brass hat to stripe ratio.

  • Guarneri Link

    Friedmans related quip was that he was resigned to paying 3 dollars for every dollar of defense received. After all, it’s the government.

    It’s a concept proponents of government never seem to grapple with, as if all the spendthrifts go to work in the Pentagon, and other government agencies are chock full of virtuous efficiency experts.

Leave a Comment