The Self Licking Ice Cream Cone

At my current job, one of my responsibilities is to write Technical Data Packages (TDP). These are submitted to Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) who reviews them for safety concerns and grants permission to install equipment on Naval Vessels.

For my current TDP, I had to hire the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC, pronounced NEW-ick) to perform a safety analysis. In the past, I would submit the report, detailing this analysis, to NAVSEA for approval. Recently, the person who approved the analysis retired. NAVSEA decided not to hire a replacement. Instead, they out-sourced the position. They outsourced it to NUWC.

This has led to the following situation. I paid NUWC to perform a safety analysis. NUWC then reviewed the analysis, found problems with it and rejected it. I had to pay more money to NUWC to fix these problems. I then resubmitted the analysis to NUWC who is currently reviewing it. If they find any more problems with their analysis, they will reject it. I will then have to pay them more money for further corrections. The circle continues until NUWC is satisfied.

This reminds me of the Dilbert cartoon where they pay the programmers to fix any bugs they find. Wally decides to “write himself a new sports car” by creating and fixing bugs. I wish I could find a job that let me get away with that.


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