Augustine’s Laws

Norman Augustine

Norman Augustine was an aerospace businessman who served as Undersecretary of the Army from 1975 to 1977, and was CEO of Martin Marietta Corp. from 1987 to 1995 and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp. from 1995 to 1997.   He wrote the satirical Augustine’s Laws, with pseudo-technical commentary and charts, in 1983.

Augustine’s 1st law.  The best way to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear is to start with a silk sow.

Augustine’s  2nd law.  If today were half as good as tomorrow is supposed to be, it probably would be twice as good as yesterday was.

Augustine’s 3rd law.  There are no lazy veteran lion hunters.

Augustine’s 12th law.  It costs a lot to build bad products.

Augustine’s 13th law.  There are many highly successful businesses in the United States.  There are many highly-paid executives.  The policy is not to intermingle the two.

Augustine’s 15th law.  The last 10 percent of performance generates one-third of the cost and two-thirds of the problems.

Augustine’s 16th lawDefense budgets grow linearly but the cost of military aircraft grows exponentially.

Corollary: By 2054, the entire U.S. defense budget will purchase one aircraft.  It will be shared by the Air Force and the Navy 3 1/2 days each week, except in leap years, when it will be made available to the Marines for the extra day.

Augustine’s 18th law.  It is very expensive to achieve high unreliability.

Augustine’s 25th law.  A revised schedule is to business what a new season is to an athlete or a new canvas to an artist.

Augustine’s 27th law.  Rank does not intimidate hardware.

Augustine’s 28th law.  It is better to be the reorganizer than the reorganizee.

Augustine’s 29th law.  Executives who do not produce effective results hold onto their jobs only about five years.  Those who produce effective results last half a decade.

Augustine’s 34th law.  The process of competitively selecting contractors to perform work is based on a system of rewards and penalties, all distributed randomly.

Augustine’s 35th law.  The weaker the data available on which to base conclusions, the greater the precision which should be quoted to give the data authenticity.

Augustine’s 39th law.  Never promise to complete a project within six months of the end of the year, in any direction.

Augustine’s 48th law.  The more time you spend talking about what you have been doing, the less time you have to spend doing what you have been talking about.


Click on Augustine’s Laws for a complete list of his 52 laws.

Click on Norman Ralph Augustine wiki for his Wikipedia biography

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “Augustine’s Laws”

  1. ESEC Conference – Aerospace | Judy Mao Says:

    […] Ebersole, P. (2017). Augustine’s Laws. Phil Ebersole’s Blog. Retrieved 1 February 2017, from […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: