"In policy circles, problems that are mind-bogglingly difficult or impossible to solve, like global warming, are formally termed “wicked.”
For the United States Air Force, installing a new software system has certainly proved to be a wicked problem. Last month, it canceled a six-year-old modernization effort that had eaten up more than $1 billion. When the Air Force realized that it would cost another $1 billion just to achieve one-quarter of the capabilities originally planned — and that even then the system would not be fully ready before 2020 — it decided to decamp.
... the Air Force’s software was not some mystery package, nor was it written from scratch. It was commercial off-the-shelf software, or “COTS” (the military can’t seem to resist any chance to use an acronym).
Installing COTS to run an enterprise is not a straightforward matter. The Air Force would have to make myriad adjustments to accommodate its individual needs, and in a military setting that would mean meetings and more meetings, unlike anything ever experienced in a Silicon Valley company. " -- from the source: http://www.nytimes.com/
NOTE: This is not the first time that a federal agency has suffered a "wicked problem" with development or implementation of IT systems. At one time I felt this shouldn't be so hard, but having spent some time with federal agencies, I now realize that there are necessary standards and policies that to this point have not been necessary for the general public. However, as more people grow aware of hazards of living a digital life, we may begin to see modified versions of government policies and practices applied to commodity, training, and educational IT environments. - ghbrett