Dan Morgan

A driving force behind this might be the fact that mission support personnel tend to be at lower grades and held to a lower qualification standard than program people. Indeed, most of the professional occupations (engineering, law, medicine, science, and mathematics/statistics) have degree requirements and explicitly attract personnel who tend to appear more qualified.

It is also true, as other commenters have pointed out, that the statutory/regulatory considerations that have been levied upon mission support staff are often hidden/not fully understood by program personnel. Of course, program personnel just want to “get the job done” and don’t really want to hear that (insert law here) says that things need to be done a certain way – the perceived inertia in mission support is a source of frustration. Indeed, that is why so many program managers tend to circumvent the statuory/regulatory concerns that bind mission support staff and do things like “shadow development” of IT systems.

Then there’s the consideration that in these mission support occupations, professional certification programs tend to drive home the institutional barriers to innovation, teaching these practitioners the way it is, not the way it should be. Occupations without positive education requirements rely heavily on certification programs that may actually teach these mission support personnel how to keep doing things the same way, stifling the innovative spirit.