Notes on Complex Systems and Their Risks

Thomas A. Fink™
2 min readApr 30, 2023

As the peace dividend era draws to a close, budget constraints are becoming more prevalent. This implies that government debt financing will become increasingly challenging, resulting in reduced financial resources compared to what we have been accustomed to. Consequently, it is crucial to exercise greater prudence when allocating funds, ensuring that spending is both efficient and effective. Things can turn unexpectedly on a dime. Especially during these more fluid transition periods.

Sinking government funds into overly complex systems can be a detriment without diligent oversight. Complexity can lead to improved capabilities, but there are also risks and pitfalls associated with it. Some of the issues:

1. High development costs: As systems become more complex, the research and development costs can escalate quickly, leading to budget overruns and delays in implementation.

2. Maintenance challenges: Complex systems require specialized maintenance procedures and skilled technicians, which can be both time-consuming and expensive. This could potentially lead to longer downtimes and reduced operational availability.

3. Increased vulnerability: Complex systems can be more prone to failure due to the numerous interconnected components. A failure in one part of the system might cascade into other areas, causing a chain reaction that could potentially cripple the entire platform.

4. Difficulty in testing and evaluation: Testing and evaluating complex systems can be challenging, as it is often difficult to simulate all potential scenarios and operating conditions. This can lead to unforeseen issues arising during operations.

5. Reduced adaptability: Highly specialized and complex systems may be less flexible and adaptable to changing conditions or evolving threats. This could result in diminished effectiveness over time.

After reading about certain defense projects, a few concerns arise. About half of the defense budget goes to contractors. This gives an impression that we’re spending a lot more on the military than we actually are.



Thomas A. Fink™

amateur geopol • astro • #design • ios+android software engineering • data science • neural networks • fiat enthusiast • student • 🇺🇸🇪🇺