1984: ANSER on the Move Again
Analytic Services’ move out of the Army-Navy Drive facilities in 1984 represented the beginning of “Year 26 and Beyond.” And what a year it was for the renowned company to start the next quarter of a century. The activities of 1984 galvanized the corporate leadership to open the year’s annual report with this line: “[We are] pleased to report that ANSER…is a thriving organization with a bright future.”
The Crystal Gateway move was one of the thriving things mentioned for that year. The new computerized-access facilities included not only a spacious, modern conference complex and well-equipped offices for both research and support staff but also publications and technical library centers. There was both room for more new employees and space in which all might thrive.
New work soon justified the Crystal Gateway move, as did expanded work. An example of the latter, space-related studies alone brought a 31 percent increase in staff during the year. In October of 1984, vice president for Space Systems Ash Deshmukh briefed the Board on ANSER’s involvement in the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). One reason for the SDI briefing: ANSER’s work had “increased sharply” in just the first 6 months of involvement in President Reagan’s program.
Such expansion was part of the approximate 30 percent growth in staff by fiscal year’s end. Another part of that growth came through the Colorado Springs office, where several more staff were added to the six research staff out there by late 1984. The overall large number of new employees galvanized more corporate emphasis on employee development and training: short courses, regular in-house seminars, and the use of video training aids.
The subsequent recruiting activities during the year were, the Board noted, “intense.” ANSER processed over 3,200 research staff applicants and more than 1,000 support staff applicants—an astounding number considering that ANSER was a company of around 275 total personnel when 1984 began. ANSER went on to conduct 328 interviews of research staff candidates, made 73 offers, and had 43 acceptances.
The Board deemed this acceptance rate to be “very satisfactory” given the heavy competition for good people to hire. And the new hires were, they noted, of “very high” quality. Such people included the likes of Bill R. Johnson, a 30-year Air Force officer who held a number of positions in NORAD. Another quality new hire was Ron Turner, whose experience in the physics departments at Ohio State University and the University of Florida segued him into similar work in ANSER’s Space Technology Division.
Space and technology were two of the key words in a unique achievement in the life of ANSER in 1984. There were in fact many key words to ANSER’s life in 1984, areas in which ANSER started, excelled, or expanded in a notable way.
Model was one such word. Exemplifying the increasing dissemination of ANSER tools and methods, a certain ANSER computer model was selected by the Defense Nuclear Agency for distribution to government and industry organizations as the “standard method for evaluating damage probabilities for hardened targets.”
Fighter was another key word. ANSER’s legacy of analyses of fighter requirements and capabilities was directed in 1984 toward the fighter aircraft that would replace the F-15 beginning in the 1990s. The company’s inputs helped define the acquisition program for the so-called Advanced Tactical Fighter.
Publication was yet another key word. ANSER’s work for the Army Material Command, assessing the command’s 21 laboratories, led to one lab contracting ANSER to publish the last year’s worth of research done by all of the command labs. ANSER’s publications team, led by Anne Predzin, accomplished the work. It was a taste of things to come in the publication arm of the company.
Still other key words—microcomputer and START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks), to name a few—are written out in bold in the text of ANSER’s achievements in 1984. But space and technology figure prominently among them that year because the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF) selected ANSER as the only agency outside the Air Force to participate in the CSAF Innovation Task Force. The objective of the task force was to generate significant innovations in technology, concepts, and organizational structures to meet challenges facing the Air Force through the year 2025.
Of the eight challenges that were defined, ANSER was asked to conduct in-depth technical research and analysis on two: space control and air base survivability. Further honing the research staff’s perception of things over the horizon, ANSER’s analysis of the proposed concepts considered three different levels of conflict: low intensity, regional, and global.