From the Introduction: Reflections of a Technocrat is an autobiography that ends as a biography. John McLucas died on the first of December 2002, at the age of 82, with all but the last chapter remaining to be started. He had been preparing to do a memoir, on and off, for many years, but only in the late 1990s, as declining health caused him to cut back on other commitments, did he devote a large part of his energies to getting the job done. To help complete this project, he engaged me — Ken Alnwick — a retired Air Force pilot and defense analyst, and my associate, Larry Benson, a recently retired Air Force historian.
His career choices led him into a wider variety of scientific, technical, and defense management positions than almost any of his contemporaries. In the field of aviation, for example, John was the only person to have held the positions of both secretary of the Air Force and administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. As someone who had a great respect for history, he wanted to add to the record of what had transpired during his tenure in these and other important positions and to share his perspectives on what it meant to lead technology-oriented organizations. He was also a staunch advocate for the peaceful and unifying aspects of space endeavors and saw this book as another venue to espouse this cause, which had engaged him for over two decades and been the theme of his previous book, Space Commerce.
John McLucas accrued almost 50 years' experience on both sides of the government procurement table. From that perspective, he also hoped to analyze various acquisition strategies, such as the value of prototyping (which he had employed with great success to bring the A-10 and F-16 aircraft to fruition) and a willingness to accept risks when appropriate. As preparations for the book proceeded, he conducted numerous interviews with senior active duty and retired defense officials on the subject of acquisition reform. He was never quite able, however, to coalesce this research into a more comprehensive theory for the defense acquisition process beyond his passionate support for competitive "fly-offs" of major weapon systems and for reinvigorating the roles of the service secretaries and their military chiefs as a counterpoint to what he saw as an unhealthy concentration of power in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Contents: Chapter 1 - From Country Boy to Company President * Chapter 2 - Career Broadening in Science and Technology * Chapter 3 - My Air Force Years People and Politics * Chapter 4 - Modernizing the Force - New Systems for Future Air Supremacy * Chapter 5 - What Can Now Be Told - The National Reconnaissance and Air Force Space Programs * Chapter 6 - Facing Other Issues—Overseas and at Home * Chapter 7 - Managing Civil Aviation and Commercial Space Programs * Chapter 8 - Promoting Space, Science, and Technology