I’d say that’s part of it. I’d summarize in three parts:
- If it works, keep doing it that way.
- If it’s simple, you can fix it. If it’s complex, you might be able to fix it. If it’s complicated, you can’t rely on it.
- Changing things costs money.
To elaborate on #3, making any sort of change (particularly when you have federal oversight) is far more involved than you’re probably imagining. The system is designed to prevent any one person from being able to easily change anything because of #1 and #2. If I want an upgraded computer for myself, my cost is parts and time. If I want an upgraded computer that’s going to control the broadgoods spool rate on prepreg composites that go into high temperature nozzles -even if I don’t plan to even change the process at all (which is a much much larger can of worms)- get ready to spend a loooot of money. You need to change drawings, you need to qualify the hardware, you need to run tests, you need to pay for many hours for many people spent in review boards, etc. Reliability and repeatability are the names of the game, and nobody wants to risk degrading them (for good reason).
Not to say such a mindset doesn’t ever get in the way. It definitely gets in the way of necessary changes and improvements. There’s simply no way for such a system to distinguish between a bad idea and a good one with any sort of speed, so the default position is that all change is bad until proven otherwise.