Reengineering Defense Acquisition: A Concept of Operations for Waging the Acquisition Campaigns of the 21st Century   [open pdf - 392KB]

The defense acquisition system has earned a reputation of being unable to provide the weapons the warfighters need at a value the Congress and American taxpayers deserve. At the macro level, acquisition is the convergence of five processes--requirements, technology, budgeting, management and operations and support. Micro-management of acquisition execution, when coupled with unstable requirements, technology and budgeting processes, results in a system that is not responsive to the customers' needs. It is time to implement dramatic changes based on a process-oriented reengineering of the entire system and radically improve its performance. To generate recommendations for system improvement, we assessed and restructured the top-level, macro processes associated with defense acquisition--relying on the time-proven tenet of centralized control with decentralized execution. To address current system shortfalls, we propose greatly expanding the role of the joint staff in preparing, planning and executing joint acquisition campaigns. The authors suggest the Department of Defense (DoD) execute acquisition campaigns by mirroring the way military forces plan and execute joint battle campaigns. They suggest process improvements which will strengthen the link between requirements definition and technology insertion. They also suggest altering the budgeting process to enable the DoD to submit a more unified budget position each fiscal year. They then developed a phased, methodical approach for implementing the proposed changes. The recommendations are controversial. The authors are challenging dogmatically accepted paradigms regarding the way the DoD bureaucracy functions and the roles of the joint staff. Before any of the proposed changes can be implemented, dramatic changes in current laws will have to occur. The recommendations are not consistent with either the current interpretations of Title 10 or the law governing the size of the Joint Staff. However, only by changing the current bureaucratic organizations and culture will the acquisition community have a chance at providing the capabilities US warfighters need in the resource constrained environment in which the DoD will continue to find itself.

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