Defense Transformation: Background and Oversight Issues for Congress [Updated October 23, 2006]   [open pdf - 214KB]

"The Bush Administration identified transformation as a major goal for the Department of Defense (DOD) soon after taking office, and has justified many of its initiatives for DOD in connection with the concept. Defense transformation can be defined as large-scale, discontinuous, and possibly disruptive changes in military weapons, concepts of operations (i.e., approaches to warfighting), and organization. The issue for Congress is how to take the concept of defense transformation into account in assessing and acting on Administration proposals for DOD. The Administration argues that new technologies make defense transformation possible and that new threats to U.S. security make defense transformation necessary. The Administration's vision for defense transformation calls for placing increased emphasis in U.S. defense planning on irregular warfare, including terrorism, insurgencies, and civil war; potential catastrophic security threats, such as the possession and possible use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists and rogue states; and potential disruptive events, such as the emergence of new technologies that could undermine current U.S. military advantages. The Administration's vision for defense transformation calls for shifting U.S. military forces toward a greater reliance on joint operations, network-centric warfare, effects-based operations, speed and agility, and precision application of firepower. Transformation could affect the defense industrial base by transferring funding from 'legacy' systems to transformational systems, and from traditional DOD contractors to firms that previously have not done much defense work."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32238
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