Public-Private Cooperation in the Department of Defense: A Framework for Analysis and Recommendations for Action   [open pdf - 410KB]

"In 2010, a National Defense University (NDU) research project called TIDES (Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support) was invited to partner with a company to produce a tradeshow about humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions and related capabilities. Despite senior-level Department of Defense (DOD) guidance to pursue public-private partnerships, DOD attorneys told TIDES managers to reject the agreement. Differing legal interpretations of the word partner generated concern that the proposed partnership could create an impermissible perception of government endorsement of a private company. Even though it would have advanced the government's mission and promoted efficiency, a variety of obstacles scuttled the proposed cooperation. Such limitations on public-private engagement are often reported at combatant commands and raise questions about what policies and activities are appropriate. The examples cited in this paper collectively represent a broad landscape of situations in which well-intentioned people pursued cooperation between a DOD organization and private entities yet encountered serious obstacles. These examples generated provocative and interesting questions about how best to conduct public-private cooperation (PPC) and these questions led to a diverse array of insights into the nature of PPC, which in turn evolved into a collection of far-ranging recommendations. This paper is intended to promote PPC in DOD. The opening section articulates the imperative for PPC. It then proposes an analytical framework that features four broad categories along a continuum of formality: contractual arrangements, well-defined standards and protocols, broad frameworks for interaction, and emergent or undefined situations. The next section presents examples from each of the four categories, including how the collaborators overcame the challenges they faced and practical implications for future PPC efforts. The paper ends with key observations and recommended next steps for further research and reform."

Report Number:
DH No. 74; Defense Horizons No. 74
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Defense University: http://www.ndu.edu
Media Type:
Help with citations