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Redesigning the United States defense acquisition system

Alberts, H. C. (1995). Redesigning the United States defense acquisition system. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


In 1986, the Defense Systems Management College (DSMC) began to examine what defense program managers did as they developed new weapons for the Services. The aim was to determine the tasks program managers performed, how they performed those tasks, what their problems were in doing their work, and what might be done to help them improve their performance. The Interactive Management (IM) methodology developed by Dr. John N. Warfield was chosen as the vehicle for this work. As the workshops provided insights, that knowledge was disseminated throughout the defense acquisition community to provide immediate help to program managers.

In 1988, twelve Interactive Management workshops were sponsored by then incumbent Under-Secretaries of Defense, Acquisition (USD[A]) to help them understand acquisition problems and develop ameliorating actions which USD [A] could take to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Defense Acquisition System. In June 1991, a series of ten additional workshops began: the first workshop integrated knowledge accumulated from all of the prior workshops to define single set of problems which had been experienced during the process of acquiring defense systems; the second workshop attempted to devise a set of actions which could help resolve those problems.

But, by late 1991, it had become apparent that significant improvement in the then current acquisition process would require massive rethinking of the fundamental ideas incorporated within it. In February 1992 a series of workshops was initiated to address acquisition process redesign. These workshops focused on enunciating the specific functions/tasks necessary to develop advanced weapon systems efficiently, and designing a process to accomplish them efficiently and effectively.

The acquisition process which emerged from the workshops provided compressed weapon development cycles and reduced the numbers of mandatory oversight and management activities. In turn, those reductions provided the opportunity to incorporate near state of the art technology within newly developed weapons, while at the same time very significantly reducing development cost.

The redesigned acquisition process based on the 28 IM workshops was institutionalized by the U. S. Congress in the "Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994" (Public Law 103- 355).

The chapters which follow discuss the: (1) workshops, and insights gained from them; (2) redesigned acquisition process generated; and, potential for broader application of knowledge resulting from this work.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
U Military Science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Alberts thesis 1995 PDF-A.pdf]
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