This article proposes an initiative for consideration by the acquisition community. The suggestion is not endorsed by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics or any other organization of the Department of Defense.
Authors: CDR Craig Whittinghill, USN, David Berkowitz, and Phillip A. Farrington
For many years military leaders have been calling for the U.S. Armed Forces to be more agile, adaptive, and innovative in order to defeat future and emerging threats. To assist the military in this endeavor, the University of Alabama in Huntsville explored Department of Defense (DoD) culture at the organizational level. Having the proper organizational culture can improve performance by empowering members to interact better with their environment, to communicate and act rapidly, and, perhaps most importantly, to innovate. If organizational culture does not encourage innovation, however, organizations can improve innovativeness through culture manipulation. By implementing identified actions that influence cultural attributes, culture can be modified, and subsequently organizations can improve innovativeness, enabling them to meet new and complex challenges.
Authors: Col Peter K. Eide, USAF, and COL Charles D. Allen, USA (Ret.)
For over 60 years, the Department of Defense has attempted to fix its weapon systems procurement without success. While notable exceptions emerged during the Global War on Terrorism (i.e., rapid development/fielding of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles and Improvised Explosive Device defeat systems), “Acquisition Reform” efforts have not consistently yielded a process/system that delivers products faster, better, or cheaper. In 2009, President Obama took the initiative to give reforms another try. Through an analysis that applies John P. Kotter’s model of organizational change and Edgar H. Schein’s approach to organizational culture and leadership, the conclusion suggests that current initiatives will not be successful. Behavioral change is needed to embed transformation. Acquisition reforms can be coerced, but will not endure as true transformation unless cultural change occurs.