Authored by Center of Military History United States Army, J. Ronald Fox
Defense acquisition reform initiatives have been Department of Defense perennials over the past fifty years. Yet reforming the acquisition process remains a high priority each time a new administration comes into office. Many notable studies of defense acquisition with recommendations for changes have been published, and each has reached the same general findings with similar recommendations. However, despite the defense community’s intent to reform the acquisition process, the difficulty of the problem and the associated politics, combined with organizational dynamics that are resistant to change, have led to only minor improvements. The problems of schedule slippages, cost growth, and shortfalls in technical performance on defense acquisition programs have remained much the same throughout this period.
The importance of the Department of Defense’s huge acquisition projects over the years cannot be overstressed. The United States has often turned to cutting-edge technological solutions to solve strategic and operational challenges. To highlight the importance of acquisition issues, the Department of Defense began a project in 2001 to write a history of defense acquisition from the end of World War II to the start of the twenty-first century. The U.S. Army Center of Military History served as the executive agent for that project until funding was effectively withdrawn in 2009. Two volumes of that history are nearing publication, which will take the story up to 1969. To capitalize on essential information on defense acquisition reform initiatives from the three unpublished draft volumes covering the period from 1969 to 2000, the Center decided to publish extracts from those volumes, with additional analysis by J. Ronald Fox, a subject matter expert on acquisition and an adviser to the project. Much of chapter two of this acquisition reform study was written by Walton S. Moody and David G. Allen for their draft Volume III (1969-1980) of the Defense Acquisition History Project and then edited, analyzed, and augmented by Fox. Similarly, most of chapter three was taken from Thomas C. Lassman’s draft chapters three and five of his Volume IV (1981-1990), and much of chapter four was written by Philip L. Shiman as chapter eight of his Volume V (1991-2000) of the Defense Acquisition History Project. Fox was able to take their chapters, provide additional analysis and insights, and consolidate and edit them with his own work to prepare this important volume focusing on defense acquisition reform. This volume is the result of all of their research and writing efforts and their collective insights into an incredibly complex system.
Professor Fox’s Defense Acquisition Reform, 1960-2009: An Elusive Goal, provides valuable historical analysis of the numerous attempts over the past fifty years to reform the defense acquisition process for major weapons systems. It identifies important long-term trends, insights, and observations that provide perspective and context to assist current defense decision makers, acquisition officials, and the acquisition schoolhouse. It is an important work on an important subject that continues to defy solution.
Dec 11 2014
1505475155 / 9781505475159
US Trade Paper
7″ x 10″
Black and White
Political Science / Political Freedom & Security / International Secur