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Shaping and Integrating the Next Military: Organization Options for Defense Acquisition and Technology

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In the past few years, sweeping changes have taken place in the defense environment. The security environment is much more variable, resources available to the Department of Defense have declined dramatically, the defense industry is restructuring, and the role of the Joint Staff has increased. Yet, the current organizational structure of the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology is similar to that of the Cold War years. Is such a structure still appropriate? This briefing offers several options for A&T to restructure itself for the new world of defense management. Under the guiding principle that "structure should match strategy," the authors propose structures for A&T that focus on the importance of formulating new concepts and identifying and developing enabling technologies, system integration, and acquisition oversight. The briefing proposes three different organization options. First, a set of formal and informal teams could be overlaid onto the existing structure. Second, an option called "Focus" could reorganize around operational objectives such as control of land or space operations--these objectives would be joint and would replace organizing around either functions (logistics, cost analysis) or platforms (planes, ships). Third, A&T could reorganize around operations (option 2) and incorporate command, control, communications, and intelligence into this organization, eliminating a separate stand-alone office. The authors stress that underlying any successful reorganization is the need for A&T to do fewer things: a housecleaning is in order that will allow A&T to divest itself of activities not related to its primary mission. This briefing is the product of the study, "New Directions for Change at OUSD Acquisition and Technology," sponsored by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology.