THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC MANAGEMENT REGIMES ON TIME-BASED DEFENSE INNOVATION
Greenwalt, William Charles
Joyce, Philip G
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Time was a significant factor in shaping disruptive defense innovation solutions in World War II and the early Cold War. During this period, significant advances were made in military aircraft, missiles, submarines, electronics, and other technologies that were achieved through a time-based development approach of rapid experimentation and operational prototyping. Since the 1960s, however, the time taken to develop and deploy U.S. military systems has significantly increased. This increase corresponded to a shift in emphasis within the public management regimes established to govern defense innovation to one of predominately controlling cost. A systems analysis approach to defense management gained prominence during the Kennedy Administration and emphasized cost analysis, program budgeting, and centralized planning and control from within the Office of the Secretary of Defense as a means to obtain greater efficiency in defense spending. This framework was implemented through a series of linear processes overseen by compartmented management regimes such as the requirements, budget, acquisition, and contracting functions in a structure institutionalized in law and regulation. These linear processes evolved in a way that increased the minimum time to conduct defense innovation that far exceeded previous developmental timelines. Compounding the problem of linearity, government-unique processes and requirements within defense management regimes have created barriers to the civil-military integration of the industrial base. This has furthered the establishment of a narrow, specialized defense industrial base by excluding from the defense market those commercial companies that innovate quickly within time-based constraints. While periodic end-rounds to management regimes were created when the Department needed to rapidly innovate in an emergency or to access innovation from the larger commercial market, these efforts have been at the margins of expenditures and were eventually constrained by the traditional management regimes. A broader ability to reduce innovation times or expand the defense industrial base will require systematic change to address process linearity and civil-military integration barriers.