A Strategy for Defense Acquisition Research

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A Strategy for Defense Acquisition Research, Naval Postgraduate School, August 2005, Jacques S. Gansler and William Lucyshyn



Fifteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world is again experiencing a major shift in the geopolitical landscape. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of theCold War have profoundly changed the nation’s security environment. However, as theSeptember 11th attacks demonstrated, new deadly challenges have emerged from terrorist networks and rogue states. Although none of these threats equal the destructivecapabilities of the Soviet Union, their determination to obtain, and the greater likelihood that they will use, weapons of mass destruction, creates a more complex and dangerous security environment.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has also entered a transformative period—leveraging emerging technologies to develop a net-centric warfare capability—whileactively conducting military operations, throughout the spectrum of conflict, in support of the global war on terror. As a result, DoD is struggling to meet these competingrequirements and reconcile the spending between traditional and new programs.Therefore, creating a more efficient acquisition system is a top priority. High-qualityresearch in the area of acquisitions is necessary to catalyze positive and lasting changes to improve performance, reduce acquisition cycle times, and reduce the costs of DoD acquisitions, even as the Department confronts rapidly changing external and internalenvironments. This report highlights some the forces that are acting to change theenvironment including: budget constraints, a changing threat environment, technological innovations, force transformation, human capital management, a shrinking industrialbase, and ethics; and then develops a strategy for acquisition research.