Cover: Marksmanship, McNamara, and the M16 Rifle

Marksmanship, McNamara, and the M16 Rifle

Organizations, Analysis, and Weapons Acquisition

Published 1979

by Tom L. McNaugher

Download

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 2.6 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback63 pages $23.00

Those who manage the weapons acquisition process are often frustrated by barriers to change posed by military services, which generally prefer buying weapons that perform traditional missions in traditional ways. This essay explores the way in which large organizations adapt to innovation by focusing on the U.S. Army's purchase of the M16 rifle. Because the M16 represented a break with the Army's rifle tradition, the service resisted Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's efforts to introduce it in 1962. Yet by 1966 the Army standardized the piece, replacing the very traditional M14 rifle in the process. The essay concludes that this adaptation is best explained by the existence of a declining Army-wide consensus concerning the Army's rifle tradition. Although policy remained traditional, many in the service were unhappy with the M14. McNamara's initial efforts and the M16's performance in Vietnam convinced others of the rifle's utility, and this freed the organization from its attachment to tradition.

This report is part of the RAND paper series. The paper was a product of RAND from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.