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This report suggests a straightforward approach for linking defense system acquisition programs with our national security objectives. It reflects two related defense planning issues: lack of clarity regarding the relative importance and relevance of the military capabilities we are trying to achieve, and excessive consumption of time, energy, and dollars in acquiring the systems to achieve these capabilities. To structure the Department of Defense effort to enhance operational capabilities, the authors propose a framework with five components: (1) assess abilities to achieve projected operational objectives, identify critical deficiencies, determine the importance of enhancing capabilities, assess opportunities to do so, and direct concept formulation; (2) formulate, define, evaluate, and demonstrate new concepts; (3) decide, allocate, and budget; (4) acquire systems; and (5) organize and equip force elements. The framework provides a clear audit trail from national objectives to military tasks; it also defines a coherent flow of functions among forums and identifies which official and which forum is responsible for taking action.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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