The US Department of Defense's (DoD) process for allocating resources for acquiring weapons systems is optimized for long-term investments, guided by the DoD's forecast of future threats, conflicts, adversaries, and possible US responses to them. This dissertation examines how the DoD acquisition bureaucracy responds to unforeseen conflicts and adversaries by making immediate procurement investments.
This dissertation uses the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to examine the DoD's bureaucratic response. The dissertation analyzes the DoD's policies for making immediate investments by comparing them to a framework for organizational flexibility. Next, the dissertation examines the DoD's ability to make the best use of those policies by using examining changes in the DoD's procurement budget during the wars. This is done using a framework for categorizing the DoD's procurement investments based on their immediacy. Lastly, the dissertation examines six individual immediate investment cases to understand how DoD policies, bureaucratic behavior, and technological capacity interact to meet these immediate operational demands.
This dissertation finds that the DoD was developed a surprisingly nimble and risk-tolerant process for making most immediate investments. The DoD did require extensive senior leader intervention to make investments that were previously judged to be unnecessary. The dissertation also found that the DoD's process relied on the entrepreneurship and organizational savvy of individual program officers to identify funding sources and enlist stakeholder support. This research concludes by recommending marginal changes to DoD policy, including granting greater flexibility to DoD components to spend previously allocated resources, allowing more bottom-up input to the immediate investment process, and anticipating the need for single-purpose task forces to provide senior leader intervention in contentious cases.
Table of Contents
Exploring Rapid Acquisition Policies
Immediate Investments in the DoD Procurement Budget
Rapid Acquisition in Practice
Recommendations and Conclusions
Rapid Acquisition Policy Scan
PRC-117G Case Study
Palantir Case Study
Predator Case Study
MRAP Case Study
CREW Case Report
ABIS Case Study