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Research Questions

  1. Are there inconsistencies or gaps in the body of Department of Defense policies that assign roles and responsibilities to defense executives?
  2. Can such inconsistencies lead to potential conflicts as executives attempt to execute their duties?
  3. Can an automated capability help analysts more effectively or efficiently review large bodies of policy to identify potential inconsistencies and gaps in the roles and responsibilities assigned to executives in defense policies?
  4. Can an automated capability facilitate the ability to compare roles and responsibilities in draft policy with those in existing policy and help ensure the development of consistent non-redundant policy?

The authors present a framework and methodology to identify the roles and responsibilities (R&R) of those implementing Department of Defense policies and also potential conflicts, ambiguities, gaps, inconsistencies, and redundancies in those policies. They introduce a new software tool that automates one step of the methodology — EPIC — and demonstrate its use with three case studies to illustrate the technique and also the tool's flexibility. EPIC allows analysts to efficiently analyze multiple policy documents to detect potential conflicts in policy early on, thereby allowing policy developers to focus their attention on the need for clarification and, possibly, changes in policy. The authors relate executive positions to R&R and the products that result from their execution. If it can be shown that more than one actor is assigned to take the same action on the same product, then a potential conflict exists in the body of policy. If, on the other hand, no executive is assigned to take action on a product, then there is a potential gap in the body of policy. Use of this new tool will result in better and more consistent defense policy.

Key Findings

A new capability for policy analysis has been developed

  • The authors have developed a new software tool — EPIC — which can be used to analyze large numbers of policy guidance directives for completeness and consistency in the roles and responsibilities assigned to defense acquisition executives.
  • In three case studies, EPIC proved its flexibility and utility.


  • Investigate potential conflicts identified in the case studies.
  • Develop a process to identify the origins of conflicts in roles and responsibilities.
  • Use EPIC to review draft Department of Defense and Navy policies.

The research described in this report was prepared for the United States Navy. The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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