Fear and Lore in the DoD Acquisition System

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In this episode Strategic Institute discusses the toxic Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition workforce culture where fear and lore is enabled and perpetuated by entrenched interests. The DoD acquisition system for R&D and delivering new capabilities failed sometime ago by any metric that really matters. However, the DoD, conveniently, uses metrics that do not matter. The continued use of a system that fails its own stated objectives and in measurable outcomes must be addressed. That this has gone on for decades indicates deeper problems. The question is who should be held accountable, who is responsible? Similar to the disgraceful exit of the Afghanistan war, nobody in DoD leadership is ever held accountable for the chronic and continued failure of the DoD acquisition system to deliver new capabilities efficiently and effectively in support of the warfighter and national security. This is vitally important work, but is treated much less so. The DoD acquisition system is a place where the common good and public interests are, or at least appear to be, trounced by self interests of insiders who benefit from perpetuating the status quo that is in part supported by fear and lore.

Related article – The Agreements Officer Conundrum

  1. Tom Bruneau

    Excellent presentation. I find it totally amazing that the so called educational institutions that should be attempting to change the culture – DAU and NPS – are not doing it.
    The acquisition folks at NPS held a symposium two weeks ago, and the term OTA was used once. I wrote them afterwards asking about this, and no response so far. Of many questions I have sent to DAU on this topic, none have been responded to.
    Hopefully the book I am writing on DoD contracting out will be published. The manuscript is still out for “blind” review.