Three Steps to Help Defense Innovation Break Free From Its Shackles

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Center Executive Director Jerry McGinn teamed up with Center Senior Fellow Eric Lofgren to write the a commentary for Defense News, "Three Steps to Help Defense Innovation Break Free From Its Shackles."

Jerry and Eric discuss the "rigid and linear PPBE process" and make three recommendations:

  • Be bold in vision -The DoD’s industrial-age approach is different from almost any organization in the world. The commission must look to the history of defense management, international ministries and large commercial enterprises. Organizational and portfolio budgeting are not new ideas, and today’s corporate best practices show how to spur innovation in large organizations.
  • Be focused in approach -The commission should be careful to not boil the ocean. The Section 809 Panel on defense acquisition reform is a cautionary tale. Even though the individual findings had merit, the three volumes of the final report were just too much to digest. Perhaps focus this commission on three lines of effort: (1) portfolio management; (2) reporting and transparency; and (3) budget build process.
  • Be pragmatic in implementation - Finally, the commission needs to make recommendations that can be rolled out incrementally. It may be useful to set up pilot portfolios across the DoD to test out new approaches. Focus first on high-interest and software-intensive program offices across the services and immediately move for FY23 pilot portfolios, creating opportunities for learning, adjustment and expansion over time.

Read the commentary at Defense News.