Smart Defense in action…
But we do have concerns that the UAV NATO has elected to purchase (Global Hawk) is so expensive that the U.S. has elected to terminate the Block 30 Global Hawk program. Isn’t there a “smarter” way to achieve the same capability for less cost?
NATO Will Buy Its First Spy Drones, Eventually | Danger Room | Wired.com.
NATO leadership seems to be taking for granted that the cost of military systems will continue to escalate; therefore, the only way for countries to underwrite these costs is to pool resources. But shouldn’t NATO also be challenging industry to develop more cost effective solutions to military problems? Smart Defense needs to address both sides of the cost equation…
NATO will settle for political declaration instead of concrete Smart Defense projects at Chicago Summit | Atlantic Council.
Smart Defense means changing how we equip personnel on the front lines to get them what they need cheaper and faster. JIEDDO is leading the way in this regard. But moving “rapid acquisition” from a reactive to a deliberate practice requires that JIEDDO develop a corporate memory based on lessons learned.
DOD’s counter-IED arm faces future challenges — Defense Systems.
Blackbeard to the rescue!
Smart Defense means “Doing more with less.” And “doing more with less” means challenging the status quo. It requires a certain tolerance for risk and willingness (even eagerness) to defy convention. The personalities that change industries (Steve Jobs called them pirates) are often characterized by a wonton disregard for authority. As the co.design blog puts it:
“A pirate can function without a bureaucracy. Pirates support one another and support their leader in the accomplishment of a goal. A pirate can stay creative and on task in a difficult or hostile environment. A pirate can act independently and take intelligent risks, but always within the scope of the greater vision and the needs of the greater team. Pirates are more likely to embrace change and challenge convention. “Being aggressive, egocentric, or antisocial makes it easier to ponder ideas in solitude or challenge convention,” says Dean Keith Simonton, a University of California psychology professor and an expert on creativity. “Meanwhile, resistance to change or a willingness to give up easily can derail new initiatives.” So Steve’s message was: if you’re bright, but you prefer the size and structure and traditions of the navy, go join IBM. If you’re bright and think different and are willing to go for it as part of a special, unified, and unconventional team, become a pirate.”
The peculiar problem in the defense industry is that it is too much a reflection of the consumer, and the consumer (i.e. the Department of Defense) has a highly evolved immune system that targets and eliminates disruptive influences. Let’s think about this in terms of Everett Rogers’ seminal work “The Diffusion of Innovations.” This is a gross oversimplification of one of Everett’s key ideas, but his research suggests that proliferating innovations, products, ideas, or whatever is best accomplished between groups that have a shared context (beliefs, value system, etc.). With this in mind, it makes good sense that the most successful defense companies would be the ones that most closely identify with the prevailing defense culture of conservatism.
But looking to these historical centers of gravity for industry-transforming ideas is not a recipe for success. Changing the defense industry means providing a platform for pirates to do their thing – a vehicle where the different ideas that challenge conventional assumptions can be exposed and incubated. The web and social networking sites in particular have the potential to provide just such a platform. A properly structured online community could provide a “pirates’ cove” if you will, a proving ground where ideas that threaten the status quo in the defense industry can germinate prior to deployment.
The good news is that the tools exist to support such an experiment. Someone just needs to take the initiative to get the ball rolling…
The Smart Defense force structure as reflected in the 2013 budget: expandable, expeditionary, and precise.
The Promise — and The Danger — in Panetta’s Budget | Battleland | TIME.com.
Is it possible to reduce military personnel costs without undermining capability through the smart use of technology enablers?
Ticking Time Bomb | Battleland | TIME.com.
This chart speaks volumes about what’s wrong with the current approach to defense acquisition. Capability as a proportional function of cost leaves little room for “doing more with less.”
The GAO Chart That Explains Everything About Defense Procurement | Battleland | TIME.com.
Migrating mission from the active duty to the reserve (and National Guard) components is not just smart, it’s absolutely necessary.
Why Spend $139K For a Soldier You Can Get for $44K? | Battleland | TIME.com.
Replacing “soda straw” imagery systems with wide-area sensors that can see “everything all of the time” is a great way to reduce costs and increase performance of aerial surveillance operations.
Homeland Security Wants to Spy on 4 Square Miles at Once | Danger Room | Wired.com.