Dr. Stewart, your diagnosis is sound ...
I understand that it is anathema to view DoD as a corporation, but at some level, the comparison is apt since a large part of DoD’s mission is to produce or supply war fighters with the best equipment. Unfortunately, if one listed the management practices of successful vs. unsuccessful companies in the 21st century, it is likely DoD would have more marks in the latter category, specifically:There's the "what." Then one has to ask; what about the "so what" and the "what next?"
* A heavily centralized corporate governance model where control is concentrated at the very top, creating enormous complexity, driving up costs, slowing decision velocity, and stifling agility and innovation.
* A culture where bad news is filtered out as it travels up the chain of command.
* Expending resources on non-core activities or capabilities.
* Multiple overlapping layers of redundant management.
* Taking too long and paying too much to acquire needed capability.
* Having labor skills continuously atrophy since there is little infusion of fresh talent above entry-level.
* Increasingly expensive cost of labor and benefits.
* Little understanding of the cost of doing business or of the major cost drivers.
Sure, some of these things are just going to be a natural part of being a military - but even if you accept that, there has to be room to at least nibble around the flabbier edges.
If you are serious about maximizing what money you will be getting - then you need to economize. Looking at the bullets above, which we can all nod our heads at - is one.
Never let a good crisis go to waste.
On the Navy side, it is insane to wring your hands over an extra 20 Sailors on LCS "costing too much" when you have layer-upon-layer of Staffs reporting to Staffs, hundreds of manhours spent on self-licking ice cream cone awards, three LCDR creating Diversity PPT slides for CNSL with a ADSW USNR CDR on recall for a year to do nothing but that for another UIC, and larger DESRONS managing fewer numbers of ships than in the past with no modern technology. We could go on for pages.
Now is the time - lead from the front. Start cutting DC Staff and work down. Slash the bloated GS and SES clusters. Make Shore hurt before Sea. Justify every report, every brief, every billet.
Do the above - then go after the teeth. You will have to go after the teeth, but you will be respected for throwing off the excess tail first.
That is the green eye-shade stuff that is actually an advantage to the new SECDEF. If he is focused right - he can do much. There is something else he needs to do - he needs to stop helping those who are attacking the military culture left and right with bad science and worse politics.
No excuses - just stand up and defend the 99.5% of the people in uniform that are serving with honor. Do that, and people will move mountains. The general climate is so bad - Duffleblog seems reasonable.
President Barack Obama offered hearty congratulations ... to an exultant field of 1047 graduatesEven SECNAV Mabus got in on the spirit;
“Today – in this single, fleeting moment – we all are just so proud you,” the president said in his commencement address. “Remember this, because it’s probably all downhill from here.”
“Let’s face it,” the president told the expectant young officers. “The few of you that will be any good at your job at all will get out. The rest of you will be pushed through a broken promotion system that rewards mindless compliance with outdated standards over anything even vaguely resembling conscious human thought. As you rise through the ranks, you’ll receive awards and honors you don’t deserve and develop a wildly inflated sense of self, until finally you arrive in a position to grossly abuse the power and people in your charge. Give yourselves a round of applause.”
“As I look out at your bright, naïve faces, I see criminals on the cusp of realizing that none of this shit is anything like what you’ve seen in the movies. You all are in for crushingly early mornings and truly meaningless bureaucratic nonsense that will suck your soul dry. Life will suddenly seem very gray, and you’ll probably start needing a drink just to get through the day.”
“But still, a tip of my cap for the bang-up job you’ve done here at Annapolis.”
“I’d tell you not to disappoint us,” Obama told one future naval aviator, “but at this point it’s probably inevitable.”
“Cherish these first years of your career,” Mabus advised the midshipmen. “Work hard but don’t forget to breathe in that fresh ocean air, because in the blink of an eye, twenty years will be gone and you’ll find yourself on the front page of the Navy Times for f(redacted) an enlisted person.”Yep. DuffleBlog; TheDailyShow for the military. Ignore it at your own peril.
“Oh, and to the 80 percent of you fools who will be married in the next month, a heartfelt Mazel Tov,” Mabus added. “Enjoy it while it lasts.”
“Frankly, if last year’s figures were any indication, an overwhelming number of you are headed for broken hearts and drawn-out custody battles – which makes sense when you consider the frequent deployments, dollar (redacted) in Guam, and the fact that you’ve basically been prisoners on this campus for the last four years and have developed no social skills to speak of whatsoever.”