One reason it has proven so difficult to defeat terrorist organizations such as ISIS, al Qaeda and the Taliban is that they are free of the burden imposed by a stultifying acquisition bureaucracy. Terrorist organizations don’t have military academies, national laboratories, large aerospace and defense companies or massive treasuries. The absence of formal institutions and traditional ways of thinking may actually give these groups an advantage. In the U.S. military, a service can’t even begin to develop a new weapons system without a formal requirement, which can take several years to write. The acquisition process often takes twenty years or more before a new weapon system is deployed. ISIS has it easy: no contracting regulations, no lawyers or accountants, no office of operational test and evaluation, no GAO protests or court challenges to procurement decisions and definitely no Congressional oversight. I have written commentary of this topic for The National Interest here.
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