The U.S. Army’s leaders want to transform the way the service designs and procures new weapons systems. The goal is to create a “modernization” command focused on providing the warfighters with new, advanced military capabilities at a faster pace and for lower costs than was previously possible. The first step the Army took was the creation of cross functional teams (CFTs) tasked to generate realistic requirements and detailed capabilities documents in six modernization priority areas. This is a good start. But what the Army needs is more than just a new organization, expanded authorities or relief from regulations. The new modernization command must develop a different way of thinking about creating and sustaining new capabilities. Modernization priorities should be addressed as processes, not platforms or systems. In creating its modernization command, the Army would benefit from closely studying the Navy’s Virginia class SSN program. The Navy created a process that provides for continual upgrades to new boats while reducing costs and almost always keeping to the planned production schedule. I have written about this topic for RealClearDefense here.
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