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Acquisition Dominance: Why The Make - Buy Decision And Decentralization Are Essential For DoDs Information Technology Acquisitions And Operations

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Technical Report

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Air Command And Staff College Maxwell Air Force Base United States

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This paper argues that if the Department of Defense DOD wants to provide the operational adaptability necessary for relevant cyber operations, then it needs decentralized capacity to organically acquire those capabilities. Towards that purpose this paper provides an intellectual basis for a paradigmatic shift in how the DOD acquires its information technology IT. The proposed shift is to a construct that utilizes more organic means, including DOD personnel and direct contracted support, to develop, test, and sustain its capabilities rather than through intermediaries as is currently the norm. Such shifts must necessarily start small, building upon merit as theory becomes practice. This paper highlights that the DOD does not perform a make-buy decision in its acquisition of capabilities as part of the Defense Acquisition System and that if it did, then the DOD would make much of its information technology based on philosophical, capability, and financial justifications. A broad historical summary of acquisition is provided to highlight how certain macro-environmental factors have driven acquisition to exist in its current form with the implication that many of those environmental factors have paradigmatically changed, warranting a corresponding shift in the DOD acquisition approach. Because no strategy is worthwhile that cannot be implemented, a number of risk and implementation considerations are discussed.

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  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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