Strengthening the Department of Defense Program Managers: Towards a Better System of Preparation and Selection
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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The Department of Defense spends hundreds of billions of dollars on acquisition each year. Once the money has been earmarked, DoD assigns the responsibility for overseeing each system to a single person. I will examine the preparation and selection process for this person - the program manager. Each program manager is responsible for a system that can range in cost from several thousand to several billion dollars, and for a staff of a handful to several hundred people. The Office of Management and Budget lists the essential qualities of a program manager as an understanding of user needs and constraints, familiarity with system development principles, requisite management skills and experience in a variety of areas, and a long enough tenure in the job to provide a reasonable amount of continuity. I will examine current systems of preparing program managers and, through a combination of research and survey data, determine how well these systems are preparing DoD program managers. These systems will be examined in five areas experience, operational expertise, training and education, career possibilities, and tenure and responsibility. After I probe the current systems, I will use the same criteria to examine three alternative systems 1 A defense acquisition corps, 2 Clearly defined career patterns for military program managers, and 3 A system of co- program managers.
- Administration and Management
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations