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Do Quality Principles Apply to Combat Operations?
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The United States Department of Defense formally adopted the Total Quality Management approach in 1988. Since that time, the use of Total Quality Management has grown at an uneven rate with more extensive use in support and maintenance type organizations. One possible reason is the functions of these organizations more closely mirror civilian companies that have successfully implemented the approach. The concept of their functions as processes is more apparent, and customers are more easily identified. In operational organizations, air crew members, infantrymen, and sailors often have difficulty identifying what they do as processes, and identifying who their customers are especially in combat operations. In fact, there is a common belief among operators that the Total Quality Management approach is not conductive or useful in combat operations. However, in reviewing various military concepts, principles, and doctrine, one will find a correlation between them and the major quality principles of Total Quality Management. Examples from previous and current conflicts further exemplify this relationship.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE