Cutting costs in the DoD may cost more in the long run.

A doctor walks into room, he looks at the nurse and then to his toolkit.   He is preparing for a very serious procedure, he looks at the chart and he takes a deep breath as he moves his team into the operating room for surgery.   Eight hours later the doctor emerges from the operating room, he heads for the waiting room as the family of the patient is anxiously awaiting the status of their family member.  “Ma’am, your husband did great, we removed his right arm and right leg, the cancer should be all cut off now.”  The wife looks at the doctor with tears in her eyes in a stunned and confused demeanor.  “Sir, my husband had these growths on his left side.”

What happened?  The doctor cut what he thought he should cut, just like politicians and high level military officials are looking across the DoD to cut what they “think” they should cut.   Why don’t they know?  The GAO has a report on enterprise architectures  you can follow the link to read it but basically it says we don’t know enough about what we have.  How could you make a decision on what to cut if you don’t know or understand fundamentally what you are cutting?

If the department simply makes cuts without performing the proper analytical rigor, it will cost more in the long run.  It will cost more because programs will lose people, process, tools and corporate memory.  It will cost more because there will be new requirements building, and functional capability analysis.  It will cost more because certain things can’t stop and those things that are cut that can’t be cut like food or fuel will result in high immediate costs.  In other words, if you cut an existing contract for food supplies and we know you can’t stop food flowing in, the new costs for food will far exceed what we are paying now.

I submit that we can’t afford to make cuts without producing enterprise and operational architectures for analysis immediately.  Each DoD program of record and any funded program or platform should produce a business architecture that addresses the who, what, when, why, how and how much of what they do.   If they can’t do that within a 3-6 month timeframe, they should be suspended.   Being suspended as opposed to being cut can result in a choking situation where the impact of cutting the program can be felt but not necessarily permanently.

Additionally, once the enterprise architecture products are submitted to the accounting office there should be immediate analysis performed with technological infrastructure, operational and personnel consolidation in mind.  There is still too much political posturing in the DoD and bureaucracy that inhibits effective and realistic consolidation.

Finally, there should be a plan to deal with technical and operational standards in conjunction with Title 10 code that mandates use of architectures.  We need to address our business process as opposed to simply the technical side of the equation.  We need to look at the people (our war fighters) and understand what they actually need as opposed to what we thought they needed 10 years ago.  Then and only then can we move forward with cutting costs.

If we do anything else, we will wind up like our patient, armless, legless and ultimately incapable of protecting the very things that we seek to protect.

1 Comment

  1. Couldn’t agree more. However, if your recommendation is going to work a solution has to be created that makes the task easy, intuitive and fun. Otherwise, it won’t get done. People with go with their “gut” or the “hunch” of their commander and more useless, duplicative and ineffective solutions will be created. (They won’t be seen that way at first, only after they’re fielded and run into the problems of interoperability, usability and sustainability!)

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