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The Evolution of the Pentagon’s Strategic Warfighting Resource and Risk Process

June 7, 2007

The last significant management change that the Department of Defense (DoD) underwent occurred under Secretary Robert McNamara. In 1962, during the first year of his tenure, he introduced the Planning, Programming and Budgeting System (PPBS), Operational Research Systems Analysis to help determine defense policy, and the Program Analysis and Evaluation Division, which was designed to help reduce waste and duplication in the services’ procurement and systems management. Even though DoD had greater oversight on procurement and research and development (R&D), each service maintained its responsibility to develop, fund, procure and manage weapon systems. This resource management approach has been in place since the early 1960s with few other changes—but the fight has dramatically changed.

Specifically, the Army has evolved to become a more joint interdependent force with a focus on combatant commanders as joint commanders, bearing the burden of warfighting in their respective regions. The Bush administration came into office with the intent of changing the approach to the old methodology, to streamline it and to provide for a more joint outlook to weapon systems procurement and capabilities development. The following research will highlight the latest changes through Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) 2006 and discuss potential changes to make the process better.