A Model for Leading Change : Making Acquisition Reform Work

Keywords acquisition change management reform

Report of the Military Research Fellows DSMC 1996-1997

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This publication presents the results of an intensive 11-month program for three military research fellows. The Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology) (USD(A&T) chartered this fellowship program in 1987. The program brings together selected officers from the Air Force, Army, and Navy for two primary purposes: first, to provide advanced professional and military education for the participating officers; and, second, to explore new and innovative concepts that will enhance the Department of Defense acquisition community.

The fellowship program, managed by the Defense Systems Management College (DSMC), is conducted in three phases. In the first phase, the three officers meet at DSMC for four weeks to begin to determine their research goals, define a research plan, initiate background research, and consult with the DSMC faculty. In the second phase, the fellows attend the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School. This comprehensive 11-week executive education program brings together functional-level executives and new general managers from as many as 39 countries to learn the state-of-the-art management techniques and technologies necessary to become successful general managers in today’s global marketplace. In the third phase, the fellows return to DSMC to conduct their joint research, culminating in the publication of their research report.

This report identifies a path for the leadership of the Department of Defense Acquisition System to follow for implementing successful acquisition reform. It is intended to serve as a primer for changing organizations, and includes lessons learned from the perspective of implementing change. The report presents a model for change based on academic understanding of and industry practices for organizational change. In developing the model, we looked at the latest Department of Defense acquisition reform effort, and addressed what the Department of Defense can do to improve the change process. We analyzed how organizations, within both the military and industry, have successfully led change and determined what could be learned from those organizations. The model is designed to assist program managers and senior leadership in implementing change in Department of Defense organizations.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles L. Beck, Jr., USAF, Lieutenant Colonel Nina Lynn Brokaw, USA, Commander Brian A. Kelmar, USN
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