special interest in the commercial sector, however, is the extent to which new or adaptive corporations using agile approaches for the acquisition and operational deployment of IT capabilities have outstripped industrial giants that were beset with their own ponderous, process-bound, industrial-age management structures.

As called for in the committee’s statement of task (see Box P.1 in the preface), this report examines the acquisition, culture, practices, processes, and rules within the DOD as they apply to information technology; assesses whether the DOD could adopt best practices from the commercial sector for IT acquisition, systems engineering, and test and evaluation (T&E); and makes recommendations to improve the speed and effectiveness of IT acquisition programs.

Many studies have recommended reforms to the defense acquisition system—that is, the institutions, processes, and rules that govern the development, procurement, testing, and fielding of new capabilities. A number of these, including a recent study by the Defense Science Board,1 have focused on IT acquisition and concluded that there is a need for a unique acquisition process for IT. This study reaches the same fundamental conclusion but adds another dimension in its elaboration of differing types of IT systems and offers a suggested acquisition process for each.


Information technology is used for a wide variety of purposes in the DOD, a breadth suggested by the definition of “information enterprise” in DOD Directive (DODD) 8000.1.2 However, the issues, challenges, and potential solutions are not the same for all elements of the information enterprise. Moreover, the present defense systems acquisition vocabulary


Defense Science Board, Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Department of Defense Policies and Procedures for the Acquisition of Information Technology, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Washington, D.C., March 2009.


DOD Directive 8000.1 (Management of the Department of Defense Information Enterprise) defines “information enterprise” as follows: “The DoD information resources, assets, and processes required to achieve an information advantage and share information across the Department of Defense and with mission partners. It includes: (a) the information itself and the Department’s management over the information life cycle; (b) the processes, including risk management, associated with managing information to accomplish the DoD mission and functions; (c) activities related to designing, building, populating, acquiring, managing, operating, protecting, and defending the information enterprise; and (d) related information resources such as personnel, funds, equipment, and IT, including national security systems.”

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