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From the Chairman and Executive Editor - Issue 89

The theme of this edition of the Defense Acquisition Research Journal is “The Social Goals of Defense Acquisition.” It always has been commonplace to read or hear criticisms of the defense…

From the Chairman and Executive Editor - Issue 89

From the Chairman and Executive Editor - Issue 89
Image removed.The theme of this edition of the Defense Acquisition Research Journal is “The Social Goals of Defense Acquisition.” It always has been commonplace to read or hear criticisms of the defense acquisition process, generally with the premise that it is not focused on meeting warfighter needs, and often with the codicil “if defense acquisition could just be run more like a business….” Yet such criticism overlooks the many differences between government and commercial business, not the least of which is the fact that Congress places specific social and economic policy requirements on federal acquisition in general, and defense acquisition in particular. By contrast, businesses are not encumbered by these Congressionally mandated policy requirements.

These policy goals were deftly outlined in a relatively obscure but insightful paper, “Social and Economic Goals and Their Impact on the Defense Acquisition Process” by Thomas E. Harvey (a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition), which was published in 1979 in the Notre Dame Law Review and reprinted here with that journal’s permission. Now, 40 years after the publication of Harvey’s paper, we have asked Moshe Schwarz, who has served as an analyst on defense acquisition for over a decade, to revisit Harvey’s paper and answer the question: What has changed over the last 40 years since the article was published? Moshe’s short answer—a great deal, and his observations are insightful and enlightening.

The first research paper in this issue, “The Impacts of DoD Acquisition Initiatives on Defense Industry Business Strategy” by Joseph R. Blank, follows in this same vein. The author examines recent Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition initiatives, and through semistructured interviews with defense industry executives, explores and identifies the business strategies needed by these companies to address DoD’s evolving requirements. The second paper, “Foundations for a Game Theoretic Framework for Agile Acquisition” by Scott Rosen, Kelly Horinek, Alexander Odeh, Les Servi, and Andreas Tolk, examines the use of game theory within the government acquisition community to understand and develop strategies that help vendors and expedite their decision-making.
The featured reading in this issue’s Defense Acquisition Professional Reading List is Paul A. C. Koistinen’s magisterial five-volume series, The Political Economy of American Warfare, reviewed by Mark Wilson.

Dr. Larrie D. Ferreiro
Chairman and Executive Editor
Defense ARJ