Over the past three decades, DOD IT investments have grown steadily, but at the expense of outsourcing of key engineering expertise and technologies to systems integrators (Defense Contractors), as directed by congress. Having gained that key personnel and technology expertise, those companies have been able to exert a high degree of influence over program decisions, typically even performing duties traditionally reserved for government employees. There is no incentive for these profit-based companies to improve or deliver because they perceive that to be a decrement to their bottom line profits. This coupled with DoD lack of experienced, qualified experts is causing significant cost overruns. These cost overruns have been well documented within the government as indicated in a recent GAO report (GAO, April 2006, p5). This report summarized inefficiencies, in business processes and delivery of proprietary and inadequate solutions being developed across the DOD.
One of the recommendations I would make to the Department of Defense is to hire, educate Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans returning to the most difficult economy in decades. Further, ensure compensation systems attract and retain qualified talent. "A Government By the People for The People"
In my opinion, this best practice is crucial to developing cost-effective, relevant war fighting capabilities. It will do this by leveraging experienced knowledge bases at competitive costs. It will shorten the Bench-to-Battlefield or cycle times of getting products in the hands of users. Finally, it will provide greater access to a pool of more qualified personnel rather than just hiring someone simply because they have a degree.