An analysis of the Army’s formal bureaucracy and the impact on acquisition cycles
Montgomery, William T.
Laegeler, Shannon L.
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The federal government is considered the largest bureaucracy in the world. This joint applied project explains the impacts of operating in a bureaucratic environment. Bureaucracy, with respect to complex weapon system acquisition, is blamed for many of the programs that fail to meet major milestone decisions. By defining bureaucracy, explaining several bureaucratic models, and introducing decision making in actual Department of Defense (DOD) acquisition, this paper displays acquisition impacts. The paper describes how specific elements in acquisition have negative consequences. In more precise terms, this paper analyzes events in an Army Program Executive Office (PEO), where the Head of Contracting Activities (HCA) was transferred to a single oversight agency, referred to as the Transition Plan. In the Transition Plan, several themes emerged that identify why initial timelines were not met: key leadership turnover, lack of ownership, and a rigid budget cycle. This paper compares Allison’s Organizational Behavior Model (Model II) to the Transition Plan events to determine whether the model accurately depicts the effect of bureaucracy. Our research is not intended to reform acquisition systems by ridding them of bureaucracy, but rather to understand them and their context so we can do a better job of operating and estimating within them.
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