Managing the Defense Industrial Base: A Long-Term Strategic Approach

  • Lieutenant Colonel Donald W. Hurst III

Today’s fiscally constrained and complex threat environment requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to take a more active role in managing the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). Otherwise, DoD risks the loss of core competencies essential to U.S. National Security. In order to re-shape the DIB to support DoD’s twenty-first century requirements, U.S. policy makers must provide strategic guidance and direction. This guidance should begin with identification of the core competencies required to accomplish the mission set needed to support the National Military Strategy. Once these requirements are determined, the DIB must be assessed to identify capability gaps and vulnerabilities. This assessment will inform the development of an integrated long-term strategy designed to align the DIB’s efforts with the National Security Strategy, to manage the DIB collaboratively during an economic down-turn, and to reform the current regulatory regime in order to leverage the benefits of globalization. A comprehensive restructuring of the DIB promises to be a lengthy and complex process. This SRP identifies the challenges and suggests a methodology to prevent the atrophy of the DIB-a strategic asset essential to U.S. National Security for over sixty years.