Every military enterprise resides within a complex
“web” of complexities and constraints.
It shares some of the same issues with other government
and commercial enterprises but it also has several
that are unique:
• Inflexible Mission
– The military enterprise does not
have the luxury of selecting its own mission,
as is the case in the private sector. In fact,
that mission is thrust upon it.
• Rigid Business
Parameters – The military enterprise
must adhere to rigid parameters over which it
has little control. These include organizational
doctrine, federal acquisition regulations (FARs)
and existing supply chains and logistics pipelines,
to name a few.
• High Customization
– Mission parameters often constrain
the development of a business strategy and model
for accomplishing that mission. For example, while
the private sector is free to trade off levels
of quality to achieve better levels of cost and
price, the military enterprise is usually provided
with pre-defined expectations for quality, i.e.
survivability, reliability, useability, etc. The
accompanying diagram depicts the range in which
the military enterprise must typically exist,
based on mission criticality.
this the case? The answer can be found by examining
the true cost of failing to fulfill the military
enterprise’s mission. When a private enterprise
fails, investors lose money. When a typical government
organization fails, people aren’t served
and taxpayers lose money. These are all bad things.
But when a military enterprise fails, no matter
how far away from the “front lines”
it is, the trickle-down effect is that battles
are lost, global policy fails, our nation becomes
vulnerable, and yes, people die.
The DoD “Death
Compounding the already complex environment described
above, there is another major issue facing military
management and engineering staff. It is known
as the “death spiral” which is common
to many DoD weapons systems support functions.
Since 1990, the DoD has reduced its budget by
29%. This reduction has greatly impacted weapon
system acquisition and in-service support:
• Reduced budgets have forced the military
branches to extend the life of current legacy
systems with significant reductions in acquisition
of replacement systems.
• In order to effectively compete in a significantly
smaller market, the industry has seen a large
number of corporate mergers which has resulted
many of the supply chain networks disappearing.
Second and third tier supply chain businesses
have gone out of production. The defense industry
sector is changing, and their associated supply
chain network is eroding rapidly.
• Current weapon systems are faced with escalating operations
and maintenance costs. These “sustainment”
costs are due to:
| Increased operational
(MTBM) cycles due to increased operational
|Increased life extension of existing
weapon systems due to delays in new
|Unforeseen support problems associated
with aging weapons systems
|Material shortages because of diminishing
manufacturing resources and technological
All of these issues impact military
organizations regarding the life cycle sustainment.
As sustainment costs increase, there is less funding
available to procure replacement systems. An analysis
conducted by the DoD concluded that, unless mission
requirements and the operational tempo are reduced
or there are significant increases in the budget,
the operational maintenance cost portions of the
budget will equal the total current (net present
value) budgets by the year 2024.
As if their situation were not complex enough,
virtually all military enterprises that exist
today have been in operation for several decades;
and they serve ongoing design, support or operational
functions. Such an environment presents the enterprise
architect with special problems and challenges
unique to the Military environment. For example,
how does one re-architect an enterprise whose
current architecture was arrived at by default
(i.e. no formal requirements-driven baseline to
reference) while at the same time allowing the
enterprise to support the ongoing mission? In
other words, somehow, we need to “fix the
airplane while flying it”!