Part of Defense

Hard Choices in Defense

The U.S. Department of Defense faces difficult strategic choices. It needs sound, but rapid decision making processes to enable it to make good decisions quickly, and then to align its resources with its chosen strategy. The CNAS Defense Program helps policymakers make the right choices in resourcing and institutional reform through the following lines of effort:

Closing the Say-Do Gap

Implementing the defense strategy requires not only an appropriate level of resources but that sufficient funds are allocated to key strategic priorities. In this line of effort, the CNAS Defense Program assesses the alignment between the president’s budget requests and the defense strategy and offers recommendations on how to bring the two into lockstep.

Minding the Gaps

The U.S. Department of Defense currently lacks a rigorous and timely analytic process that enables valid comparisons across the joint portfolio to inform strategy, force structure, and resourcing decisions. This line of effort seeks to improve strategic analysis in the Department and revitalize its ability to produce timely, transparent, and robust analysis for senior leader decision support.

Unfinished Business in Defense Innovation

Despite recent reforms, defense acquisition processes remain too slow and inflexible, and the innovation ecosystem remains on the periphery of the larger acquisition enterprise. This project considers how to mainstream defense innovation so that that the Department can overcome the challenges that inhibit the rapid acquisition of new technologies to ensure U.S. military technological superiority over the coming decades.

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