Five by Five: Five Disciplines and Five Strategic Initiatives for the Pentagon in the Digital Age

March 2021
Topics: Acquisition Management, Strategic Planning, Technological Innovations, Program Development/Management, Software (General), Technology Investment Planning
Peter J. Modigliani, The MITRE Corporation
Dan Ward, The MITRE Corporation
Matt MacGregor, The MITRE Corporation
Download PDF (1.59 MB)

The Department of Defense (DoD) embarked on a new era for acquisition, with a relentless focus on accelerating the delivery of new operational capabilities. While much progress has been made in recent years, the new administration has an opportunity to build on the latest enterprise transformations and take them to the next level.

The task ahead requires aligning and streamlining enterprise processes, shaping culture and incentives, and leveraging partnerships across the DoD, Congress, industry, and our allies. This paper proposes a set of five key disciplines and five strategic initiatives to meet the challenge of accelerating and strengthening our national defense posture in the Digital Age.

The five disciplines include focusing on: people, speed, flexibility, collaboration, and authorities.

The five strategic initiatives include:

  1. Instituting Portfolio Management
  2. Budget Transformation
  3. Building and Innovative Workforce
  4. Scaling and Streamlining for Software
  5. Strengthening the Innovation Ecosystem

The disciplines and initiatives in this paper constitute a set of actionable recommendations for DoD leadership and Congress to collaboratively partner around modernizing the defense enterprise. These require the new deputy secretary of defense to champion, given the breadth of scope and senior leadership needed to drive change.


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