I - like all my business development colleagues in this industry - spend a lot of time studying the DoD budget. This $600+ billion budget is an incredibly detailed behemoth that supports thousands of businesses and millions of Americans (as well as many foreign businesses).
Developing the budget is long and complex; seeking to fund predicted future needs, while maintaining a standing force and ongoing commitments. I marvel at the process and the team work needed to make it happen each year - but the process is not perfect. This year we (again) failed to pass a budget within the October 1 deadline.
This results in the dreaded “continuing resolution” (a “sequestration” of funding across our military) that frustrates our ability to rebuild our forces and equipment (especially after 16 years of continuous fighting) and it hampers our ability to develop and deploy the new technologies needed to counter increasingly sophisticated adversaries. SecDef Mattis has said: “No enemy in the field has done more harm to the combat readiness of our military than sequestration”.
Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it?
But wait; something is happening in the defense department and its supplier community. It is a new pragmatism, a more unified sense of purpose and a new business approach.
Driven by the stress of a DoD budget that is forcing us all to “do more with less”, the DoD has said: “We can no longer do this ‘top-down’; paying long and expensive development contracts. We need industry to bring us their best ideas, fully formed, ready to test, then we need to have the courage and the resources to get the most potent of these to our warfighters, as fast as possible.”
The result is some awesome developments; consider, for example, JLTV and now the MPF (Mobile Protected Firepower) programs. Both requirements were stated as needs and industry has brought, and is bringing, its best ideas to meet those needs.
As a major supplier of computing hardware, our company works every day to innovate and execute the best ideas in our industry; spending a huge amount of our resources to continuously supply current requirements and develop new products to meet future needs.
Even in the face of an uncertain budget, this is our “continuing resolution”.