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Master Planning in the DoD
April 9, 2010 at 5:01 am #97183
If you’ve ever questioned the wisdom of the law handed to us in 2002, or if you’ve wondered how the EA, the ETP and Investment Review could truly work together to support DoD decision makers, then this post should clear some things up. I’m about to demonstrate the relationship between real working planning models and the model we’ve been given by 10USC2222, 10USC186, and the 2005 NDAA.
If you notice similarities, good. The planning and investment management processes represented in the first diagram below have evolved a lot over the last 80 years. They’ve evolved into a system that empowers State, County and City leaders to manage HUGE amounts of complexity. After more than 80 years, the system is not perfect; but it does ensure continuity over time (across administrations), relevant visibility over a very complex investment portfolio, and it ensures that any investor from anywhere in the world knows the rules of the game for a given community – well before they spend a lot of money on new investment.
New investments must be aligned with leadership priorities for a given community. They must comply with all applicable ordinances and zoning rules, be clearly expressed and communicated. There are few exceptions. And when they do pop up, they are quickly captured and assimilated into the next version of planning documents.
The problem is that there’s a lot to know about putting up a new building in say, New York City. There are ordinances for everything: fire and safety, building materials used, the number of feet to allow for a sidewalk, etc. There’s also a lot of ground to cover. If you consider the sheer size of New York, it is clear that one small group of elected officials can’t possibly know everything that’s going on at all times, in all sectors of a given area. To make matters worse, politics ensures that elected officials are rarely in the same place for too long.
This is why they needed a system. Take a careful look at the diagram that follows to examine the system I’m talking about. What I’ve drawn below is a working support structure that empowers leadership to manage well in a widely distributed and highly complex environment.
The DoD has become equally as complex and arguably much more distributed than any City, County or State in America. One might argue that the DoD was always very distributed, but we in the DoD have never experienced the amount of complexity that we do today – ever in our history. The complexities of the IT systems that support non-combat operations alone are so great that no individual (or board of individuals) can possibly know everything about them. Legacy decision making systems are no longer capable of keeping up. The DoD needs a decision support system that doubles as a complexity management system.
So let’s take a look at 10USC2222. It gives us three main components – A transition plan, Enterprise Architecture, and an Investment Review / Certification process. I’ve represented the three big 10USC2222 items in color coded boxes below:
If we assemble and decompose these three components in a way that promotes handoff’s of information, high level management control and coordination; and add in the governance structure prescribed by 10USC186 (the DBSMC and the IRB’s) we get a picture that looks like the following:
Take a look at the second diagram and compare it to the first. It’s no accident that these two support systems are so similar to one another. Implemented well, the system provided by 10USC2222 can perform for DoD leadership – the same functions as the State, County and City management support systems perform for State, County and City leadership.
Used properly and supported by the right coordinating mechanisms (staffing, due diligence, communication with stakeholders, etc), the tools provided by the 10USC2222 statute are fully capable of ensuring interoperability in the DoD, continuity across administrations, agility and alignment of our capability solutions to the desired outcomes, and a tremendous reduction in complexity and spending.
In order for this system to work properly, we still have a lot of work to do. In some respects, this work should be easier than it was for States, Counties and Cities when they started in the 1930’s. The DoD has already working models out there to emulate. The DoD also has a strength of a command structure that will enable rapid deployment of such a system. But, we must step up and make it work.
The following video provides a real life demonstration of how such a master planning process actually works in Montgomery County Maryland. The words they use in the video are different than the ones we use in the DoD, but with a few quick mental substitutions, you should be able to see how our 10USC2222 system could and should work. For example, “Development review” is analogous to a DoD”Investment Review.” The concept of a “Permit” is analogous to “Obligation Authority.”Video Produced by Montgomery County Cable
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