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Title: Is the Department of Defense a High-Risk Anomaly: Theory to Practice
Authors: Douglas A. Brook, Danelle Gamble
Keywords: defense management
risk management
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2021
Publisher: Acquisition Research Program
Citation: Published--Unlimited Distribution
Series/Report no.: Acquisition Management;DUKE-AM-21-243
Abstract: In phase one of this research, (Gamble, 2020, Brook 2020), DoD areas on the GAO’s High-Risk List (HRL) were compared to similar longstanding high-risk non-Defense programs to determine if the DoD is a high-risk anomaly. Three attributes characterizing risk emerged: (1) the more technical programs have greater risk; (2) defense and national security areas have greater financial risk; (3) larger programs have greater, more prolonged risk. The study concluded DoD is a high-risk anomaly as the agency, and every area within, has two of the three attributes; but is not an anomaly in one as this attributes are present in non-Defense areas as well. From this analysis questions emerged regarding whether the DoD can ever get off the HRL and whether the DoD should prioritize getting off the HRL. Additionally, we perceived a theory of interaction between the DoD, the GAO and Congress that would influence the answers. To explore these questions, we examined the interaction theory and its practice, and interviewed over twenty current and former officials and staff experts in the GAO, the DoD and on Capitol Hill. The analysis amplifies the earlier findings and reveals mixed and inconclusive views on whether the DoD could ever get off or should even prioritize getting off the HRL in its management agenda.
Description: Acquisition Management
Appears in Collections:Sponsored Acquisition Research & Technical Reports

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