Addressing the Challenges of Complex Defense Systems

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This article is based on the book, “Organizing for a Complex World: Developing Tomorrow’s Defense and Net-Centric Systems,” recently published by the CSIS Press. Programs such as the Army’s Future Combat System, the Coast Guard’s Integrated Deepwater System program and the FAA’s Next Generation Air Traffic System are far more ambitious than any previously attempted. They combine groundbreaking technologies to create large, network-centric systems-of-systems with unprecedented capabilities. But such ambition brings unparalleled complexity, making these programs susceptible to cost overruns, schedule slippages and performance shortfalls. In recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee (pdf), Secretary of Defense Robert Gates […]

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