One reason the ‘culture of innovation’ hasn’t taken proper hold at the Pentagon is that its buyers aren’t trained over and over to weigh uncertainties.
Why does the Pentagon remain unable to properly exploit the opportunities afforded by advances in technology and other fields?
It’s not for lack of exhortation: a long list of Defense leaders, up to and including the current secretary, has urged the Department’s people to innovate, to take risks.
They don’t know how.
This is no slur on today’s acquisition corps, which is full of bright, hard-working people. But making good judgments in the face of risk is hard. It involves a complex web of decisions, actions and counteractions that often spiral well beyond the scope of the original task. The higher the stakes, the tougher risk management becomes. The same is true of combat — which is exactly why the military insists that its combat leaders train and study and review and practice, over and over again, in ever-more complex scenarios, so that they are as ready as possible to handle real risk.