The Defense Management Challenge: Weapons Acquisition
By J. Ronald Fox
Harvard Business School Press, 1988, 368 pp.
Even before the latest scandals, most observers were tempted to avoid the subject of military procurement as too complicated, despite the fact that it has become a $130 billion-plus business. One who had not is J. Ronald Fox, author a decade and a half ago of Arming America. This book is a readable analysis of the process. Its conclusions are thoughtful but focus mostly on the Pentagon, reflecting the premise that, as one Hill staffer put it, "Congress will stop micromanaging when the Defense Department stops mismanaging." Yet, dramatic improvements in Pentagon management will be slow at best; until then the U.S. seems trapped in a vicious circle-Congress will respond to the most recent scandal with new layers of paperwork that ensure that today's $600 toilet seat covers will cost twice that tomorrow.