Cover of Defense Management Reform by Peter Levine
Defense Management Reform
How to Make the Pentagon Work Better and Cost Less
Peter Levine

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March 2020
352 pages.
from $35.00

Cloth ISBN: 9781503610460
Paper ISBN: 9781503611849

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Pentagon spending has been the target of decades of criticism and reform efforts. Billions of dollars are spent on weapons programs that are later abandoned. State-of-the-art data centers are underutilized and overstaffed. New business systems are built at great expense but fail to meet the needs of their users. Every Secretary of Defense for the last five Administrations has made it a priority to address perceived bloat and inefficiency by making management reform a major priority. The congressional defense committees have been just as active, enacting hundreds of legislative provisions. Yet few of these initiatives produce significant results, and the Pentagon appears to go on, as wasteful as ever.

In this book, Peter Levine addresses why, despite a long history of attempted reform, the Pentagon continues to struggle to reduce waste and inefficiency. The heart of Defense Management Reform is three case studies covering civilian personnel, acquisitions, and financial management. Narrated with the insight of an insider, the result is a clear understanding of what went wrong in the past and a set of concrete guidelines to plot a better future.

About the author

Peter Levine is a senior fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses and a former Senate staffer. He has served as the Deputy Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense—the senior Pentagon official responsible for defense management reform.

"There are a handful of public servants who can legitimately claim to be practitioners of defense reform. Peter Levine is one. Having observed reform efforts that originated on Capitol Hill and managed such efforts in the Department of Defense, Peter is uniquely qualified to identify the political and bureaucratic practices that promote successful defense reform."

—General Norty Schwartz, USAF (Retired), Former Chief of Staff, United States Air Force

"No one know the successes and failures of 'reform' in defense better than Peter Levine, and his own role in many of them made for the successes."

—Ash Carter, Former Secretary of Defense; Director, Harvard's Belfer Center; and Innovation Fellow, Member of the Corporation, MIT