Software-Defined Warfare: Architecting the DOD's Transition to the Digital Age

The U.S. Department of Defense's (DOD) massive bureaucracy struggles with the kind of periodic “tech refresh” that has been instrumental to commercial industry success. While it is insulated from market competition within the U.S. economy, the DOD is not immune from the kind of revolutionary, secular, and wide-ranging technological changes happening outside the government. Nor is it immune from the threat of competition with other militaries around the world.

In the future, warfighting will only become more complex, even more chaotic, and even faster. The only way for the DOD to stay competitive in a new warfighting environment is to ensure that it uses the most potent weapon available: technology, and more specifically, software.

For the United States to retain its dominant position in the future— which is not a guaranteed outcome—the DOD needs a new design and architecture that will allow it to be far more flexible, scale on demand, and adapt dynamically to changing conditions. And it must do so at a dramatically lower cost as it delivers its critical services. This paper provides a blueprint for the way forward.

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