Organizing for a Complex World

The Organizing For A Complex World project takes on the issue of how to organize the creation of increasingly complex weapon systems and develop metrics for assessing these systems.

The Way Ahead:

David Berteau, Former Director, CSIS National Security Program on Industry and Resources, gave at this presentation on Organizing a Complex World: The Way Ahead event on at an event on September 3, 2009.

In partnership with the M.I.T. Security Studies Program, and the support of the OSD Systems and Software Engineering Directorate, the CSIS National Security Program on Industry and Resources launched the project “Organizing for a Complex World: Designing, Developing and Deploying Complex Weapon and Net-centric Systems -- Lessons of the Past and the Way Forward”, focused on one of the most challenging issues facing the Department of Defense today: the development and fielding of large, complex, systems-of-systems.

When faced with prior leaps in complexity, the defense community invested in and developed new management and analytical tools, created new organizational structures and fundamentally changed policies. For example, in the early days of the Cold War, PERT was developed to help manage the Polaris Missile program and new organizational constructs such as the FFRDC were created. Today, the Department of Defense faces a similar leap in complexity as the information revolution presents the opportunity to create large, complex net-centric systems-of-systems. Furthermore, individual weapon systems are becoming more complex as more technology is inserted, requirements mount and capabilities increase. Gaining maximum benefit from these innovations requires not only overcoming the technical challenges, but also confronting fundamental and profound policy, organizational and doctrinal issues. Both Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England and Undersecretary of Defense (AT&L) Ken Krieg have identified the issue as critical.

The CSIS/M.I.T. project takes on two major topics:

  1. How do you best organize to create these large systems-of-systems/system architectures and more complex weapon systems?
  2. What metrics, tools, and analytics can policy makers/managers use to assess, measure and manage these system-of-system integration/architecture integration projects and more complex weapon systems?  The intent of the program is to assist policy makers in framing the issue, build a community of interest and help develop the intellectual tools required to address the issue.