Cyber warfare has arrived. The Department of Defense (DoD) is under attack, and our security is at stake. Yet in a field defined by its rapid growth, the DoD arms itself at the same pace that that it buys major weapons systems, an acquisition cycle of 7–10 years. It thus buys obsolete cyber-defense tools. The “arsenal of democracy” has already provided us the tools for overcoming this impediment in the form of agile software-development methods. Yet the DoD has been reluctant to set aside decades of experience and utilize different methods for software than it does for other acquisitions. But unless it does so, it may well lose its edge, and not only in the cyber domain.

The next four sections will proceed as follows. The first describes the growing threat of cyberattacks generally, discusses how they affect the DoD and our security specifically, and then explains the relationship between DoD cybersecurity and rapid-cyber procurement. The second summarizes agile software development—its history, methods, and track record. The third recounts the history of federal and DoD IT acquisitions and the DoD’s attempt at agile reforms. Though underway for a decade or more, there is little to show for it. The last section focuses on the analysis of why agile has not taken root, how to foster such reforms in the DoD, and benefits that may accrue.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.