That would likely be true of any company or organization that used PBL with success, and the military is no exception to that. Even though it is the government, it is still a business and the military has to be run as a part of that business. While the military's job is not to make money (such as would be seen in corporate America, for example), its job is to be efficient and provide high-quality work and know-how for the price that is being spent on it by the DOD. Any way that can be done more effectively without compromising the safety of the troops or the quality of the goods and services that they receive is something that should be carefully considered.
Key Data Findings
Current battlefield logistics are different from what was seen in the past. Prior to 2005, and most clearly prior to 2001, the DOD was much less focused on PBL and what it could bring to the table (DOD, n.d.; Coogan, n.d.). Instead, the DOD looked at contracting for goods and services to the lowest bidder. In many cases, the DOD had contracts with a few select companies with which it had been working for some time. Sometimes, bids were not accepted correctly or information was adjusted in order to make sure those companies kept their contracts. While that was unfortunate, the most unfortunate part of the issue was that the DOD was spending a great deal of money when it could have been saving millions or even billions of dollars over time by handling everything with PBL. In 2001, the DOD recommended that PBL be used because there were too many problems with the system that was being used at that time (Coogan, n.d.). There were cost overruns, as well as a decrease in reliability and readiness.
In addition, in the past there was no end in sight when it came to how high the costs might go or how much of a problem over-spending on defense could be (Dupuy & Dupuy, 1970; Creveld, 1977; Eccles, 1959). It was clear that the DOD needed to do something to correct the problem, but it was not clear what, exactly, should be done. During that time the military continued onward with a lowered level of ability and a highly bloated budget. Eventually, in the late 1990s, it was determined that something had to be done. However, it was not until 2001 that PBL was recommended as the right choice to curb spending and raise quality in one fell swoop. Many of the systems that fall under the guidance and control of the DOD have been improved by the PBL that has been used. Other countries have also adopted the PBL strategy for their militaries and defense contracting, with a degree of success that is high, overall.
In 2009, an assessment conducted into the DOD and its PBL strategy indicated that a performance-oriented, outcome-based product support strategy was the right choice, and something with DOD should strive for. Even though the DOD is moving toward using PBL, and already has it in place in some areas, there is still much work to be done. PBL is not used all throughout every program that is under the control of the DOD, so there is room for improvement and expansion in that area. In addition, there are other areas that could make PBL more effective, and other areas in which it should be used. These include:
metrics, governance, analytical tools, human capital, operating and support costs, industrial integration strategy, product support business model, and supply chain operational strategy.
Developing and improving those areas would make PBL and a product-support strategy much more effective and efficient for the DOD, and could allow the PBL model to become something that encompassed the entire DOD and every department, leading to a higher degree of efficiency and wide-spread cost savings.
Synthesis: Key Data Findings with Key Literature Findings
By looking at both the literature and the data that was compiled by the researcher and analyzed, it is easy to see that PBL has its place in the DOD and the military. Despite the fact that some program managers are not clear on how to use it and may not actually want to use it, there is much to be gained from adopting a PBL strategy (Coogan, n.d.). The report compiled in 2009 on the use of PBL in the DOD made it clear that it was found to be a worthwhile strategy to pursue, and that indicated that the DOD was on the right track with getting product-based support and moving toward a more efficient and effective military. Because more than just the military falls under the control of the DOD, however, there is more that can be done with PBL in the sense of saving money and allowing for good, strong logistics that can help the DOD and the entire government move forward.
Literature regarding military logistics is clear: the military is often over-funded by under-paid in the sense that millions and sometimes even billions of dollars are being spent but they are not being spent efficiently (Coogan, n.d.). When money is being wasted, it can be frustrating for the troops and for the taxpayers who feel as though their money is going for nothing, or for frivolities that are not needed or desirable. It is not realistic to cut all waste out of an operation and a budget as large as the DOD, but it is certainly possible to cut down on how much waste is seen and better determine whether the DOD can save money in specific areas by focusing on what PBL has to offer.
Project Key Findings
With any study, what has been discovered must be made clear. There have been several findings in this study - some that were relatively obvious and a few that were more surprising and unexpected. As such, the study provided more information than expected in some areas and less information than what was hoped for in others. That is an important consideration for the researcher, but also for anyone who is doing a similar study in the future. The key findings of this study include:
The use of PBL has been increasing in the DOD for some time, but does not yet encompass everything.
Those who are asked to work with PBL are often skeptical of its value and unclear as to its efficiency.
A 2009 report into the DOD and PBL showed that PBL was a strategy that was worth pursuing because of the value that it brought to the DOD and because of its efficiency and cost savings.
The DOD is more than just the military, and there are many departments in which PBL would be effective.
PBL is a way in which the DOD can save money, operate more efficiently, and help to ensure that troops are receiving what they need when it comes to military logistics and the battlefield.
This chapter has taken a look at the data that was presented from 26 program managers and from the literature that has been collected regarding the DOD and its potential plans for PBL. It is true that the DOD has already been using PBL in some instances and some departments, but the PBL is not widespread or used in some areas where it could be beneficial. The reason behind some of this is the lack of understanding about PBL and what it really offers. PBL can be somewhat confusing for someone who is not used to it or who has never before worked with it, so the idea that it would not be warmly embraced is one that makes sense on many levels. However, because PBL has been indicated to be helpful to the DOD and military operations in general, it is worthy of consideration and can be used by the DOD both now and in the future.
Reports and information regarding PBL as used by the DOD have shown that it is an effective measure when it comes to lowering costs and providing troops with what they need on and off of the battlefield. Before the DOD began using PBL, there were problems with contracting and there were significant overruns on cost. In addition, some of the promised equipment did not arrive correctly and the maintenance on that equipment became a problem. By using PBL and making sure that the maintenance would be available, costs were lowered and equipment lasted longer.
Chapter V: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Overall, the use of PBL in the DOD is not new. However, it has not been utilized as strongly as it could have been in the past, mostly because of some of the barriers to its use that have been seen. Those barriers include a lack of understanding of what PBL really is and what it can do for logistics, along with a lack of interest in changing…