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Areas of Research

The History of Defense Management Reform

Defense Management Reform is persistent. Every Presidential Administration and Secretary of Defense has had some management reform agenda. This line of research explores the history, theories, themes, successes and failures of past Defense reforms. The objective is to understand the landscape of reform to benefit future reformers. CDMR has completed and is working on several projects in this area, to include cataloging the history of management reform, the origins of reform movements, and the efficacy of them.

Personnel Management Reform

Defense Management Reform not only addresses questions of organizational structure and processes related to operational and administrative tasks, reform also has a human component. This line of work address the reforms aimed at the personnel policies or that have significant human resource elements and includes a look at the personnel system in the Department of Homeland Security and the notion of performance based pay within the military.

Financial Management Reform

Most contemporary public sector management reform efforts are either explicitly tied to financial decisions (e.g., performance-based budgeting) or are implicitly tied through other management efforts (e.g., efficiency programs). Defense Management Reform is no different. Budgets reflect policy choices and are the singular opportunity for managers to acquire resources, therefore reliable, timely and relevant information is critical for defense managers to justify their programs and make them more efficient. Efforts to generate such information are a critical dimension of contemporary management reform. CDMR has completed and is working on several projects in this area, to include examinations of the factors affecting the auditability of defense financial information, the effects of budget levels on reform agendas, and oversight of defense financial management.

Communication and Organizational Change

A major issue in Defense Management Reform is how to manage the communication and cultural issues involved in introducing and implementing organizational changes. CDMR has completed and is working on several projects in this area, to include the controversial introduction of personnel management reform in the Department of Homeland Security, the changes introduced by the National Security Personnel System, and the challenges involved in major enterprise reform efforts.

Performance Measurement and Benchmarking

A hallmark of contemporary management reform is building the capability to measure the performance of public institutions. Defense Management Reform is no different. Demonstrating measurable success, building business cases, analyzing alternatives and allocating resources depend on the ability to measure performance. Benchmarking is a related process by which one may evaluate their performance relative to other organizations. Modeling and benchmarking can help defense managers understand, promote, and advance the success of their change initiatives. CDMR has undertaken a line of research that has included performance measures and goals for logistics processes, personnel, financial management, benchmarking practices, and organizational structures

Information Sharing and Collaboration

Defense Management Reform in the area of Homeland Security requires increased collaboration and information sharing between agencies and industry. More efficient practices and cost savings result through the transfer of smart practices, better decision making as a result of advice and information obtained from colleagues, enhanced capacity for collective action by dispersed units, and innovation through the cross-pollination of ideas and recombination of scarce resources. The Center for Defense Management Research, through the Multimodal Information Sharing Team (MIST), facilitates the sharing of defense information between private sector shipping and federal, state, and local government. Through a series of regional workshops, MIST captures best practices in information sharing, facilitates local action planning and collaboration, and communicates local issues to national policy makers

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