Defense Systems Management: The 375 Series

by Edward Morrison



Significant changes have recently been instituted in contracting arrangements between the United States Department of Defense and the aerospace industry. Through spelling out specific rules and approaches to sharpen systems management, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force have taken an important step toward a revision of management practices in that important area. However, the total implications of these changes for aerospace management today, and for government-industry relationships in the future, while still unclear, are likely to be considerable. Although the exposition of this article is limited to relationships between the Air Force and the aerospace industry, such relationships may prove to be a pattern acceptable to, and adopted by, other governmental agencies in their contracting with private industry. Widespread adoption of these relationships would signal a basic departure from current business practice. Under the new systems management concept, a new structural relationship has been created in which the Air Force, as a buyer, makes specific management decisions about policy and detailed procedures within aerospace companies that sell defense systems to the Air Force.

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