American Defense Reform: Lessons from Failure and Success in Navy History

American Defense Reform: Lessons from Failure and Success in Navy History

American Defense Reform: Lessons from Failure and Success in Navy History

American Defense Reform: Lessons from Failure and Success in Navy History


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A roadmap for US military innovation based on the Navy’s history of success through civilian-military collaborations

The US military must continually adapt to evolving technologies, shifting adversaries, and a changing social environment for its personnel. In American Defense Reform, Dave Oliver and Anand Toprani use US naval history as a guide for leading successful change in the Pentagon.

American Defense Reform provides a historical analysis of the Navy during four key periods of disruptive transformation: the 1940s Revolt of the Admirals, the McNamara Revolution in systems analysis, the fallout from the Vietnam War, and the end of the Cold War. The authors draw insights from historical documents, previously unpublished interviews from four-star admirals, and Oliver’s own experiences as a senior naval officer and defense industry executive. They show that Congress alone cannot effectively create change and reveal barriers to applying the experience of the private sector to the public sector

Ultimately, Oliver and Toprani show that change can only come from a collaborative effort between civilians, the military, and industry, each making vital contributions. American Defense Reform provides insights and practical recommendations essential to reforming national defense to meet future demands.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781647122768
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
Publication date: 12/01/2022
Pages: 310
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Rear Adm. Dave R. Oliver, USN (Ret.) is a former chief of staff of the US Seventh Fleet and former COO of EADS North America Defense Company, Inc. He is the author of A Navy Admiral’s Bronze Rules: Managing Risk and Leadership.

Anand Toprani is an associate professor in the Department of Strategy & Policy at the US Naval War College. He is the author of Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914-1945.

Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsForeword by Adm. Bill Owens (US Navy, ret.)PrefaceNational Security Leaders from 1945 to 1993IntroductionPart I. What Happened? 1. The 1940s and the Revolt of the Admirals2. The 1960s and the McNamara Challenge3. The 1970s and Unfinished Business4. The 1980s and Preparing for Life after the Cold War Part II. What Is to Be Done, by Whom? 5. Political Appointees6. Congress7. Private Industry8. Achieving ChangeConclusions and Recommendations for the FutureAppendix A: Discussion with Adm. Arleigh Burke, USN (Ret.), Chief of Naval Operations, 1955–61Appendix B: Discussion with Adm. James Russell, USN (Ret.), Vice Chief of Naval Operations, June 1958–September 1961Appendix C: Discussion with Adm. George Anderson, USN (Ret.), Chief of Naval Operations, 1961–63Appendix D: Discussion with Adm. David McDonald, USN (Ret.), Chief of Naval Operations, 1963–67IndexAbout the Authors

What People are Saying About This

Hon. John J. Hamre

Books calling for reform in the Defense Department are now commonplace. But only Oliver and Toprani have pegged correctly the crucial dimension of reform. . .

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