My latest at the Diplomat compares American and Chinese efforts to escape the MIC (military-industrial complex):
Early last week, the Pentagon announced a new initiative designed to broaden the defense industrial pool by appealing to smaller, non-traditional firms. This is hardly the first time that DoD has launched such an initiative; over the past decade and a half, the Pentagon has repeatedly made efforts to shift procurement dollars to firms not normally associated with defense technology. The DoD keeps trying to do this because it wants to capture some of the dynamism of the civilian tech economy, reduce costs for key technologies, and introduce additional competition to defense procurement. Rhetorically, proposing to “give the little guy a leg up” appeals to Congress and the media.
So why does the Pentagon keep having to launch these initiatives? They often don’t work… What’s interesting about this latest appeal is that it appears to come alongside a similar appeal from the Chinese military.