Valuing Agility: A Demand-led approach to Capability Management

by Philip Boxer

This paper and presentation were given at a RUSI Defence Programme Management Conference 29th to 30th September. It concludes as follows:

Approaching Through-Life Capability Management from a demand-side perspective uncovers three tempos that drive enterprise success within dynamic demand environments. These tempos are themselves governed by the enterprise’s ability to respond to demands for agility, and its need for operational capability leading to the requirement for equipment and other DLoDs.

The tempos support the view that our thinking about Defence – and enterprises in general – has rightly moved from equipment to capability, and that a third perspective, that of agility, is beginning to emerge.

“Agility” is the word of the moment, but it lacks content. Here we have offered a definition, which is meeting the campaign tempo. We may summarise this as “doing right things right at the right time”. This brings the need for timeliness into the mix with the needs for efficiency and effectiveness.

However, the full range of agility may not be affordable, and some means of costing it is required. We have presented cohesion based costing as such an approach and drawn on rough orders of magnitude to illustrate our argument in the case of Tactical UAVs.

Further work is required, of course, but it would need the collaboration of those who know the activity-based and alignment costs to strengthen our grasp on Agility and its Value for Defence.

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