AIRC Perspectives

Managing Portfolios in an Environment of Dynamic Requirements and Uncertainty

April 2022

AUTHORS: William B. Rouse1, Dinesh Verma2, Thomas A. McDermott, Jr.2, and Philip S. Antón2
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY 1, STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY 2

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) must acquire capabilities to address ever more rapidly evolving threats and technologies. Such a situation is not new to the commercial sector, which constantly faces and creates changing and uncertain markets. This paper outlines basic strategic principles and perspectives that have helped major corporations think through strategic uncertainties, change, requirements, and development options. This framework can shed light on the issues and tradeoffs behind strategic DoD concerns—including portfolio requirements and tradeoffs, affordability, upgrade versus replace, optimize, and invention/innovation transition(“Valley of Death”)—driving decision-makers to ask fundamental questions about strategic thrusts and efforts, and lay out and select from options that can lead to better operational outcomes.

Figure 1. Strategic Decision-Making Framework (Pennock & Rouse, 2016)