Continuous Quality Improvement in the U S A Military

The paper details the efforts of both the Marine Corps and the Air Force to implement systems controls aimed at improving our capability to respond to a rapidly changing external environment. Examples include linking statistical controls to performance assessment, the standardization of procedures in support of the combat mission, a renewed emphasis on training in the concepts of knowledge management, and establishing quantitative metrics that are benchmarked across all four of the major combat departments.The ability to respond quickly in a combat-ready manner to multiple threats around the world is what the new quality initiatives are designed to achieve. The “old culture” of war is no longer in the national security interests of the United States. Next-generation quality models such as CPI/LSS are the way of the future if the United States military is to remain the best quality force in the world.The United States military has long been known for its innovative and pioneering work in several areas. Many of the best business practices that are taken for granted by today’s business managers had their origins in our military organizations. The United States Armed Forces is built upon a tradition of quality in the forces that it trains for combat and in the weapons systems that it deploys in protecting our national security interests around the globe. This paper argues that the Continuous Process Improvement/Lean Six Sigma (CPI/LSS) policy implemented by the Department of Defense (DoD) in 2006, was critical in reorienting the United States military in addressing a new type of war—the global war on terrorism. The reality is that the military was ill-prepared to deal with this new threat because its systems were designed to fight conventional wars and were not adaptable to the rapidly changing environment of global terrorism.