When something becomes an “enterprise” or a “portfolio” rather than a weapon system or a means to kill the enemy, military professionals should be concerned. And yet over the past several decades, it appears that the uniformed leadership itself has often actively sought out business practices and philosophies for guidance.
Beginning in the 1960s with Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, our military has been subjected to processes aimed at increasing efficiency. This coincides with an effort to reduce the conduct of war to a predictable, systems-analysis approach, similar to that of the industrial assembly line.
Admittedly, business-based methodology has its place. Military acquisition offers plenty of room for improvement; logistics and supply officers must manage limited resources to rapidly achieve maximum military effect. However, a strict corporate paradigm jeopardizes the martial mindset. Language can shape and define organizational culture, and business terminology has now permeated the profession of arms—diluting the teleological foundation of our military.