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Briefly describe the organization and strategy you have chosen as introduction and, using
pertinent concepts from DMI Phases III and IV, describe in detail how would you implement
the strategy, and provide sufficient means to assure that it is implemented successfully.
Disclaimer: The statements and opinions presented by the student do not represent the views
of any branch of the Brazilian Government or Ministry of Defense.
The organization chosen is the Brazilian Ministry of Defense (Ministério da Defesa –
MD) and is presented in this paper from the point of view of a Minister who was just sworn in.
The military have ruled Brazil for 21 years during the Cold War. This gave political
autonomy to each of the three Armed Forces (Forças Armadas – FFAA). The return to
democracy and the end of Cold War in the second half of 1980s led to discussions about
anachronism of this status quo. In the 1990s, the consolidation of democratic institutions,
globalization, and President Cardoso’s foreign policy based on regional integration and on the
bid for a permanent seat on United Nations Security Council reinforced the inconsistency of six
cabinet posts for military officers. The situation did not change as expected with the creation of
the Ministry of Defense in 2000. The Armed Forces kept a great deal of autonomy and were
adamant about being subordinated to a civilian authority than the President. The eventual
stakeholders seemed more interested in military filling the void left by the State in social work
and in law enforcement. There was no broad debate about MD mission and core competencies.
Media and public opinion paid more attention to socio-economic issues.
In summary, the MD was not fully put into practice. Our strategy is to organize and
consolidate a defense unified structure, and to influence external actors in order to reduce the
resources gap by showing them that we are complying with our missions in the best fashion and
that we need to adapt to an ever-changing world.
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The objectives of the changes to be implemented are:
• To provide a coordinated organizational structure which supports the mission, has at
same time distinct and flexible roles and possesses transparent lines of authority,
responsibility and accountability.
• To clear the provincial attitudes from different branches, military and civilian, and to
inspire a broader corporate view.
• To optimize the readiness of MD personnel by preparing them adequately and
maximizing their potential.
• To develop technologies which focus on capabilities and on integration.
Our organization needs to take advantage of the fact that a new leadership has just taken
office. Considering that little has changed since the MD creation, less resistance to new
initiatives is expected in the first days of term.
The MD will convene a Commission of Experts to help in updating the National Defense
Policy (Política de Defesa Nacional – PDN) and to recommend actions to make it enforceable.
The commission will be composed by academics, diplomats, political scientists, military officers
and media professionals. This temporary organization will be co-chaired by the Deputy Minister
(Secretário-Geral) and the Defense Chief of Staff (equivalent to Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff).
The commission members’ inputs will be consolidated in two documents: a PDN draft and the
“Modernization of the National Defense System” (Modernização do Sistema de Defesa Nacional
The directorates will have their responsibilities changed in such a way that MD can
supervise in a more proactive way resource requirements and allocation, personnel training, and
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research and development without undermining the Armed Forces Commanders authority. The
main change is granting direct access in both ways between the MD directorates and their
counterparts in the services. For that, the integration of communication/information networks
currently in use will be stimulated.
The importance of information technology will not make the organization underestimate
the human capital. Without the “peopleware” (including the senior leadership), the network-
centric initiatives will probably fail.
In MD case, it has been more complicated than in other institutions to recognize
alignment. First, it is difficult to evaluate processes and systems if the desired output is not well
defined. The proposed reorganization is intended to provide a better picture of what MD is
designed to produce and the flexibility needed to adapt to changes in the environment. Second, in
large organizations which are so based on hierarchy the vertical flow of information usually
takes a long time and the leadership might fail to notice need for change. This challenge will be
faced by integration and by changing culture to a corporate one.
Rearranging the structure will not be enough. The security environment is very
changeable even in South America. MD must be committed to continuous performance
evaluation and to change whatever considered necessary.
FRICTION AND RESISTANCE
Although the Commission of Experts is expected to recommend courses of action that
minimize friction and resistance, the most important sources need to be identified.
The Commission itself can delay changes because the concept is very new in MD
environment. The selection of the members and the definition of procedures probably will take
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some time. Other details are: logistics, communications and remoteness in regions like Amazon
Resistance from military establishment is highly anticipated because changes will mean
loss of political power and threat to stability. It will take the forms of obeying only the letter of
law, spotlighting failure and exaggerating costs/minimizing benefits. MD will address that by
proving that keeping power is useless if your organization is considered a failed one by the
stakeholders. Changing the paradigm is necessary: a coherent unified defense structure based on
capabilities and driven by results will have much more political bargaining chips than three
uncontrolled services following distinct platform-based Cold War era doctrines.
The use of a Commission of Experts is considered a management reconfiguration that
will assist MD in changing policy, structure, human and technologic resources management. It is
a good argument also to defend changes in our negotiation with the reluctant sectors. The
intention is to show that it is not a simply top-down management style; the recommendations
will have legitimacy because they come from the cross section of Brazilian society which is
involved in security affairs.
AGENTS OF CHANGE
During its mandate, the Commission of Experts will be supported by any means possible
and MD representatives, civilian and military, will be dismissed of the most of routine activities.
In a major change like the one is intended, personal accountability is necessary to
guarantee continuity and alignment. This will be pursued until the point that it does not represent
a breach of the constitutional principles of military hierarchy and discipline.
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The objectives of the implementation plan show that MD will need a variety of resources
(some new and others to be rearranged within the organization): human, material, technological
One of the main points of MD strategy is exactly to make the case to our potential
stakeholders that defense cannot be neglected in today’s world and, more than that, is very
important if our country really aspires to be a regional power. In relations among countries,
capability to use force still has a lot of leverage.
As it happens in similar large government non-profit organizations, there is not such
thing as a conclusive checklist that can tell if MD is succeeding or not. It seems that feedback,
control and measurement are strongly connected to the concepts of communication such as
transmission, reception, conversation, dialogue, noise and fidelity.
The modern theories of management indicate that organizations should be seen in a
holistic way. MD will follow this trend because it seems less vulnerable to a reality check once it
already considers full fidelity feedback, total control and perfect measurement very unlikely to
be obtained. The expected result is more about parameters for judgment: the leaders will be able
to check if progress was made and if they need to adapt to changes.
One of the reasons for convening a Commission of Experts is to understand how the
policy and the following necessary changes are going to be perceived by the different actors,
internal and external. As mentioned before, MD faces an internal resistance from military sector
and lack of interest from external stakeholders. It is important not only consider this during the
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decision making process but also when the intended strategy is disseminated. After that,
leadership must understand the importance of “duplex” (two-way) communication. It cannot just
sit and wait for the response. Dialogue is vital to understand the context of subordinates and
stakeholders, which is good for belief, boundary and interactive controls, for gathering
performance trend data measurement and for improving leaders’ judgments (“filtering the
MD will not base its control system only on formal diagnostic devices. They are good in
telling what to achieve but they restrict creativity. To avoid that, the exchange of ideas and
opinions between different management levels must be improved. Still working on
communication, the organization will pursue a climate that influences its members to do their
best and will reverse the current opposing cultural trend. The traditional belief system of the
military can be very helpful in making mission and core values known, in involving all members
in organization’s challenges and complementing boundary system.
Figures or benchmarks are not enough to represent progress of an organization like MD.
We do not produce a palpable good or work for profit. Like in quantum physics’ Principle of
Uncertainty, one cannot measure all the properties with maximum accuracy. The measurement
itself interferes with the environment observed. We will avoid the dysfunctional effects of that
by analyzing trend data, using boundary control system and balancing output measures like
alternative medicine doctors usually do: “interviewing the patient” and considering his/her
history and characteristics when studying exam results.
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In case leadership manages to implement strategy and to guarantee the alignment of
feedback and control systems, it will be easier to detect when the performance is affected by the
changing reality. Then, the organization must be ready to realign resources (human, material,
financial and technological) by self-assessing, redefining strategy and implementing it.
The more time the Ministry of Defense procrastinates to put its structure into full
operation, the more it loses contact with changing environment. As a new leadership, we have a
great opportunity. The Commission of Experts inputs will give us legitimacy to invigorate our
organization, to surmount resistance and to pursue the alignment with our mission and values.
MD structure will be based in capabilities and will take maximum advantage of human capital
Succeeding in strategy implementation will mean only waste of time and resources if we
are not able to maintain the proper systems of feedback and control. We will take into
consideration also what is non-measurable. We will not neglect climate, culture and human
By not missing this opportunity for change, we hope to have Ministry of Defense ready to
accomplish its mission, review progress, learn from experience and start the decision making
cycle again with refined strategies.