The Commonwealth Institute is an independent, nongovernmental public policy research center located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. The Institute is an operating program of the Commonwealth Foundation, an unendowed nonprofit corporation registered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, USA.
The lead project at the Commonwealth Institute is Project on Defense Alternatives (PDA). PDA was founded in 1991 to develop an independent critical perspective on U.S. defense policy with a special focus on strategy and the structure of the armed forces.
What I like about PDA is that closely analyze and follow trends in US Defense spending and they come up with alternatives that can save money in the budget, increase efficiency of utilizing resources, or even avoid unnecessary deployment of troops. I would love to work for such think tank because not only it can make military more efficient, but also question the necessity of starting new operations. Although PDA emphasizes the reformulation of US defense policy, PDA has also contributed to the defensive restructuring of NATO armed forces in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the developing.
One of the PDA reports I read was talking about the increased spending of the USAF and potential mismatch between the utilization of resources and provided service. The reports shows that the changes in budget and force levels since 1990 have been greater for the Army-Air Force team than for the Navy-Marine Corps, and the Army-Air Force team has carried most of the responsibility for those deployments that have drawn congressional attention.
After identifying the problem, PDA described the methods they used to evaluate the resources utilization, specifically the “readiness” of the USAF. For example, they approached readiness problems by treating a service as if it were analytically a “black box” into which resources flow and out of which comes operational activity. In this view, readiness indicators are like external gauges on the box. A decline in these indicators simply expresses a mismatch between the flow of resources and activity. Problems can be resolved directly by either increasing resources, reducing activity, or both. Picture below compare the decline in the overall readiness and Air Combat Command readiness.
Using these kind of methods, PDA managed to raise public awareness of inefficient use of resources in USAF. PDA proposed that some combination of the personnel management reforms and the increased production of new pilots already in the works should allow the Air Force to increase efficiency without extraordinary new investments that were being planed in white house. The level of readiness was raised in the year of 2000 simply by employing active-duty reserve officers that helped balance inventories and requirements planned for United States Air Force.