by Timothy Came and Colin Campbell

Drawing upon interviews with 69 defense policymakers and close observers, this Governance article develops an extrapolation-oriented case study of Donald Rumsfeld's campaign to transform the development of the U.S. Defense Department's future capabilities. This reform effort, launched by President George W. Bush during his first presidential campaign, encountered difficulties in developing and promoting the content of the proposed transformation and in executing it. Following Eugene Bardach's work on institutional craftsmanship and Michael Barzelay's efforts to further develop Bardach's methodology for extrapolation-oriented case studies, the article explores the sources of the transformation campaign's difficulties, identifying several mechanisms linking common process context factors, exacerbated by process design features, to these negative outcomes. It also offers suggestions for rendering the design of change campaigns more robust to these vulnerabilities.