COL Rafael (Ralph) Lopez headshot

COL Rafael (Ralph) Lopez


Innovating in War: Risk, Organizational Cost, and Successful Adoption


Phil Potter (Chair); Jeffrey Legro; John Owen; Allan Stam

Current Placement

Chief, Future Operations

U.S. Army Futures and Concepts Center, Fort Eustis, VA

Placement Year



My research centers on how military organizations attempt to moderate organizational resistance while implementing innovation in war.  Through the use of a lead agent, or specially designated suborganization that guides the implementation effort, parent militaries are sometimes able to overcome both cultural and bureaucratic resistance to usher in new capabilities.  In my dissertation, I find support for the lead agent’s ability to influence outcomes based on its success at creating evidence and reducing organizational cost. It also provides new insights on the use of experimentation and doctrine as tools for implementing military capabilities and the identification of desirable organizational features for an optimally configured lead agent.  The study concludes by providing policy implications for the latest and perhaps one of the grandest Army transformations of the last century, the ongoing implementation of the Army’s new warfighting concept by its latest lead agent, the U.S. Army Futures Command. My other research interests include the effects of innovation on war outcomes, and the revival of just war theory.

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