If properly used an Enterprise Architecture process and repository in the form of the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) can reduce or minimize the conflicts among laws, regulations, policies, and standards over a 2 to 10 years period--depending on the size of the organization. This does not mean that there will be no benefits for 2 to 10 years, in fact management may notice some within 3 to 6 months. What it does means is that the complete transformation and acceptance of the the Enterprise Architecture process to help with investment and policy decision-making will take that long to be fully accepted by and inculcated into the organization. Unfortunately, without a champion at the top of the leadership, working with a top-notch transformational enterprise architect, it will never happen...due to the many reasons, excuses, and loss of influence by various levels of management and their constituents.
Sometimes the managers' private agendas are caused by conflicts in or obsolesence of regulations and rules preventing the managers from achieving their mission. A good Governenace and Policy Management process coupled with a good Enterprise Architecture process will greatly reduce this cause for private agenda's.
Other times, the sub-organizations of an organization will decide that the organization does not understand their requirements for a particular function and therefore, they feel the need to create their own. Or, it may simply be that they do not trust the organization designated to perform the function to perform it in the manner they would prefer, and therefore, it needed its own. A more malicious version of this, is managerial empire building, where the manager wants to enhance his or her own status by controlling all of the functions required to perform a given process, and additionally, takes a very wide interpretation the his or her mission or charter, and strategies, policies, procedures, and tooling.
In all of these instances the manager has a case of the NIH syndrome; which causes much waste of the organization's resources. Enterprise Architecture can ameliorate the cause by mapping all strategies and processes to the organization's mission as recommended by the FEAF, providing measurable line-of-sight from the mission to the processes and tools. For example, one in US Federal department, one organization had been charter to perform the reservation function for the entire department. As of 2007, team of Enterprise Architects had found at least 50 sub-organizations with independent reservation functions. Simply, by consolidating many of these functions into a single system, the department was able to save 10s of millions of dollars per year in development and operating costs.
While Congress's objective was noble, the unintended consequences causing negative externalities have been very expensive to both the government and the long-term ability of the United States to compete in the global economy.
Layers of management, problems of coordination, and private agendas among the "teaming" partners--each vying for a larger piece of the project, even after it's been awarded. When these "disadvantaged" firms fail to perform, there is a major risk of a cascade affect, that without quick transference or mitigation cause the program to fail. But, process of transferring is tangled in contractual and inter-organizational political problems that slow the process to a creep or stall it altogether.
The "PC" regulations together with their affects creates dysfunctional Virtual Extended Enterprises (VEE). Note that VEE's are business versions of SOA's Composite Applications, in that they are composed of many small, but highly skilled and knowledgeable organizations. Through the life cycle of a product these component organizations can be introduced into and let go from the VEE in a manner similar to that of Service Component replacement for purposes of technology insertion. The "PC" regulations militate against these changes, creating a high risk of failure for programs trying to produce unprecedented complex systems. This adds greatly to waste of Federal resources.
Enterprise Architecture can provide a method for sorting out the best and brightest organizations from both "advantaged" and "disadvantaged" but incompetent organizations, if the enterprise architecture processes and repository are properly organized and the processes are correctly executed.
Longer term, this waste of resources from all of these causes will cause the US to both lose its competitive edge militarily and economically. Again, over time, the proper use of the enterprise architecture processes and repository will enable a competitive advantage.
Also see the post entitled "Thoughts on Solving the Federal Debt Issue", and "Rebuilding Jobs in the United States".