GROUND TRUTH

GROUND TRUTH

Piggybacks and workarounds: The Acquisition Lessons Learned Portal contains a wealth of information on new ways to use existing processes to get weapons to warfighters in less time. by Ms. Amanda Nappi The acquisition process can be a long and laborious journey for acquisition personnel and stakeholders involved in the development of a weapon system. With a plethora of required documentation, milestone requirements and validations needed from oversight councils, bureaucracy is slowing our ability to rapidly provide the warfighter with innovative weapon solutions. In addition to slowing our support to the warfighter, the lengthy process is costly to taxpayers and could cause our country to be overtaken by a more […]

Making Acquisition Rapid: A Practitioner’s View

Making  Acquisition Rapid: A Practitioner’s View

Acquisition is a slow process by nature; always has been, always will be. Or is it? Could the remedy be as simple as getting out of our own way? In Walt Kelly’s words: ‘We have met the enemy and he is us.’ by Lt. Col. Joel D. Babbitt In the world of acquisition and project management, cost, schedule and performance are king. Actually delivering a product that meets the needs—performance—in the agreed-upon timeframe—schedule—and with the resources you’ve been given—cost—is harder than it sounds and is doubly so within DOD. The challenges are formidable: A requirements process that takes two to four years. A money forecasting process that takes two to […]

Then and Now – Carlucci Initatives

Then and Now – Carlucci Initatives

From the Carlucci initiatives of the 1980s to BBP 3.0 today, reform is a central theme of acquisition by Michael Bold Thirty-five years ago, defense acquisition reform dominated the cover of the July-August 1981 issue of Army Research, Development & Acquisition magazine, a predecessor of Army AL&T. “Decisions Made on 31 Recommendations to Reduce Costs … DOD to Improve Management Principles, Acquisition Process.” The cover featured the first page of an April 30, 1981, memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci, and the article stated that Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger had made decisions on “31 recommendations and issues to reduce costs and improve the acquisition process throughout […]

What’s Your Problem?

What’s Your Problem?

Providing strong, clear direction in the face of ambiguity is vital to an acquisition program’s success. by Col. Luke Cropsey and Mr. Peter Burke There is an old adage about what the command “to secure the building” means to each military service. It goes like this: The Navy would turn out the lights and lock the doors. The Army would surround the building with defensive fortifications, tanks and concertina wire. The Marine Corps would assault the building, using overlapping fields of fire from all appropriate points on the perimeter. The Air Force would take out a three-year lease with an option to buy the building. Although this adage is, of […]

Acquisition Reform Baked-In

Acquisition Reform Baked-In

Army PNT program uses open systems architecture, competitive prototyping to spur continuous innovation. by Mr. Kevin Coggins While acquisition reformers debate changes intended to put programs on the path to success earlier in their life cycle, one critical Army program is already living that goal. That would be the program management office for Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PM PNT), which reports directly to the Army acquisition executive. PM PNT is charged with delivering next-generation positioning and timing technologies and has embraced key elements of acquisition reform and Better Buying Power (BBP) 3.0. In partnership with industry and government organizations, the PNT program office is using open systems architecture and competitive […]

Developing Afghan Force Managers

Developing Afghan Force Managers

CSTC-A’s Capabilities Development Directorate helps Afghan officers learn how to build, employ and resource units. by Col. Garrett D. Heath and Lt. Stephen E. Webber On Camp Resolute Support in Kabul, Afghanistan, officers from the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) gathered from April to June to hash out the fundamentals of what, until recently, was a foreign concept to most if not all of them: force management. Through open-ended brainstorming exercises in which there were no wrong answers, just learning opportunities, the students created hypothetical units, such as a new Kandak (an ANA battalion). In the process, they addressed the unit’s structure, manning, equipping, training and […]

Yoga for Data

Yoga for Data

The path to enlightenment is not a straightforward one, for people or for data. That’s why flexibility is key when reaching for answers, and why it’s necessary to stretch data so that it can lead to more, better knowledge. by Mr. Thom Hawkins and Mr. Matt Choinski As acquisition professionals, with the hindsight of five, 10 or 20 years’ experience, we can move from blindly populating templates to an intuitive understanding of the connections between schedules and risk management, between our strategic plan and our daily operations. But even with experience, none of us has reached the pinnacle of perfect execution. There’s always more to learn, and the worst thing […]

Been There, Done That: Acquisition Reform

Been There, Done That: Acquisition Reform

With all due respect, you don’t know jack: A former program manager offers his idea for effective acquisition reform – giving MDA to PEOs by Dr. Robert F. Mortlock, Col., USA (Ret.) Attention, senior defense officials, senior service officers and congressional leaders: With all due respect, in most cases you are not the most qualified to make defense acquisition decisions. There are simply too many competing priorities and, frankly, you probably don’t know jack about most program specifics. The root causes of the program failures within DOD are not hard to identify: changing requirements or “requirements creep;” military-unique, stringent ruggedization requirements; unstable budgets and limited resources; immature technology and integration […]

Let the ‘Total Force’ be with you

Let the ‘Total Force’ be with you

By Ashley Tolbert NORMAN, Okla. – Soldiers from the U.S. Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve gathered on July 21-23 for the Reserve Component Acquisition Training Summit, spending time in workshops and presentations from senior leadership from the Army, Army Reserve and National Guard that stressed the importance of integrating the reserve component and the active component and reinforcing the Total Force Policy within the Army Acquisition Workforce. The Total Force Policy—an ongoing effort to integrate active-duty Soldiers, the Army Reserve and the National Guard into one operational force governed by the same policies and procedures—was originally introduced in 1973 and was most recently revamped in 2012 by […]

Calibrating collaboration with industry

Calibrating collaboration with industry

Tasked with delivering ammunition for weapons ranging from handguns to tanks, PM MAS customizes strategies and partnerships with the private sector to develop the best solutions for the warfighter. by Col. Moises M. Gutierrez, Lt. Col. John Todd Masternak, Mr. Christopher R. Seacord and Lt. Col. Kyle A. McFarland From the handgun ammo supplier who straddles the commercial demand-driven market to the unique, military-only tank ammunition supplier who must rely on foreign military sales to retain market competitiveness, each segment of the DOD direct fire ammunition portfolio demands different, multiprong, process-driven strategies to gain the best value and profit while maintaining product overmatch. The project manager for maneuver ammunition systems […]