Army Reserve refocuses on updated threat picture

Army Reserve refocuses on updated threat picture

By Michael Bold FORT BELVOIR, Va.—The U.S. Army Reserve is pivoting from 15 years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq to prepare for new threats around the world, said Maj. Gen. Michael Smith, deputy chief of the Army Reserve. In a wide-ranging interview, Smith also said: The Army Reserve and the National Guard provide about 70 percent of the Army’s logistical capability, allowing the active-duty Army to focus on brigade combat teams, combat aviation and other large, intensive programs. The Army Reserve is shifting its focus to preparing for its role in potential threats from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. The Army Reserve is working with the active duty […]

Groundhog Day All Over Again

Groundhog Day All Over Again

Acquisition ‘reform’ is on the table again, as it has been at least once in each decade since the end of World War II, such that it seems like ‘Groundhog Day’ without Bill Murray, with the same proposals coming up again and again. But this time there’s reason to believe that the current reforms aren’t merely reactive but deliberate and forward-looking—and, just maybe, effective. by Mr. Steve Stark, Ms. Margaret C. Roth and Mr. Michael Bold The United States’ dissatisfaction with its defense acquisition system and its concomitant desire to “reform” it is as old as the country itself. Given the number of blue-ribbon committees and the countless studies performed […]

Seizing the Advantage

Seizing the Advantage

Building on lessons from OIF and OEF and taking a page from an Air Force playbook, the Army is creating a Rapid Capabilities Office to address new threats. by Mr. Douglas K. Wiltsie and Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt They came in a trickle, and then in a flood: operational needs statements from troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking for new equipment to adapt to the changing fight. The Army stepped up to the plate, delivering a slew of quick reaction capabilities that improved lethality and survivability. From the Joint Network Node – ­Network and the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle to a multitude of systems for […]

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 […]