This issue marks the first anniversary of the newly titled Defense Acquisition Research Journal. As I explained in these pages a year ago, this journal support’s DAU’s role in providing “thought leadership that helps improve acquisition outcomes”.
Authors: Rene G. Rendon, Uday M. Apte, and Aruna Apte
This article presents the results of empirical studies of current practices in services acquisition in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The authors studied the management practices in areas such as contract characteristics, acquisition management methods, use of the project management approach, acquisition leadership, and ownership of requirements. They also studied areas such as the ability of personnel responsible for acquisition, adequacy of acquisition billets and their fill rates, and training provided to services acquisition personnel. The data confirmed that the Navy uses a regional contracting approach, while the Army and the Air Force use an installation-level approach. These differences have important implications for other acquisition management practices, such as the use of project management and contractor surveillance.
Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition programs are becoming more joint, and joint acquisition programs are critical to mission success. In the current DoD acquisition and requirements structure, joint programs are usually assigned to one of the Component Acquisition Executives (CAEs). This causes or exacerbates some of the shortfalls of the existing joint acquisition process. This article investigates the benefits and difficulties of one specific organizational change: creating a Joint Acquisition Executive (JAE), managing joint programs only and reporting to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, as a peer to current CAEs.
Authors: Barry “Jay” Borst, Shahram Sarkani, and Thomas Mazzuchi
Space contributes to the security and economic stability of the United States. However, numerous studies, articles, and surveys state export control is hurting the space industrial base. The nation’s ability to acquire space systems, according to many published sources, is diminishing and may impact its leadership in the field of space. Many claim excessive export controls as one of the primary causes and often cite statistics, data, and information contained within a 2007 Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) survey to validate their claim. While the AFRL survey certainly provides insight and should not be entirely discounted, the application of System Dynamics Modeling suggests the survey’s findings on export control are outdated.
Authors: Col Peter K. Eide, USAF, and COL Charles D. Allen, USA (Ret.)
For over 60 years, the Department of Defense has attempted to fix its weapon systems procurement without success. While notable exceptions emerged during the Global War on Terrorism (i.e., rapid development/fielding of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles and Improvised Explosive Device defeat systems), “Acquisition Reform” efforts have not consistently yielded a process/system that delivers products faster, better, or cheaper. In 2009, President Obama took the initiative to give reforms another try. Through an analysis that applies John P. Kotter’s model of organizational change and Edgar H. Schein’s approach to organizational culture and leadership, the conclusion suggests that current initiatives will not be successful. Behavioral change is needed to embed transformation. Acquisition reforms can be coerced, but will not endure as true transformation unless cultural change occurs.