Tag Archives: January 2017

Adventures in Defense Acquisition


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By Frank Kendall

frank-kendall-headshotFor what is likely to be my last communication to the acquisition workforce as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD[AT&L]), I thought I would share with you a few stories, all true, from my 45 or so years working in various aspects of defense acquisition, either in uniform, as a civil servant, in industry, or as an appointee. I’ve put them more or less in chronological order, starting with an experience I had while serving in Europe during the height of the Cold War. There has certainly been a lot of water under the bridge since then, and a lot has changed, but the things I’ve learned along the way are in many cases timeless. Continue reading

Bridging the “Valley of Death”


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By Anthony Davis & Tom Ballenger

Davis is the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) director of agile acquisition. He previously was the USSOCOM program executive officer for command, control, communications, and computer (C4) systems and director of science and technology. Ballenger is an aviation systems analyst with JHNA, Inc. A retired U.S. Army officer, he provides contract science and technology support to USSOCOM.   Continue reading

EVM System’s High Cost


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By Ivan Bembers, Ed Knox, Michelle Jones, and Jeff Traczyk

The first in a series of articles

It seems like every year the writing of budgets sparks proposals to eliminate the Earned Value Management System (EVMS) requirements on federal acquisitions as a way to save millions of dollars. People suggest the government can do away with EVMS in favor of more efficient and affordable management techniques. But is there a basis for these assertions? For more than 50 years, the Department of Defense (DoD) has recognized the power of both EVMS and the Cost/Schedule Control Systems Criteria (C/SCSC), the forerunner to EVMS, and has kept EVMS requirements in place to promote sound planning and effective program execution. Continue reading

A Practical PM Guide to Requests for Equitable Adjustment


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By Lt Col Scott Klempner, USAF

My first experience with a request for equitable adjustment (REA) was brief and decisive. The O-6 program director didn’t literally drop it in the trash bin, but he clearly wanted to. His message to the development contractor was to not expect any action by the government, despite the contractor fastidiously mentioning it month after month on a chart listing unresolved contracts business. The REA resulted from a technical disagreement between the contractor and the government regarding how much in-scope testing was required to properly resolve a spacecraft test fault. Continue reading

Getting the Capabilities Right


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By Alexander R. Slate & Maj Charles O’Connor, USAF

Time after time, we try to develop what we think is the next evolutionary leap forward in systems and end up with a product that is a rather slight improvement and not the game changer we expected. Even more alarming, we sometimes lose sight of the real need in chasing the item itself. The examples provided are chemical and biological protection systems, but the concept is applicable across defense acquisition. Sometimes we need to step back and take a second or third look at program assumptions and figure out whether we think what we are doing makes sense in a context larger than the program itself. Continue reading

The Seven Lethal Acquisition Diseases


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By Brian Schultz

It’s no secret that Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition professionals work in a very challenging, high-pressure environment. The acquisition process involves an integrated product team of diverse functional experts who must employ critical thinking skills, collaborative problem-solving and robust communications to be effective. This dynamic means that the acquisition team’s behaviors often can be critical factors in a program’s outcome.
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Requirements Management


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By Thomas H. Miller

Acquisition reform continues to receive a great deal of attention from both the Senate and House Armed Service Committees. Reform initiatives to date tend to focus exclusively on the “little a” puzzle piece of the defense acquisition process—i.e., the Defense Acquisition System (DAS). Continue reading

OSD Logistics Fellowship—A View From Above


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By Bryan L. Jerkatis

A friend and retired U.S. Air Force Command Chief would often use an analogy with young troops regarding the differences in their world views versus those of their leadership. “Your view of the ground (truth) depends upon the height of the branch in the tree upon which you are standing … ,” he would explain. Continue reading

Auditing Organizational Security


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By Eugene A. Razzetti

Managing organizational security is no different from managing any other of the command’s missions. Establish your policies, goals and risk parameters; implement, train, measure and benchmark them. And then audit, audit, audit. Continue reading