Tag Archives: November 2012

Flag Officer Announcement

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, PRESS OPERATIONS (SEPT. 17, 2015)

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced today that the president has made the following nomination: Navy Rear Adm. David C. Johnson, nominated for appointment to the rank of vice admiral and for assignment as principal military deputy assistant secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition), Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia. Johnson is currently serving as program executive officer for Submarines, Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia.

The Challenges We Face—And How We Will Meet Them


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Author: Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics

kendall-200“Supporting the warfighter, protecting the taxpayer”—these words were suggested by my military assistant for a small sign outside the door to my office in the Pentagon. They succinctly express the challenges those of us who work in defense acquisition, technology, and logistics face in the austere times we have entered. We will have to provide the services and products our warfighters need and protect the taxpayers’ interest by obtaining as much value as we possibly can for every dollar entrusted to us. This is nothing new; we have always tried to do this. Going forward, however, we will have to accomplish this goal without reliance on large overseas contingency funding and in the face of continued pressure on defense budgets brought about not by a change in the national security environment, which is increasingly challenging particularly with the emergence of more technologically and operationally sophisticated potential opponents, but by the policy imperative to reduce the annual budget deficit. Hopefully, the specter of more than $50 billion in sequestration cuts next year will be avoided, but, even if it is, we can expect the pressure on defense budgets to increase. Last winter, the department published new strategic guidance as well as a budget designed to implement that strategy. Like all budgets, this one did not make any allowance for overruns, schedule slips, or increases in costs for services beyond the standard indices assumed by the Office of Management and Budget, indices that often are exceeded. We have our work cut out for us today and for as far into the future as we can see.

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CBRN Survivability Is Your Program Ready?


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Authors: Jorge Hernandez, Mike Kotzian, and Duane Mallicoat

The insidious threat posed by chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons has significantly changed how U.S., allied, and coalition forces must now prepare for joint operations. CBRN survivability has become a game-changer in a way that no other threat has. To formalize the growing importance of this capability, the DoD modified an existing policy (DoD Instruction 5000.02, Operation of the Defense Acquisition System) and developed a new policy (DoD Instruction 3150.09, The CBRN Survivability Policy) to better ensure that program offices address CBRN defense requirements as early as possible in a weapon system’s acquisition life cycle. These policies provide top-level guidance for weapon systems that are expected to survive and execute missions in a CBRN environment.

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Should-Cost Management Tactics


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Authors: Mark Husband and John Mueller

Since the 2010 release of the Better Buying Power (BBP) memo from Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Ph.D., (at the time the under secretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics [USD(AT&L)]), the concept of should-cost management has been passionately discussed and debated by the acquisition workforce. Frequently asked questions include:

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Why Is This Acquisition Strategy Stuff So Important?


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Authors: Brian Schultz, David Dotson, Tom Ruthenberg

Development and implementation of the program acquisition strategy is clearly one of the most important tasks for a DoD program manager (PM) and the program office integrated product team (IPT). The recent Defense AT&L article, “The Acquisition Strategy” (May–June 2012) shared insights on teamwork, critical thinking, and pitfalls to avoid in developing the strategy. In this article, we will address some best practices, look at the state of affairs concerning acquisition strategies, and offer thoughts on initiatives that either could help or are helping PMs produce better results.

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Marching an Army Acquisition Program Toward Success


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Authors: Col. David W. Grauel, USA, Col. Vincent F. Malone, USA, Col. William R. Wygal, USA

Negative headlines are rarely balanced with news of successful Army acquisition programs. The Army has hundreds of acquisition programs, many of which are successful. As students at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF), we conducted a research project to assess successful Army acquisition programs in order to identify characteristics that led to their success. Our findings can be adopted by other program teams, within the current acquisition construct, to improve their likelihood of success.

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Successfully Taming Complex Weapons Systems Software


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Author: Micheal Albert Morgan

Software seems to be one factor that has driven space, aircraft, and other weapons systems to cost overruns and schedule slips—that nebulous “something” we know exists but cannot visualize or get a handle on. Yet it can be tamed, as wild beasts like lions and tigers are tamed by talented animal trainers. I had the privilege of running one medium-sized software system development that was unique in its success. The high fidelity systems simulator (HFSS) is the only project on a contract to endure three Nunn-McCurdy congressional investigations that finished within budget and on schedule.

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Nine Steps to a Better Statement of Work


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Authors: Joe Moschler and Jim Weitzner

Many people are familiar with Gary Larson’s comic strip, “The Far Side.” One of his well-known cartoons depicts a castle with a moat under construction inside the castle walls. The caption reads, “Suddenly, a heated exchange took place between the king and the moat contractor.” Although humorous, this cartoon shows the predicament acquisition managers find themselves in when requirements are poorly communicated to the contractor.

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A New Set of Forces


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Author: David E. Frick, Ph.D.

Michael E. Porter’s Five Forces model offers a visual depiction of the five forces that determine the competitive intensity and therefore attractiveness of a market. The elements of his model for this discussion are not relevant, but the underlying principle of the model is—forces can be self-correcting. Any imbalance in one element tends to motivate businesses to take some action to take advantage of the imbalance—e.g., entering or leaving the market or raising or lowering prices. The result is that eventually, the industry will approach a state of equilibrium (pure competition) where profits are minimal. A more simplistic example of self-correcting forces is the venerable law of supply and demand. Changes in the aggregate supply or demand of a product tend to affect the price demanded or the amount of the product offered for sale. The ultimate example of self-correcting forces is the free market itself.

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Rethinking “Acquisition Experience” for Program Manager Certification


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Author: Jan Kinner

You have been tasked to assign someone as the program manager (PM) of a weapon system major defense acquisition program (MDAP) that is transitioning from the Technology Development (TD) Phase to the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase. All the candidates meet all the statutory and regulatory requirements to be assigned as a PM of an MDAP. Each has an impeccable record and is recognized as an accomplished acquisition professional. Each has one or more graduate degrees, has graduated from the Defense Acquisition University’s Program Manager’s Course, is a member of the Acquisition Corps, and has held an acquisition Key Leadership Position (KLP). They only differ in the amount of acquisition experience they have. Based on this information, which candidate would you choose for this important job?

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