Tag Archives: September 2013

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Defense AT&L: September – October 2013


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The Trouble with TRLs (With Thanks to Gene Roddenberry and David Gerrold)


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

Frank Kendall

For a long time now, the Defense Department has been using Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) as a tool to assess the risk of including a new or advanced technology in one of our products. There is nothing wrong with TRLs except that they are only one input for a risk assessment and provide at best a crude indicator of the risk of using a technology in a product.

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Dispelling the Myths of DoD’s Affordability Policy

Author: Chad J.R. Ohlandt, Ph.D.

The term “affordability” has taken on a particular meaning in the context of DoD’s recent policy and process changes. Efforts to better define and enforce affordability began recently with the first Better Buying Power (BBP) memo in 2010 and have continued with BBP 2.0, revisions to DODI 5000.02, and updates to the Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG). While many techniques have the potential to better estimate costs, to drive costs down, and to make products and services more affordable, they are often confused with affordability policy. Affordability policy is about establishing the dollar amount the Component is willing to spend on the desired capability in the context of all other fiscal demands over the long term. This is a Component-wide leadership responsibility requiring inputs from multiple communities.

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Focusing on Professionalism


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Authors: René Thomas-Rizzo and Jill DeMella

A priority objective for the Department of Defense (DoD) is to shape a high-quality, high-performing, and agile Defense Acquisition Workforce to deliver technologically superior warfighting systems to our men and women in uniform in support of America’s national security.

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Building a Culture of Efficiency in Blue Force Tracking Technology


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Authors: COL Michael Thurston, USA, LTC Bryan “BJ” Stephens, USA, LTC Mark R. Daniels, USA, and James Steinberger

On the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below/Blue Force Tracking (FBCB2/BFT) fundamentally changed American warfare by digitizing situational awareness to reduce the uncertainty known as the “fog of war.”

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Navy Raises the Bar


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Author: CAPT Mark Vandroff, USN and Robert Kimble

In May 2010, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus set out the five governing principles of Navy and Marine Corps acquisitions:

First, we have to clearly identify the requirements. Second, we have to raise the bar on performance. Third, we have to rebuild the acquisition workforce. Fourth, we have to support the industrial base. And finally, we have to make every single dollar count.

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Building a Culture of Cost Consciousness


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Author: CAPT Cate Mueller, USN

With a constant drumbeat about the constrained budget environment’s effects on defense procurement, the acquisition workforce (AWF) is focusing on how to achieve greater efficiency and productivity in defense spending.

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DoD Open Systems Architecture Contract Guidebook for Program Managers A Tool for Effective Competition


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Authors: Nickolas Guertin and Thomas Hurt

The Department of Defense (DoD) has reached a critical juncture, when, despite shrinking defense budgets, the demand for superior war­fighting capability has never been greater. New methods must be used to get more affordable acquisition results while developing systems that can change quickly to meet new warfighter capability demands. This is the driving message behind Better Buying Power (BBP) 2.0 and the reason Open Systems Architecture (OSA) is featured so prominently in the pillar for Promoting Effective Competition.

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Shift Left! Test Earlier in the Life Cycle


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Author: Steven J. Hutchison, Ph.D.

To achieve the outcomes of Better Buying Power (BBP) and deploy improved capability to our warfighters in an effective and timely manner, we have to get the development right and verify it through rigorous developmental test and evaluation (DT&E) before we commit to production. In other words, we have to Shift Left!

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Fiscal Challenges Within Defense Acquisitions A Marine Corps Project Officer’s View


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Author: Maj. Romeo Paolo Cubas, USMC

Decades of inefficiencies have plagued the Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition system because its organizations continue to suffer from fiscal irresponsibility. Regardless of the intensity of congressional oversight or the number of DoD policies and regulations, the cycle of programmatic mismanagement continues while the taxpayer and warfighter feel the pain.

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