DoD CORRECTIVE MEASURES HAVE FOCUSED ON MANAGEMENT
Corrective measures by the Department of Defense have
focused on establishing a series of management checkpoints and review
activities. This becomes apparent when the acquisition process is reviewed,
beginning with the management perspective in DoD Directive 5000.1 (reference (a)) and DoD Instruction 5000.2 (reference (b)); descriptions of the Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council (DSARC) and related procedures; and the wealth of material that is available on the planning, programming, and budgeting system (PPBS) and other elements of defense planning, budgeting, and funding processes. This approach has been responsible for adding numerous layers of management, and has tended to compartmentalize, matrixes, and polarize the major areas of the acquisition process: design, test, and production.
These documents and the requirements that they spell out are important in that they establish a management grid that the various participants in the acquisition process must follow. However, they do not describe the industrial process, nor do they provide intelligence on the management and control of those technical activities and their related details that can either make or break a program. What has evolved as today’s management system for material acquisition hardly recognizes the importance of development and production, much less does it utilize the vast resources of development and production data in any decision process. "Manage the fundamentals of design, test, and production and the management system will describe itself." However, and this is a particularly important point, the converse can never be true! It is impossible to describe the management system first that will take care of the fundamentals of the industrial process-engineering and manufacturing.
This patently is obvious when the management system used by the Department of Defense and its Military Services is reviewed. Yet, it seems to be the subject of continued and ongoing interest at ail levels of both the Department of Defense and the Military Services. The central cry heard in the halls of the Pentagon when things go wrong is "reorganize, restructure the management system." Some think that if enough organizational boxes or enough people are moved, the problem will go away. Of course, it doesn’t, yet those responsible for creating the organizational mess think so. Consequently, we are left with a legacy that only grows worse with time. Why is this the case? Most probably because it is the path of least resistance.
The current review process, culminating in a DSARC decision for major programs, has no structural mechanism that can articulate with any degree of certainty the risk associated with the engineering and manufacturing elements of the weapon system acquisition process.