Over the years, the Department of Defense and the Military Services
have been struggling to improve the acquisition process. There has been a
seemingly endless proliferation of "blue ribbon" panels, ad hoc reviews,
summer studies, task forces, and audits, whose memberships consisted of the
most respected representatives of Government and industry. Many of these
efforts were mandated congressionally, but the increasing congressional focus
(General Accounting Office (GAO) reports and staff member inquiries) on DoD
acquisition programs indicates that Congress is not convinced that the overall
objective, namely, "more bang for the buck," is being accomplished.
There is no doubt that past studies and
reviews have provided many practical recommendations and those that were acted
upon helped formulate current procedures for the DSARC process and the PPBS.
Yet, there is still concern whether the taxpayer’s money is being well spent
and whether our Armed Forces are being provided equipment that works when
needed. Why do we have so many cost overruns and why does our operating
equipment fail so frequently?
The answers are not simple. Some of the
more lofty answers pertain to the increasing complexity of our hardware,
greater administrative reporting burdens, changes in administration policy
from one election to the next, and variations in the level of our
international military commitment as it influences and is influenced by the
existing attitude of the American public.
However, there are at least three answers
that are not so lofty and over which we can exert significant control. One
relates to the need for more discipline in the technical side of the
acquisition process, that is, more attention to the engineering fundamentals
of design, test, production, and supportability; this answer is the basic
purpose of this Manual and is well described in the Preface and Introduction.
A second answer involves the critical resource of personnel" and is discussed
in a separate template in the Management section. The third answer is sound
funding policy. In order to avoid "biting off more than we can chew," and
because there are many facets to funding policy concerns, the following
template on money phasing is confined to research, development, test, and
evaluation (RDT&E), and initial production funding.