Implementing initiatives support the vision and mission of acquisition reform. These initiatives must interact and work together to support the objectives of acquiring Defense systems better, faster, and cheaper. The following are not all-inclusive, but capture the essence of the major thrusts of acquisition reform within DoD.
Alternative Dispute Resolution. To facilitate resolution of differences between the government and its contractors without going into a formal protest or litigation process, alternative dispute resolution provides voluntary procedures to resolve issues in controversy. These procedures may include, but are not limited to, conciliation, facilitation, mediation, fact finding, arbitration, and use of ombudsmen.
Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations. In recognition that there should be opportunities to try out technology directly with the warfighters, advanced concept technology demonstration efforts allow operational forces to experiment with new technology in the field to evaluate potential changes to doctrine, operational concepts, tactics, modernization plans and training. Following a successful advanced concept technology demonstration the system may enter the acquisition process at whatever point good judgment dictates.
Best Value Contracting. DoD seeks to award contracts based on the best overall value. This means that the Department considers all relevant factors, such as cost, performance, quality, and schedule, and makes potential tradeoffs between cost and non-cost factors, rather than just buying from the lowest cost, technically acceptable offeror.
Commercial Items and Practices. Maximizing the use of commercial items takes advantage of the innovation offered by the commercial marketplace and ensures access to the latest technology, and a broader vendor base. DoD is also encouraging Defense contractors to move to commercial practices, which will enhance their global competitiveness. The Department's goal is to establish partnerships with industry to create advanced products and systems with common technological bases, to allow production of low-volume Defense-unique items on the same lines with high-volume commercial items.
Cost as a Military Requirement. Only the
warfighter can determine what a new system is worth, compared to other needed
capabilities and their costs. The Operational Requirements Document (see Chapter 6 ) must now contain cost objectives that will allow an affordability determination to be made early in a proposed acquisition program.
Cost As an Independent Variable is used to develop strategies for acquiring and operating affordable systems by setting aggressive, achievable cost objectives and managing achievement of these objectives. Through participation on cost performance integrated product teams, key stakeholders (users, industry, etc.) help set and achieve cost objectives by identifying potential tradeoffs early in the acquisition process.
Integrated Product Teams and Integrated Product and Process Development are two closely intertwined initiatives that are replacing traditionally adversarial relationships among key players (users, acquirers, testers, funds managers, contractors, and other stakeholders) with cooperation and teamwork to improve product quality and supportability.
Logistics Transformation will transform DoD's mass logistics system to a highly agile, reliable system that delivers logistics on demand. Logistics reform will move toward performance based support and link modern warfighting and modern business practice. The commercial marketplace demonstrates that product support can be optimized to create a strategic advantage by focusing on customer service, integrated supply chains, rapid transportation, and electronic commerce. When applied to Defense, this equates to integrated logistics chains focused on readiness and rapid service to the warfighter.
Open Systems. Designing open systems and specifying interface standards enhances interoperability, both among the services and with our Allies. Applying widely used interface standards in weapons systems will enable multiple sources of supply and technology insertion and allow for upgrading through spares.
Past Performance of Contractors. DoD is expanding the collection and use of past performance data to improve the quality of purchased goods and services. Collection of data is being automated and standardized across the Department. Evaluation of past performance is being used as a significant factor during source selections.
Price-Based Acquisition is a way of doing business that results in a firm-fixed-price (or fixed price with performance incentives) contract and a fair and reasonable price without the government obtaining supplier cost data. The implementation of this initiative will require changes to the requirements generation and acquisition processes to allow the use of price-based acquisition for research and development without shifting significant risk to the contractor.
Performance-Based Services Acquisition. As services become an increasingly significant element of what DoD buys, steps are being taken to ensure they are acquired effectively and efficiently. Service requirements must be stated using results required, and not methods for performance of the work.
Simulation Based Acquisition is a process in which the DoD and industry are enabled by robust, collaborative use of simulation technology integrated across acquisition phases and programs. The intent is a dramatically improved acquisition process enhanced by the application of advanced information technology.
Streamlined Procedures. Streamlining internal procedures reduces cycle time and cuts administrative costs. The October 2000, DoD Instruction 5000.2, Operation of the Defense Acquisition System, provides a flexible process for rapid acquisition of mature technology, with evolutionary acquisition strategies and time-phased require-ments that allow early fielding of a usable warfighting capability, with block upgrades to full capability over time.
Single Process Initiative allows a single process for both commercial and military products. To ensure existing contracts reap the benefits of this initiative, block changes of multiple contracts have been implemented at many facilities. Removing government unique requirements makes it easier and cheaper for contractors to produce military products by using existing commercial processes and production lines.
Specifications and Standards Reform. Secretary of Defense Perry approved new major policy in mid-1994, for use of specifications and standards for Defense systems acquisition contracts. First choice is the use of performance specifications. Design specific specifications and standards are authorized only as a last resort, and their use requires a waiver.
There are many more initiatives in place, as well as
new ones being tested throughout the Department. These initiatives will help
America acquire quality Defense systems faster, and cheaper - essential if
this country is to maintain the world's best warfighting forces. The cultural
shifts in the acquisition process may be characterized by the following