Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2011 Contents A knowledge-based approach---getting
more information earlier on operational
requirements, costs, technical feasibil-
ity, and trade space---is key to achieving
affordable force modernization and one
that industry leaders have found to be
To use a knowledge-based approach,
you need to have a good understanding
of where you are. Force modernization
really starts by establishing baselines.
Baselines must be more than just the
numbers and types of organizations
and their associated personnel, equip-
ment, and materiel. The baseline also
must establish what organizations or
warfighting functions were designed to
do; their current and projected ratios
of boots-on-the-ground to dwell time;
how they train and to what standard;
how they employ their "how to fight"
doctrine and execute their battlefield
functions; what the Soldiers, training,
sustainment, and equipment life-cycle
costs are; and the one-time procure-
Another essential component of
the baseline is describing what
dependencies the organization
or warfighting function relies on
from other organizations or war-
fighting functions to accomplish
It is from this baseline that one
begins to establish the force moderniza-
tion strategy of potential improvements
and determines whether the capability
improvements justify the associated costs.
Setting a Strategic Direction
Once you know where you are, it
is important to know where you
are going. Army concepts and their
associated implications for doctrine,
organization, training, materiel, leader
development and education, personnel,
and facilities (DOTMLPF) are critical
to framing the strategic direction for
But you must also stay linked to what
Soldiers in the current fight need. These
Soldiers at the "edge" provide the best
feedback, lessons learned, and insights
into where the Army needs to go.
This is also the hotbed for innovation,
where opportunity, demand, and feed-
back from the edge need to be linked in
real time. Here, opportunity is clearly
associated with the pace of technologi-
cal change, and the demand is dictated
by a very adaptive adversary.
Those engaged in the close fight have
some of the best ideas for the needs.
This means the Army must also stay
closely linked to the technology com-
munity so that we can lead innovation
by keeping needs linked to oppor-
tunities. And these needs and ideas
must be quickly incorporated into the
mainstream of emerging concepts and
developments, to make them relevant
to today's fight while moving us closer
to the force envisioned in our force
The Army does this through warfight-
ing forums, such as those led by U.S.
Army Forces Command on Brigade
Combat Teams; TRADOC Centers
of Excellence on the other warfighter
functions, signal, and aviation; and
close cooperation with the U.S.
Army Research, Development, and
Engineering Command labs.
Closing the Gap, Affordably
We are now at a point where we want to
close the gap between where we are and
where we are going. We want to make
the Army more operationally adaptive
and effective, but we must do it in a
way that is affordable in the long run.
We must take a hard look at the
quality of our acquisition personnel
and increase the number and quality
of contracting officers and civilian
analysts; improve services contracting;
and invest in generating contracting
expertise at the general-officer level.
We must also increase our numbers and
expertise in systems engineering, quality
assurance, operations research and
systems analysis, and cost estimating
and contracting throughout the Army.
What we have learned from industry
is that we must strive for more knowl-
edge earlier in the acquisition cycle.
Knowledge is power, and knowledge ear-
lier is more power. A knowledge-based
approach accelerates development and
reduces the time required to produce
and field solutions.
For potential materiel gaps, this
requires the Army to assemble multi-
disciplinary teams upfront and to form
better and broader partnerships across
the user, developer, and acquisition
communities. The multidisciplinary
teams should consist of scientists; engi-
neers; costing, pricing, and purchasing
experts; operators; testers; legal review-
ers; and users (Soldiers). The assembling
of this team during the initial design
phase allows for greater fidelity and
information earlier on
costs, technical feasibility,
and trade space---is key to
achieving affordable force
modernization and one that
industry leaders have found
to be highly successful.
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