Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT October-December 2011 Contents 98 Army AL&T Magazine
The Army Acquisition Review is a start to
fixing acquisition, he said. "We see this
study as a useful framework for our inter-
nal reform efforts, and we will address
each issue in some way."
Among the recommendations the Army
will implement is to limit the number of
key performance parameters and key system
attributes (KSAs) in acquisition programs.
In its report spelling out which of the
Decker-Wagner recommendations it will
implement, the Army acknowledges that
"the number of key performance parameters
and key system attributes in requirements
documents has a significant impact on cost
The Decker-Wagner report recommends
giving industry the flexibility to provide
the government cost-effective and timely
designs by making KSAs "tradable."
Industry might be able to say, for instance,
that if the Army were willing to accept a
design that didn't meet all of its require-
ments, a design could be produced at less
cost or in a more timely manner than if all
KSAs had to be met.
"Industry must have flexibility in trading
KSAs in order to drive designs to cost-
effective proposals that can be achieved
on realistic timetables," the Army wrote
in its report. "In developing requests for
proposals for future systems, the Army
must carefully tailor KSAs that support
the acquisition strategy by establishing
threshold and objective values for each."
Heidi Shyu, Acting Assistant Secretary of
the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and
Technology, spoke specifically about the
requirements for developing Army sys-
tems. She said it is important for the Army
to keep in mind what is possible when
developing requirements documents.
"What we are doing now that's different is
looking at the trade space before we say
we want this capability," Shyu said. "The
Army is absolutely dedicated and com-
mitted to an affordable, achievable, and
realistic approach to acquisition."
Shyu said that when asking for capabili-
ties in a new system, the technology might
not be mature enough to support them.
"[When] you are pushing the envelope to
achieve the capability you'd like to have
with immature technologies, that takes
time to develop," she said. "The sched-
ule stretches, and you have an optimistic
schedule you can't achieve."
Schedule slips cost money, she said.
"What are the knobs we can turn to dial
down our appetite? Understanding that is
absolutely tantamount to designing and
developing a program that is achievable
and affordable and realizable."
The Army is already engaged in practices
to overhaul its acquisition programs, Shyu
said, adding that the Army welcomes the
Decker-Wagner report's findings.
Among efforts already underway is an
increase in competitive prototyping
before acquisition Milestone B decisions.
This means that competing vendors on a
project might provide prototype vehicles
for extensive evaluation before the Army
downselects to fewer vendors on a con-
tract. Thus, any bugs can be worked out
before a program moves into production.
Also underway is an increase in the purchase
of technical data packages (TDPs) from
defense contractors. The TDP is the
body of technical, scientific, research,
and engineering data and schematics
that industry has produced in develop-
ing a product. The Army can purchase
the TDP and, with full ownership, can
recompete for production at lower costs.
Shyu also cited the Army's Capability
Portfolio Reviews (CPRs) as a cost-cutting
measure. CPRs look at the entire range
of what the Army already has in a given
capability area to find redundancies.
Another Army effort is looking to industry for
capabilities that are already developed, such
as commercial-off-the-shelf technologies.
"There are things we can leverage from
the commercial industry," said Shyu.
Computer processors would fall into that
category. But munitions, for instance, are
something that she said only the Army
has a real interest in developing.
C. Todd Lopez is a DOD civilian who
writes about Soldiers, Army programs, and
Army policy inside the National Capitol
Region for the Defense Media Activity-Army.
The Paladin Integrated Management program
is expected to implement multiyear contracts in
FY12. The Decker-Wagner report recommends
using multiyear contracts for stable programs.
(U.S. Army photo by Office of the ASAALT.)
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