Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT July-September 2018 Contents From the Editor-in-Chief
Email Nelson McCouch III
Nelson McCouch III
ince joining Army acquisition back in 2010, I’ve routinely
heard the old engineering adage: “Faster, better, cheaper:
Pick two.” The basic premise is that any two choices
negate the third. But there is another way to look at
those three parameters, and that’s from the perspective of getting
needed capabilities into the hands of warfighters sooner given
world events and economics. And here, you get only one choice.
In a period of huge defense budgets and seemingly never-ending
conflict, “ faster” rules.
At such times, much effort goes into rapid fielding initiatives like
those associated with special operations forces and their time-
sensitive needs. While such initiatives are good at getting needed
equipment to the field, turning them into Army-level require-
ments to meet institutional Army needs proves difficult.
Less conflict and tighter budgets mean that “cheaper” rules
the day. You get there by reducing the workforce, reducing the
quantity of materiel, extending timelines, decreasing services,
decreasing budgets or delaying much-needed updates—yet the
Army still needs high-quality equipment to perform its mission
and build for the future.
Then, there is the great middle ground of “better,” when the
world is at relative peace and economic times are good. In this
perfect world scenario, the Army delivers a good solution at a
reasonable pace and cost. Not the fastest, not the cheapest, but
But what if there were a way to have it all? The holy grail for
achieving the nirvana of faster, better, cheaper just may be the
very theme of this magazine: experimentation. No, we’re not
talking about mad scientists in labs with shrink rays (maybe in
a later issue?). Rather, we’re talking about what Army leader-
ship and others have been saying for some time now: Fail early.
Disrupt the current overly cautious development process and
employ experimentation, technical demonstrations and proto-
typing early in development to see if a solution works the way we
want it to. “Off-ramping,” or fixing projects as needed, can speed
up acquisition to get capabilities into the hands of warfighters
sooner. Done correctly, experimentation is the critical path by
which faster, better and cheaper can coexist.
Everyone in leadership wants to see the current, industrial-age,
linear model that takes so long to deliver fade into history.
In the words of Lt. Gen. Paul A.
Ostrowski, the principal military
deputy to the Army acquisition
executive, “I’ve got to get that
capability out there faster. I’ve
got to think of innovative ways
to do so.” Experimentation may
be the way.
In this issue, hear from Dr. Alexis
Lasselle Ross, the new deputy
assistant secretar y of the Army
for acquisition reform, as she
discusses her work with the task force shaping the Futures
Command, which will take experimentation to a whole new
level (“From Quick Wins to Deep Change,” Page 14). Talk about
experimenting with a concept right from the start—join the
Army Rapid Capabilities Office and the U.S. Special Operations
Command in early assessments of new or emerging position,
navigation and timing technologies from defense industry, tech
startups and academia in “On the Ground Floor,” Page 20.
Finally, the Network Integration Evaluation exercises adopted
experimentation early on in an operational setting. In “Starting
With an Ending,” Page 50, learn how the Army is transitioning
from the old Network Integration Evaluation concept to the new
Joint Warfighting Assessment model to assess experimental capa-
bilities, help evolve mission command capabilities and network
strategy, and shape requirements.
Not only are these exciting times in Army acquisition, but for
Army AL&T magazine as well. On behalf of the secretary of the
Army, the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs acknowledged
this magazine as the Best Publication in the Army, as selected
in the 2017 Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Communications Awards
Competition. This is but one of many awards Army AL&T has
garnered over the years. While the magazine gets the award, the
real winners are the numerous contributors across the Army that
take the time to tell their stories so that others may learn and
understand what our acquisition professionals do, day in and day
out, to ensure that our Soldiers have the very best. Next stop: the
annual DOD Defense Media Awards. Wish us luck!
If you have a story idea or an actual story you would like to share,
please contact us at ArmyALT@gmail.com.
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