Big News in Defense Exportability
a) DoD international engagement stakeholders – both DoD Component International Program Organizations (IPOs) and three key DoD-level organizations involved in International Cooperative Programs, Security Cooperation, and Technology Security and Foreign Disclosure – will be included in the formal staffing and coordination for all JCIDS documents.
b) Allied/partner interoperability will be included in the CONOPS section of JCIDS Initial Capabilities Documents (ICDs).
c) Standard defense exportability language will be included as a Key System Attribute (KSA) in JCIDS Capability Development Documents (CDDs) for systems with export potential as determined by the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) at Milestone A.
The JROC Memo encourages DoD Components to begin incorporating these Defense Exportability aspects into current and future JCIDS requirements documents. The next issuance of the JCIDS Manual will be updated to reflect these changes.
The publication of this new JROCM was a direct result of the Administration’s Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy implementation efforts, specifically Line of Effort 2.7, “Build-in exportability, coalition interoperability & standardization.” In addition to these JCIDS Manual modifications on defense exportability in the requirements management area, changes to DoD 5000 series acquisition policy documents to strengthen its exportability policy precepts and practices are reportedly under consideration within the Office of Secretary of Defense/Acquisition & Sustainment organization.
Proponents of defense exportability have been advocating for this JCIDS policy change for many years. The logic behind this change is simple but powerful – the DoD acquisition community and resource allocation process establish priorities based on JCIDS capability requirements. Up to this point, JCIDS consideration of defense exportability in the capability requirements development and approval process has been generally viewed as “optional” rather than “mandatory.”
As a result, defense exportability has often ended up as a “nice to have” unfunded area rather a high priority requirement that the DoD acquisition community must accomplish. This occurred despite the fact that historical analysis of past DoD acquisition programs shows that nearly 90% of DoD weapon systems and equipment are exported to allied/friendly nations at some point in the life-cycle. As a result, International Cooperative Program and Defense Sales & Transfers initiatives intended to support the USG’s National Strategy and Security Cooperation policy objectives often take longer (and are more expensive) than necessary. Even worse, in some cases U.S. defense sales opportunities are lost, with a corresponding negative impact on coalition interoperability and government/industry economic and industrial base benefits.
Will this JCIDS change actually improve DoD’s acquisition program defense exportability performance to help achieve the U.S. Government National Security and National Defense Strategy guidance that emphasizes the importance of strengthening alliances and attracting new partners? While it’s still “early days” it’s a great first step.
Let’s hope that in this era of Agile Acquisition, DoD Program Managers and Integrated Product Teams start to tackle this new challenge immediately rather than wait for publication of revised DoD 5000 series policy guidance. There are several defense exportability success stories out there – and numerous Defense Exportability Features (DEF) Pilot Programs that are available as potential models – that could be used to expand defense exportability efforts across the DoD enterprise. Why wait? Let’s get started today!