DoD Life Cycle Management is Not a New Concept
The department’s commitment to this core tenet did not change with issuance last week of the newly revised DoD Directive 5000.01. This overarching DoD acquisition directive continues to reiterate “concept and requirements through demilitarization and disposal” life cycle management as a foundational aspect of the defense acquisition system. In so doing, it continues to articulate the statutory requirements outlined in 10 U.S.C. 2337 “Life Cycle Management and Product Support”. As a reminder, the statute not only emphasis the importance of the life cycle construct in its title, but actually leads off with “Guidance on Life-Cycle Management”, which mandates that “the Secretary of Defense shall issue and maintain comprehensive guidance on life-cycle management and the development and implementation of product support strategies for major weapon systems….”
Why is this so important? To put it simply, with 60-70% of life cycle costs occurring in Operations & Support, successful implementation of robust and effective life cycle management is a cornerstone of weapon system affordability, not to mention reliability, availability, maintainability, supportability, and readiness.
Before I proceed in sharing specific language contained in the new policy, a quick reminder of exactly what is meant by the term Life Cycle Management. The DAU Glossary (which the DoD Directive 5000.01 actually identifies as the source of the terms used in the directive) defines the term as “a management process applied throughout the life of a system that bases all programmatic decisions on the anticipated mission-related and economic benefits derived over the life of the system. It includes the implementation, management, and oversight by the designated Program Manager (PM) of all activities associated with the acquisition, development, production, fielding, sustainment, and disposal of a DoD system across its life cycle.”
The new DoD directive categorically states in Para 1.2.m. that one of the “overarching policies (that) will govern the Defense Acquisition System” is to: “Implement Effective Life-Cycle Management. The program manager is accountable for achieving program life-cycle management objectives throughout the program life cycle. Planning for operations and support will begin at program inception, and supportability requirements will be balanced with other requirements that impact program cost, schedule, and performance. Performance based life-cycle product support implements life-cycle system management” (emphasis added).
In addition, Paragraph 1.2.a.(f) of, the new directive also reaffirms that that the DAS will “Emphasize product support and sustainment…..” Moreover, the directive goes on in Paragraph 1.2.l. to also identify planning for product support as another of the “overarching policies (that) will govern the Defense Acquisition System”, stating ”Product support strategies (PSSs) will be informed by a business case analysis conducted pursuant to Section 2337 of Title 10, U.S.C. The PSS is designed to facilitate enduring and affordable sustainment consistent with warfighter requirements. Support metrics will be established, tracked, and adjusted where needed to ensure product support objectives are achieved and sustained over the system life cycle. PSSs include the best use of public and private sector capabilities through government and industry partnering initiatives, in accordance with statutory requirements. (emphasis added).”
Successful product support strategy development, implementation, execution and refinement in support of our warfighter customers – not to mention the readiness and combat capability of our weapon systems -- thus remains an integral part of the defense acquisition system, and is ultimately successful only when fully integrated into a life cycle management construct. It is not an exaggeration in my mind to say that successful product support strategies and life cycle management are inextricably linked, and are quite literally as inseparable as the saying goes, as “bone is from marrow”. The new DoD Directive 5000.01 reaffirms long-standing DoD policy that operations and support has been and continues to be an integral part of the defense acquisition system.