Excellent Defense AT&L Magazine Articles on Better Buying Power (BBP 2.0)
The latest issue of Defense AT&L Magazine (September-October 2013 edition), focused on a range of important Better Buying Power (BBP) 2.0 initiatives, is now available. Highly encourage readers of this blog to take time to read through this latest issue; a resource literally jam-packed with interesting, engaging, timely, and directly applicable articles. Just a few of the many highlights include:
· “The Trouble with TRLs” – In this article, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics discusses the appropriate use of Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs), saying “we will never have, and should not expect to have, risk-free programs. Our warfighters have the best equipment in the world because we take the risks inherent in doing things that have never been done before. Our technological superiority rests on this foundation. As acquisition professionals, we have to manage risk so we strike the right balance between stretching for new and better capabilities and limiting our goals to ones that are attainable and will be reached efficiently at acceptable cost. TRLs are just one of the tools we use to accomplish this task, and we should not rely on them for more than they can provide or think of them as a substitute for the professional judgments we have to make.”
· “Focusing on Professionalism” – This article discusses three key initiatives being undertaken as a BBP 2.0 “Improve the Professionalism of the Total Acquisition Workforce. According to the authors, “each of the three initiatives targets the professionalism and qualification of the Acquisition Workforce. It no longer is enough to simply check a box to indicate an individual has met certification requirements. Critical is a true understanding of the skills necessary to execute one’s position effectively based on knowledge, experience, and education.” Because these defense acquisition workforce initiatives will directly impact both DoD Life Cycle Logisticians and Product Support Managers (PSM), highly recommend taking a look at this article.
· “DAU Consulting Might Be the Right Enabler to Improve Your Acquisition Outcomes” – According to the authors, “Defense Acquisition University (DAU) consulting (also referred to as "mission assistance"), is a core element of DAU’s PLM and provides the DAW with collaborative assistance in resolving problems and seizing opportunities. DAU uses a wide variety of tools to provide this assistance, ranging from personal coaching/mentoring to exclusive consulting for program office teams (in some cases including their industry counterparts). The depth of experience and broadly diverse backgrounds of DAU’s faculty enable DAU to bring the right talent to bear on an acquisition organization’s most difficult challenges, helping DAW members to deliver the desired warfighting capability within their allocated resources.”
· “DoD Open Systems Architecture Contract Guidebook for Program Managers: A Tool for Effective Competition” – According to the authors, “the DoD Open Systems Architecture Contract Guidebook for Program Managers (which we in the DAU life cycle logistics community have made available directly from the product support guidance page of the LOG CoP Key Product Support Reference website) is one of many initiatives associated with the implementation of BBP 2.0 to deliver the latest innovations to the warfighter at a more affordable cost to the taxpayer. These initiatives change the way the DoD does business, with the end goal of increasing value for both the warfighter and the taxpayer through more effective and sustainable acquisition strategies.” They go on to highlight that “this Guidebook provides information not covered in other guidance documents in areas such as contract incentives. The incentive structures described in this Guidebook have the added benefit of reinforcing the importance of the government’s emphasis on collaborative business relationships, technical leadership, planning, and execution. This Guidebook provides the structure for incentivizing OSA technical tenets, business practices, and cooperative behavior with other vendors as well as the more usual quality, timeliness, technical progress, technical ingenuity, and cost-effective management requirements.”
· “Building a Culture of Cost Consciousness” – This excellent article discusses the culture within the department, stating that “Better Buying Power (BBP) is part of a continuous learning and improvement management approach practiced in a culture that requires a commitment to reduce costs and increase productivity with dedicated support to the warfighter, and a strong stewardship of the taxpayers’ dollars. BBP 2.0 “…continues to increase the cost consciousness of the acquisition workforce—change the culture.” Those last three words—“change the culture”—have been the mantra for a team of AT&L and Service professionals who have been looking at what counterproductive behaviors exist across the workforce, what actions might be required to change those behaviors, and how to instill the new behaviors into a more cost-conscious culture.” The team chartered to work this BBP 2.0 initiative “turned its attention to identifying areas where policies and processes could encourage a more cost-conscious culture across the department. Recognizing an opportunity to improve cost visibility and drive out cost within contract vehicles such as Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) and Performance Based Logistics (PBL) (while PBL product support arrangements can in some cases leverage CLS contracts, these two terms which are not synonymous), the team concluded the heavy emphasis CLS and PBL vehicles place on performance measures needs to be balanced with measures that drive cost-conscious behavior in the private sector.” The culture of cost consciousness effort not surprisingly aligns directly with another key BBP 2.0 initiative focused on “increasing effective use of Performance Based Logistics (PBL).”
· “Apt Slogans for Acquisition in Austere Times” – This article offers some “wisdom of the ages” by applying several familiar quotations to the challenges faced by today’s defense acquisition workforce. The author posits that “oft-quoted slogans can sometimes capture nuggets of wisdom that actually are helpful in informing our decisions in extraordinary times like these. Some slogans serve as heuristics and some to describe behaviors—good and bad. Most are comfortingly familiar. Some slogans emerge when times are tough and we face difficult choices. (The article provides a) few familiar ones that may prove helpful as we move forward into a much more austere defense budget environment.”