U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Https

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Breadcrumb

  1. Home
  2. Blogs
  3. Product Support Evolution – A Journey, Not a Destination
Life Cycle Logistics

Product Support Evolution – A Journey, Not a Destination

Eleven years after the Defense Science Board (DSB) published its report on DoD Logistics Transformation (discussed in yesterday’s “DoD Logistics Transformation – 25 Years Later” DAU LOG Blog post…

Product Support Evolution – A Journey, Not a Destination

Product Support Evolution – A Journey, Not a Destination
Shawn Harrison

Eleven years after the Defense Science Board (DSB) published its report on DoD Logistics Transformation (discussed in yesterday’s “DoD Logistics Transformation – 25 Years Later” DAU LOG Blog post), DoD published its 2009 “Weapon System Acquisition Reform Product Support Assessment” (PSA) report, culminating a broad-based, year-long study. In the report, Dr. Ashton Carter, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, enumerated the assessment’s eight principal areas (see below) and advocated for “a clear vision to achieve aligned and synchronized operational, acquisition, and sustainment communities working together to deliver required and affordable Warfighter outcomes.”

Fast-forward five years, when DAU’s Logistics & Sustainment Center Director, Bill Kobren, penned “The Defense Life-Cycle Logistics Journey: A 10-Year Retrospective of Product Support Transformation” in which he provided an update on progress toward many of the PSA’s principal areas and an even deeper look back at the evolution of Product Support over the preceding five decades. Kobren analyzed 16 initiatives covering workforce composition, competency, and size; product support strategic direction; and professional development and support, as well as a vision of future initiatives. These included focusing on optimizing system availability and affordability; cost reduction; supportability analysis; emerging technologies; workforce development; and cross-functional, interdisciplinary integration. On the PSA’s 10th anniversary, Kobren posted a blog identifying additional statutory, policy, guidance, and training and education enablers then in place to assist practitioners in executing the vision of the PSA. He closed the blog with the imperative, “Still more to do? Absolutely.”

For your consideration, allow me to share a brief 2023 update on the original 2009 WSAR Product Support Assessment’s principal focus areas:

  1. Product Support Business Model (PSBM) – the PSBM is taught widely throughout DAU’s Logistics courses, is featured (along with the Life Cycle Product Support Vision and Guiding Principles) prominently in the PSM Guidebook, and remains a useful framework for constructing and assessing product support arrangements
  2. Industrial Integration Strategy – this strategy formed the basis for DoDI 4151.21 and the Public-Private Partnering for Product Support Guidebook which enable effective planning and execution of numerous direct sales, workshare, and lease partnerships throughout DoD. Today’s partnerships expand beyond depot maintenance to other areas of Product Support such as lease of excess DLA warehouse space by Industry partners.
  3. Supply Chain Operational Strategy – DoD’s Joint Supply Chain Architecture adopted a Supply Chain Operations Reference Process (DoDM 4140.01 series) derived from a widely-used commercial model.
  4. Governance – DoD established the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Product Support as functional leader, published a functionally-aligned instruction (DoDI 5000.91), and is in the process of establishing an executive steering committee consisting of representatives from OSD, the Services, Joint Staff, and agency executives to discuss and take action on product support and other Sustainment matters.
  5. Metrics - in addition to overarching sustainment metrics (DoDI 3110.05), the PBL Guidebook contains an extensive list of metrics to measure and incentivize delivery of Warfighter outcomes.
  6. Operating & Support (O&S) Costs – visibility of O&S costs through Service reporting systems and DoD’s Advana tool continue to improve; and the O&S Cost Estimating Guide and O&S Cost Management Guidebook provide key advice in estimating and managing DoD’s largest weapon system cost category.
  7. Analytical Tools – the Product Support BCA Guidebook aids practitioners in accomplishing BCAs required by statute (10 USC 4324) and policy (DoDI 5000.91), and are further informed by Product Support Analysis (MIL-HDBK-502A) and modeling and simulation capabilities such as the LogSIM discrete event simulation tool.
  8. Human Capital – Life Cycle Logistics (LCL), the functional area for Product Support, is guided by a Logistics Human Capital Strategy, Competency Model, two-tiered certification construct, and a Functional Integration Team (FIT) supporting DoD’s 19,000-member LCL workforce.

It’s been almost 14 years since the ink dried on the original 2009 “Weapon System Acquisition Reform Product Support Assessment” report, and you can see from this report its ongoing widespread and far-reaching impact. Still more work to do? You bet. Product Support must continue to evolve to meet the needs of the Warfighter in support of the National Defense Strategy. Want to get involved? Check out the LCL Functional Area Gateway -- and this daily DAU LOG Blog -- for the latest news and updates.