Sustainment Considerations for Accelerated Acquisitions
- “Risks of commission, such as skipping standard acquisition steps, eliminating management assessments, or ambitious schedules, can result in performance shortfalls or downstream problems, such as suitability, reliability, supportability, higher long-term costs (due to multiple fielded models) and future operational value”
- “The highly responsive, operationally-driven program stressed both the program office and the contractor and resulted in (1) problems with reliability, operational use, and downstream support; and (2) deficiencies in documentation, planning, and sustainment”
- “Shortening acquisition times by skipping or rushing certain planning steps, management reviews or development and testing regimens introduced risks that these acquisition steps were design to avoid (such as sustainment, disposal, addressing real needs), including: a) Truncated testing program, b) Sustainment issues, c) Transition problems, and d) Wasted/unneeded—unused systems, disposal issues”
The paper went on to share several key take-aways”
- “Acquisition programs should be accelerated when the value of having the operational capability sooner is compelling, weighed against the very real risks of skipping or rushing steps in the standard acquisition system.”
- “Programs need to balance “risks of commission” (skipping steps or rushing, which risks failure to meet user needs) against “risks of omission” (the opportunity cost of not providing the warfighter with at least some capability sooner versus waiting for a more capable system later)”
- “Speed per se should not be the objective—rather it should be responsive, effective, efficient, innovative acquisition of defense capabilities that meet clearly defined operational needs.”
Questions for the life cycle logistics, product support manager, and sustainment communities to ponder include:
- Do you agree with the report’s assessment?
- If so, what are the specific suitability, reliability supportability, cost, sustainment, downstream support and disposal risks that that we need to consider?
- What other considerations, if any, do you believe should also have been identified?
- More importantly, what risk mitigation strategies must program offices in general and product support managers in particular consider, develop and implement?