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life cycle logistics

The Truly Integrated Nature of the 12 IPS Elements

As I consider some of the challenges the nation has faced in rolling out COVID-19 vaccines, I’m more convinced than ever of the criticality of integrating and aligning functional areas across both…

The Truly Integrated Nature of the 12 IPS Elements

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The Truly Integrated Nature of the 12 IPS Elements
Bill Kobren
As I consider some of the challenges the nation has faced in rolling out COVID-19 vaccines, I’m more convinced than ever of the criticality of integrating and aligning functional areas across both the defense acquisition workforce and within this business we call defense acquisition. How requirements management, science and technology, engineering and technical management, program management, cost estimating, business and financial management, contracting, test and evaluation, production, quality and manufacturing, international and logistics all play a critical part in the success of any acquisition program – not to mention in a massive undertaking as complex as the development, production, testing, manufacturing, delivery, storage, and administration of multiple COVID-19 vaccines on a national and ultimately a global scale. So to a large degree, success depends on all key functional areas working in concert with one another.

Focusing for a moment on the logistics considerations in general, and the twelve integrated product support (IPS) elements in particular, it’s clear that the challenges of such a complex effort as expeditious COVID-19 vaccine delivery and administration to a population numbering in the hundreds of millions is by no means just a major supply management challenge; the reality is every other IPS element comes into play. It’s not sufficient to simply manufacture or package the vaccines. It's not sufficient to obtain and lay in all the requisite components of the vaccines. It’s not sufficient to store the vaccines, or to simply deliver the vaccine. It started long before that, and includes design interface, product support management, manpower and personnel, packaging, handling, storage and transportation (PHS&T), facilities and infrastructure, training and training support, certainly IT systems continuous support, maintenance management, as well as supply management...in other words, the Integrated Product Support (IPS) Elements truly are – and do -- have to be all taken into account, planned for, and most importantly, fully integrated to successfully and affordably execute as massive an undertaking as expeditiously getting COVID-19 shots in arms – or as you all do every day, supporting a major weapon system on a global scale for decades at a time. It’s worth considering that foundational tenets of our business are indeed truly universal both within and outside of the Department of Defense.

Photo Courtesy of the Department of Defense Photo Gallery