Back in April 2000 the USD (A&T) The Future Acquisition and Technology Workforce Report offered some remarkably prescient insights for our functional career field that I thought might be of interest as we look to the future. The competency set for what was then the “Acquisition Logistics” functional community laid the foundation for both today’s Life Cycle Logistics Defense Acquisition Workforce career field, as well as our current competency set. The report also singled out five particularly important competency areas for particular attention, saying, “the following competencies should be considered critical for Life Cycle Logisticians to perform effectively in the future acquisition environment:
· Understand the use of modeling and simulation (M&S) across the total life cycle of a system. A good working knowledge of M&S (including capabilities and limitations) would greatly facilitate the Life Cycle Logistician’s ability to predict the supportability and downstream logistics impacts of competing design alternatives. This will allow the Life Cycle Logistician to provide Program Managers and system designers with defensible recommendations prior to the critical design “lock-in” period.
· Know and understand open architecture discipline, tools, and methods and ability to apply to service interoperability. Incorporation of open systems approaches to design allow rapid technology refreshment and when properly applied can extend the capabilities and service life of weapon systems. This approach can also contribute effectively to lowering total ownership costs of legacy systems by installing more reliable and maintainable spares and components as the technology improves. The Life Cycle Logistician must develop a better understanding in this area to ensure that design and cost trade-offs involving open systems design approaches include considerations for other downstream support related activities to include configuration and inventory management.
· Analyze market research/customer requirements/sourcing strategies to synthesize best value solutions. As related to re-engineering the product support process to use best practices, it is essential that Life Cycle Logisticians develop knowledge, skills and abilities in this area to facilitate the development of alternative weapon system support concepts that cost effectively meet warfighter requirements.
· Develop performance-based work statements or statements of objectives. The Life Cycle Logistician must acquire competencies in this area to effectively develop both contractual system design and system support requirements in the Performance Based Business Environment.
· Know and understand components of total ownership cost. The Life Cycle Logistician is the principal advocate within the acquisition system for the sustainment system. The Life Cycle Logistician must be able to articulate to acquisition mangers and system designers, the downstream impacts of their design decisions. Since dollars is a concept everyone can understand, the Life Cycle Logistician can be more effective in making defensible recommendations with an in-depth understanding of the complex relationships between acquisition and operations and support costs including return on investment principles.”
For readability purposes I’ve substituted references to “Acquisition Logistics” with “Life Cycle Logistics”; otherwise, I think most of us who have been associated with this functional community for any length of time would likely agree that all five of these are as valid, important, and indeed, vital today as they were when the document cited above was issued nearly 14 years ago. My question to you, the readers of this blog, is: how are we doing in terms of growing a workforce that is both cognizant of and competent in these areas? And perhaps more importantly, what else could we collectively be doing better?