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20 Questions Every Product Support Manager Should Be Prepared to Answer Questions Every Product Support Manager Should Be Prepared to Answer2020-07-01T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass3F537F9350AF4F8895CD610C25D8DCD9">While the majority of operating and support costs are incurred after a weapon system has been produced and fielded, they result in part from program decisions made earlier in the acquisition process—during system development—and are generally set before production begins. In 2009, as part of legislation aimed at improving the life-cycle management of major weapon systems, Congress required DOD to assign a product support manager (PSM) to each major weapon system program. The principal responsibility of the PSM is to develop and implement support strategies for weapon systems that maintain readiness and control life-cycle costs.<br> — Government Accountability Office Report GAO-17-744R Weapon Systems Management: Product Support Managers’ Perspectives on Factors Critical to Influencing Sustainment Related Decisions <hr /><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July_Aug2020/DefAcq_Jul-Aug2020_Article3_figure1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:458px;height:500px;" />In the decade since Congress enacted, and the president signed into law, the requirement that “each major weapon system be supported by a product support manager,” the Department of Defense (DoD) has made major strides in implementing the life cycle management and product support requirements outlined in what is today Title 10 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 2337. This includes perhaps the most critical requirement of all: developing and implementing a comprehensive, effective and affordable product support strategy for the weapon system.<br> <br> This is no easy feat considering the complexity, ambiguity, and challenges of the task that DoD product support managers (PSMs) face every day. Not to mention the myriad factors that lie outside of the PSM’s control, including evolving service life requirements, rapidly changing operational and environments and threats, emerging technologies, aging systems, wide variances in operational tempos and funding profiles, industrial base, obsolescence and diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages, structural and corrosion issues, physical and cybersecurity supply chain risks, among a range of others.<br> The good news is that DoD PSMs have ample resources at their disposal to craft and execute successful product support strategies. Whether they be statutory requirements such as 10 U.S.C. 2337 Life-Cycle Management and Product Support, 10 U.S.C. 2443 Sustainment Factors in Weapon System Design, or others (Figure 1), Congress has given PSMs the authorities they need to successfully execute this vitally important mission. The DoD and the Services have, in turn, implemented a range of product support policies to further facilitate that success.<br> <br> The DoD also has crafted comprehensive guidance to provide powerful insights into how to successfully develop, test, implement, execute, refine, and modify successful product support strategies. A “baker’s dozen” of the most impactful can be found n the DoD Product Support Guidance Suite at <a href="/tools/p/integrated-Product-Support-Guidebook-Suite"></a>, including the Defense Acquisition Guidebook, the DoD Product Support Manager’s Guidebook, DoD Public-Private Partnering Guidebook, DoD Performance Based Logistics Guidebook, and DoD Operating and Support Cost Management Guidebook, among a range of others (Figure 2). And, of course, the military Services provide ample supporting policies and guidance of their own to backstop and reinforce.<br> <br> At each level, the focus is consistently on crafting and executing well-thought out, affordable product support strategies to achieve warfighter readiness and cost requirements. Common themes at all levels include early sustainment planning, system availability, readiness, supportability, reliability, maintainability, cross-functional integration, and ultimately affordable combat capability across the system life cycle.<br> <br> That said, zeroing in on our cadre of highly skilled, highly trained DoD PSMs, we have to ask ourselves a few pointed questions: Are you doing everything you can to achieve these requirements for your program? How have you and your team influenced system design for affordability and supportability? Does your program manager view you as a highly valued thought-leader during requirements determination, design trade discussions, configuration control boards, technical reviews, and independent logistics assessments? How about when conducting program-level market research, Analysis of Aternatives, crafting the program acquisition strategy, or making source-selection decisions?<br> <br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July_Aug2020/DefAcq_Jul-Aug2020_Article3_figure2.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:right;width:412px;height:400px;" />In a question that may hit close to home, do your program executive officer, program manager, functional community peers, life-cycle logistics staff, and supporting sustainment organizations implicitly trust you as an integral part of the program team? Or are you—and, by extension, product support writ large—generally an afterthought? The time to be concerned, I would contend, is not when the phone is ringing too often but rather when it stops ringing entirely.<br> Now to “get down to brass tacks,” I would encourage you to ask yourself a few tough questions, starting with: How well do you know the details of this extremely complex product support business? Are you a master of your craft? Do you intuitively understand the big picture across your program? Are you the program office go-to product support expert? Are you viewed by your peers as a trusted teammate? Are you perceived as being able to put the needs of your program above your own? Have you established a reputation for positive leadership, trust, rapport, and successfully delivering results? Is “can-do” your byword? Is “yes if,” rather than “no because,” your credo? Is mission-focused “servant leadership” your approach? Are character, collaboration, communication, and integrity your watchwords? And perhaps most important: If not you, who? If not now, when?<br> <br> If after careful consideration your answers are “no,” “not entirely,” “they’re not quite where they need to be,” or “I honestly don’t know,” permit me to encourage you to begin by taking stock and undertaking a concerted effort to hone your acquisition, life-cycle logistics, and product support skills. I might suggest reviewing the myriad resources, training, and references available through the DAU Life Cycle Logistics Functional Gateway at In addition to online, instructor-led, and virtual instructor-led logistics training courses and modules, communities of practices, job support tools, ACQuipedia articles, videos, podcasts, blogs, and even a comprehensive Life Cycle Logistics Professional Reading List, you will find easy access to a range of key DoD product support statutes, policies, and guidance documents.<br> <br> Next, I would recommend taking the time to build trust, rapport, and communication with your internal and external stakeholders, particularly your program office peers and functional community counterparts in the Systems Engineering, Business and Financial Management, Cost Estimating, Contracting, Test and Evaluation, and, of course, Program Management arenas. Take time to learn about their business, and appreciate the issues they face. Seek to expand your understanding of the challenges they’re dealing with, as well as to understand how they align with—and impact—programmatic life-cycle logistics considerations. To paraphrase a longtime colleague, “If you don’t have someone from another defense acquisition workforce functional community as a best friend, go get one”!<br> <br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July_Aug2020/DefAcq_Jul-Aug2020_Article3_figure3.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:479px;height:400px;" />In addition, I encourage you to invest what I somewhat sardonically call “your copious spare time” and energy into becoming your program’s go-to subject-matter expert for all things product support. No matter how good we are (or might think we are), each of us can always be better. To assist in this endeavor, think back to the parlor game called “20 Questions.” This game is designed to encourage participants to leverage innovation, logic, initiative, deductive reasoning, and creative thinking. Running through this game in your own mind affords you a microcosm of more broadly based product support considerations.<br> <br> If I may be so bold, permit me also to suggest a list of “20 Questions” you should consider asking yourself—and readily be prepared to answer if you’re ever asked by your program manager or Service leadership. When you can easily and candidly answer all 20—along with being prepared to provide supporting data, compelling fact-based rationale and context—you will be well on your way to becoming that trusted, highly successful product support subject-matter expert that Congress envisioned, your leadership demands, your colleagues expect, and your team members require. <ol> <li>What is our product support strategy? Are we certain it is the right approach? How do we know?</li> <li>How are we leveraging system test and evaluation and demonstrations to assess and affirm the veracity of our product support strategy?</li> <li>What are our key program product support metrics? Why were they selected? How well do they align with Sustainment Key Performance Parameter, availability, reliability, maintainability, and affordability requirements?</li> <li>When was our Life Cycle Sustainment Plan last updated? What has changed since? When will it next be revised?</li> <li>How effective is your interface, alignment, and integration with the Systems Engineering community? How do you know? Does the product support team have a seat at the table during program technical reviews, configuration control boards, and material improvement program review boards?</li> <li>What is our intellectual property strategy? How was it determined? Can we afford it?</li> <li>What are our primary product support risks—and what are our mitigation plan(s)?</li> <li>What product support should-cost initiatives have we implemented? What were the results? How do we know?</li> <li>When was our most recent Independent Logistics Assessment (or for fielded systems, post-initial operational capability sustainment reviews)? What were the results? What are we doing to resolve shortfalls? When is the next one scheduled?</li> <li>When was our Product Support Business Case Analysis last updated? Results?</li> <li>Who are our product support integrators (PSI) and product support providers (PSP)? Why and how were they selected?</li> <li>What kind of product support arrangements do we have with our PSIs and PSPs? How are we incentivizing desired outcomes? How are we flowing down program-level metrics requirements to the PSIs and each PSP?</li> <li>How do we mitigate risks in instances where we decide to transition sustainment workloads to a new PSI and/or PSPs?</li> <li>What is our depot source of repair strategy? What are the core logistics assessment results? Where applicable, do we have an executable, statutorily compliant plan to maintain and repair our system within 4 years after initial operational capability?</li> <li>Does our maintenance planning include public-private partnerships? Why or why not?</li> <li>Are we leveraging an affordable and effective performance-based logistics product support strategy to meet user performance requirements? Why or why not?</li> <li>What is our Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages and obsolescence mitigation strategy? Is it effective? If not, why not?</li> <li>What is our Supply Chain Risk Management strategy? Does it include—but also extend beyond—cyber threats? Is the entire program team on board?</li> <li>What is our product support funding profile? Does it meet projected support requirements over the Future Years Defense Program?</li> <li>What are our dependencies on—and working relationships with—key stakeholders, including in particular, DoD, Service, international, industry, and (where applicable) interagency sustainment organizations?</li> </ol> Permit me to also add an additional bonus question for your consideration; and perhaps it just might be the most important of all: How satisfied are our Warfighter customers with our product support strategy, planning, and execution?<br> <br> As the DoD stated in its response to the GAO report cited earlier, “… the establishment of this leadership position and its responsibilities within the program offices has strengthened the planning for and consideration of sustainment in defense acquisition programs.” To ensure this is reality and take this to the next level, I would encourage you to join your fellow product support managers across the department in playing (and replaying) this game of 20 Questions! <hr />Kobren is Director of the Logistics and Sustainment Center at the Defense Acquisition University, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.<br> <br> The author can be reached at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/20-Questions--Every-Product-Support-Manager-Should-Be-Prepared-to-Answer
FIAR 2020 - The Nexus Between Acquisition and Audit Remediation 2020 - The Nexus Between Acquisition and Audit Remediation2020-07-01T12:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass8273BF5717F048DB8284A8572717CEC4">Agility, adaptability, and affordability—these words have a great deal in common. Not only do they start with the letter “a” but they also are themes of the Department of Defense (DoD) 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) and necessary considerations for DoD entities conducting business through various acquisition processes. Furthermore, these words shape DoD’s current initiatives and undoubtedly will drive DoD’s future objectives and performance. <br> <br> All DoD entities have been conducting separate, yet much related, efforts that will remain woven into the DoD’s DNA. These efforts, referred to as Financial Improvement and Audit Remediation (FIAR), focus on transparency, accountability, and process improvement to enhance operations. The DoD has received record-high annual budgets to maintain a national-security advantage and to achieve crucial modernization objectives.<br> <br> While the DoD clearly demonstrates success in its warfighting mission, it has been unable to pass a financial audit in accordance with law. A key pillar of the NDS is to “reform the Department for greater performance and affordability.” This objective is equally associated with acquisition as it is with audit remediation. The DoD’s immediate and future success will be directly measured by acquisition outcomes. In addition, success will depend largely on DoD’s ability to transform its business practices and provide audited documentation—proof—to Congress and U.S. taxpayers that DoD is appropriately using, and can be accountable for, the substantial resources received. Let us outline the relationship between DoD’s acquisition and audit remediation efforts and review some valuable information on DoD’s latest FIAR efforts and future expectations to successfully achieve a favorable audit position. <h3>Acquisition—Today</h3> The 2018 NDS has driven DoD’s transformational acquisition activities to support the Warfighter. Specifically, the NDS acknowledged that the United States must enhance its lethal force, strengthen alliances, and modernize business practices to sustain an unmatched competitive advantage. It also explains that longstanding bureaucratic approaches result in immense unresponsiveness and prevent the DoD from capitalizing on opportunities in a timely manner. DoD entities implemented timely actions in recent years to support the NDS. For example, the Army established Army Futures Command in 2018 with the objective of completely modernizing the Army in view of the present environment and expected threats. The Navy created an innovation office in 2019, known as “NavalX,” to develop partnerships and networks to enable improved collaboration on Warfighter needs. In addition, the Air Force hosted innovational “pitch day” events in 2019 and 2020 to attract new partners to support the DoD and help deliver state-of-the-art military solutions. The ultimate Air Force objective is to expand the DoD industrial base while conducting business in highly flexible ways. Finally, in January 2020, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment released official policy and a handbook centered on DoD’s Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF). The AAF is intended to help DoD entities deliver Warfighter capabilities at the speed of relevance since there is no universal acquisition roadmap for all defense-related procurements. While these examples illustrate some of DoD’s impactful initiatives relative to acquisition activities today, it is highly likely that additional changes will continue in future years. <h3>FIAR—Today</h3> FIAR is synonymous with accountability and transparency. It also is a large and ongoing DoD-wide effort that necessitates proper internal controls and risk management. At the broadest level, FIAR efforts require every DoD entity, regardless of size or mission, to provide confidence to U.S. taxpayers and Congress that: (1) financial information is accurate, complete, and fairly presented; and (2) internal controls allow for efficient and effective operations that prevent and deter fraud, waste, and abuse. The effort encompasses many areas, including but not limited to: <ul> <li>Verifying the location, count, and condition of military equipment, general equipment, inventories, and real property</li> <li>Evaluating the methods and documentation used to value DoD’s military equipment within major systems</li> <li>Testing DoD’s business systems to assess data integrity and the risk of security vulnerabilities</li> <li>Validating the existence and accuracy of personnel records documentation</li> </ul> <br> The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (OUSD(C)) FIAR Directorate is the lead DoD office spearheading the FIAR efforts across the enterprise. The OUSD(C) coordinates with each DoD entity’s senior leaders and provides guidance and support to ensure that the FIAR objectives are met. The OUSD(C) also directly supports the Secretary of Defense and regularly engages with Congress on FIAR-related efforts. Beyond DoD organizations, and their personnel and external service providers, the efforts also involve thousands of independent public auditors (IPAs). IPAs perform audits and examinations and assess the effectiveness of corrective actions implemented in response to audit findings and recommendations.<br> <br> Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 is an important year for the DoD and its FIAR efforts as the DoD builds on the results of the extensive audits conducted in FYs 2018 and 2019. The DoD proactively identified priority areas and will continue completing remediation efforts to address the audit findings and recommendations. <h3>Intersection Between DoD Acquisition and FIAR</h3> The DoD’s acquisition and FIAR efforts are different but very much related. Acquisition typically applies to DoD personnel and entities involved with acquisition programs or other functions directly supporting the Warfighter. These efforts account for the majority of DoD’s overall workforce and annual budgets. Alternatively, FIAR applies to all DoD entities and all personnel supporting those entities. This includes the Military Departments, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Combatant Commands, DoD’s Fourth Estate (civilian) agencies, DoD’s field activities, and industry partners. Since FIAR efforts and associated outcomes apply to the entire enterprise across the globe, FIAR efforts remain a priority for all entities ultimately pursuing an unmodified (i.e., clean) audit opinion. As an example, the DoD acknowledged Government Furnished Property as a material weakness and a priority area for remediation in FY 2020.<br> <br> FIAR efforts include collaborating with the acquisition community to discuss and further understand audit requirements and working closely with industry partners to provide what is needed to support the audit. The benefits of the audit go beyond good stewardship of taxpayer dollars. The audit can improve business operations among acquisition activities and enhance national security by mitigating cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The DoD also assumes risks by not obtaining a positive audit opinion. For example, the DoD could lose the confidence and support of U.S. taxpayers and experience enterprise-wide or program-specific budget cuts that could affect competitiveness and Warfighter lethality. <br> <br> The DoD spent approximately $900 million on audit-related efforts in FY 2019. This amount included the costs of audits, examinations, financial systems, remediation efforts, and personnel supporting the audit. Since DoD’s FY 2019 budget was $687.8 billion, the DoD spent roughly 0.13 percent of its total budget on audit-related efforts last year. Although the dollar amount spent to support the audit is similar to how much DoD organizations could spend on some acquisition programs, the percentage spent on audits is comparable to percentages spent by private sector and non-profit entities on audit efforts in relation to total revenues or operating budgets. Additional funding for FIAR efforts will be required beyond FY 2022 pending the DoD’s improvements made or outcomes reached. Congress is closely monitoring the DoD’s progress on FIAR efforts, and the DoD’s inability to obtain an unmodified audit opinion could directly impact the DoD’s ability to complete sound acquisition efforts now and in the future. More time will be needed to complete the changes—the financial management issues were not created overnight. <br> <br> T<img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July_Aug2020/DefAcq_Jul-Aug2020_Article1_Image1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:280px;height:400px;" />he DoD’s mission remains critical and the primary driver for budget requirements will be based on Warfighter needs. Accordingly, Congress must give careful consideration when making funding decisions so the Warfighters and their operations are not impacted negatively. A favorable audit position will provide immense benefits for DoD’s FIAR and acquisition efforts, ultimately fostering efficient processes, better decision making, greater transparency/accountability, fewer audit findings, and better Warfighter support. <h3>FIAR—How We Got Here</h3> FIAR efforts officially began in 2010, but actions to improve the federal government’s financial management processes and systems have been ongoing since 1990. The Chief Financial Officers Act (CFO) of 1990 was enacted to improve the federal government’s financial management practices. Specifically, the law required the implementation of enhanced accounting systems and internal controls to produce reliable financial information. The law also required that financial statements of all federal executive agencies, including the DoD, be audited annually. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 required that DoD’s financial statements be prepared for an audit by end of FY 2017. From FY 2010 through 2017, FIAR efforts were associated with “audit readiness” initiatives since the DoD was prepping itself to successfully undergo its first and highly anticipated audit in FY 2018. FIAR’s theme changed from “audit readiness” to “audit remediation” after the DoD underwent its first audit year. Remediation reflects the DoD’s efforts to address the Notices of Findings and Recommendations (NFRs) as well as the unfavorable audit opinion issued by the IPAs.<br> <br> The DoD remains the only executive agency that has not yet obtained a favorable audit opinion. In addition, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported DoD financial management on its high-risk list since 1995 and the DoD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) reported DoD financial management as one of its top management challenges for FY 2020. Findings from prior year FIAR efforts reveal the severity of material weaknesses and how necessary the audits are from a business standpoint. IPAs issued more than 3,400 NFRs and 2,300 NFRs from the audits performed in FY 2018 and FY 2019, respectively. During the audits, some DoD entities uncovered property, such as weapons systems or facilities, not previously recorded in property management systems or for which proper documentation was not available to support purchases. The DoD received 25 material weaknesses from its FY 2019 audit. The sidebar below identifies the weaknesses.<br> <br> While the financial management challenges and material weaknesses are significant, the DoD has made meaningful progress toward its goal of obtaining an unmodified audit opinion. For instance, the DoD closed more than 600 (approximately 25 percent) of NFRs issued in the FY 2018 audit. Most of those corrective actions taken to close NFRs were related to business systems and information technology. Furthermore, the DoD ascertained that all major military equipment was successfully verified for existence and completeness, no significant problems were found with payments made to military or civilian personnel, and no evidence or instances of fraudulent activities were found.<br> The FIAR efforts have resulted in immediate value and enhanced operations across the DoD. Table 1 outlines some of the success stories. <h3><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July_Aug2020/DefAcq_Jul-Aug2020_Article1_table1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:right;height:600px;width:677px;" />Where We’re Going and How You Fit In</h3> FIAR efforts remain a top priority in FY 2020 and the following years among DoD leadership and all DoD entities. The efforts are accompanied with exceptionally high interest and continuous scrutiny from Congress, the GAO, and the OIG. The DoD began the FY 2020 financial statement audits in January 2020 with the OUSD(C) providing regular updates to Congress on the audit efforts and corrective action plans to better position the DoD toward attaining an unmodified audit opinion. The OUSD(C) expects that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) will alter the timing and scope of the FY 2020 financial statement audits and delay DoD’s remediation activities (particularly those requiring physical access to assets). As a result, the OUSD(C) and the Office of Management and Budget are assessing the full impact of the pandemic relative to financial reporting. The DoD will continue to work with its IPAs to explore alternate testing procedures and adjust as necessary to maintain critical momentum on this important effort.<br> <br> The NFRs and material weaknesses will not go away on their own and will not be resolved overnight. Improvements will only be made if DoD organizations continue to enhance financial management operations, systems, and other supporting activities that link to the FIAR efforts. Personnel in financial management, along with those in contracting, program management, engineering, logistics, information technology, human resources, and other areas play an intrinsic role to reach the desired end state. The OUSD(C) expects the FY 2020 audits will demonstrate valuable progress across the enterprise, including eliminating and/or downgrading of material weaknesses, improving audit opinions for individual entities, and driving continued cultural changes to help the DoD improve and sustain its progress. Figure 1 shares DoD’s “roadmap” based on its current audit strategy and plans.<br> In addition to continuous engagement with Congress, the OUSD(C) will take other actions to ensure that the DoD follows its outlined strategy. Specifically, the OUSD(C) will lead financial management events with DoD’s senior leaders and comptrollers. The ultimate intent is to identify and mitigate significant FIAR-related issues and prioritize corrective actions based on resources. <h3><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July_Aug2020/DefAcq_Jul-Aug2020_Article1_figure1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:735px;height:500px;" />Conclusion</h3> “You are not responsible for the past, but insofar as you do nothing, you are complicit in the present created by it” (Jonathan R. Miller, popular author). It is vital for everyone supporting the DoD to be aware of the FIAR efforts and associated initiatives that will drive future actions for continuous performance improvement and compliance with laws and regulations. The future of DoD acquisition must be accompanied by agility, adaptability, and affordability to achieve the NDS objectives; however, efficient and effective acquisition efforts will be possible only if the entire DoD meets the accountability requirements through its ongoing FIAR efforts. The major efforts planned to reach an acceptable financial state unquestionably will involve all DoD entities, supporting industry partners, and IPAs. The efforts also will remain a team sport since the roadmap to success is not solely dependent on financial management personnel. Collectively, the DoD owes it to the Warfighter and U.S. taxpayers to reach that acceptable state so that the DoD can soundly deliver, and continue to deliver, on national defense. <hr />Kadiri is the Director for Financial Improvement and Audit Remediation (FIAR) Directorate within the Department of Defense (DoD), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (OUSD(C)). She is DoD Financial Management Level III certified, a Certified Defense Financial Manager (CDFM), and a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute. Smith is a staff accountant within the DoD’s FIAR Directorate Office (OUSD(C). She is DoD Financial Management Level III certified, a Certified Defense Financial Manager (CDFM), and leads the DoD Consolidated Audit. Speciale is a Senior Acquisition Specialist supporting the DoD and is a former Professor of Financial Management at the Defense Acquisition University. He is DoD Financial Management Level III certified, a Certified Defense Financial Manager–Acquisition and a Certified Fraud Examiner.<br> <br> The authors can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>; <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>; <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.<br></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/FIAR-2020---The-Nexus--Between-Acquisition--and-Audit-Remediation
The Adaptive Acquisition Framework Adaptive Acquisition Framework2020-07-01T12:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass450E36F2B64B4E718841585143889539">The Adaptive Acquisition Framework or AAF (Figure 1) is a major advancement for modern defense acquisition. It is more than a policy update. It is policy re-envisioned and restructured in a framework that encourages critical thinking by program managers in selecting and tailoring the best-suited approach or pathway for a particular acquisition. It facilitates more rapid delivery to the point of need.<br> <br> The AAF is a powerful tool the Defense Acquisition Workforce can use to ensure that the Warfighter has the systems and services they need. Given the ever-changing environment, made even more unstable by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that Defense Acquisition Workforce members not only familiarize themselves with the AAF resources available to them—especially the interactive AAF website—but stay current and continuously seek out resources and opportunities to help improve acquisition. <br> <br> Stacy Cummings—Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Enablers for Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord—spearheaded the AAF effort, and she will be the first to say it was a team effort. The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) was one of the organizations involved in the process—assisting in writing the policy with input from the military Services and developing an interactive AAF website. DAU also assisted in the rollout—conducting a series of roadshows with Ms. Cummings and other AAF subject-matter experts, engaging directly with the Defense Acquisition Workforce, and producing numerous AAF-oriented webcasts to inform Defense Acquisition Workforce members of the sweeping policy changes and the tools and resources available to them. <br> <br> Recently, Ms. Cummings and DAU President Jim Woolsey met virtually to talk about the AAF rollout and what it means for the future of the AAF and defense acquisition. The following is an excerpt from their conversation. <hr /><strong><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July_Aug2020/DefAcq_Jul-Aug2020_Article2_figure1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:690px;height:500px;" />Jim Woolsey: </strong>To start, can you give us a brief recap of what the AAF is and why Ms. Lord calls it the most transformational policy change in decades?<br> <br> <strong>Stacy Cummings: </strong>I believe Ms. Lord summed up the AAF well when she noted that the hallmark of this policy is how it embraces delegating decision making down to the program offices so they can tailor their approach to delivering capability. This enables them to do so unencumbered by non-value added bureaucratic delays that manifest when excessive approvals are required from senior leaders who don’t fully understand the challenges program managers face day to day.<br> <br> The AAF enables program managers and designated decision makers to move away from the one-size-fits-all model used in the past. The AAF recognizes that every program is unique and needs to be planned and executed based on its individual merits. This is where the philosophy of “tailoring in” versus “tailoring out” really makes a difference. Start with the basics, such as statutory requirements, and consider the unique risk profile of the capability being acquired—this guides the addition when necessary of regulatory elements based on sound management measures. <br> <br> <strong>Jim Woolsey: </strong>The AAF has been out for a few months now. What have you been hearing from the field? Are people using it as intended, and is it making a difference?<br> <br> <strong>Stacy Cummings:</strong> The response from the workforce has been overwhelmingly positive. In the first few months following its release, we conducted several roadshows and talked to as many workforce members as we could to hear their questions and concerns. We then used that feedback to improve the guidance. As you know, Jim, DAU has led a number of Rapid Deployment Training webcasts, and all of them have been well attended and provided the valuable feedback we need to expand and mature the AAF.<br> <br> Since we started prototyping the policy for Middle Tier of Acquisition (MTA) initially in November 2018, we worked with the Components to expand their use of the pathway from zero programs to 68 MTA programs today. We also established an interim policy for software acquisition via a collaborative process that included the Services, programs that want to be early adopters, and industry. Many programs helped shape this interim policy, and many are making plans to transition to the software pathway. Just as we did with the middle tier policy, we will learn from these software programs—and they will inform our final software policy.<br> <br> <strong>Jim Woolsey:</strong> Do you think the workforce has the resources needed to understand the AAF and apply it to their programs?<br> <br> <strong>Stacy Cummings:</strong> The biggest single resource for the workforce is the AAF website, <a href=""></a>. It integrates all of the new acquisition policies with the latest guidance and hundreds of additional resources and is a single, interactive and easy-to-navigate website. One of the most valuable things about the site is that the workforce can navigate the six pathways with curated insights to determine what is required via policy and statute—and the most effective business practice for each. <br> <br> The AAF site also is a place for Services, agencies, and functional leaders to add their specific policies, guidance, and resources for acquisition professionals to develop a complete and integrated solution. Overall, the AAF website has received a great response from the workforce. <br> <br> Ms. Lord and I have both been very appreciative of all of the efforts from DAU. The collaboration between our office, the Services, and DAU has made this rollout successful. Our continued collaboration will ensure that the AAF and the website remain current and relevant far into the future. <br> <br> <strong>Jim Woolsey:</strong> Have there been any surprises or “ah-ha” moments as you’ve talked to people, or seen the things they are doing through the available authorities in the AAF—things that they just weren’t doing before?<br> <br> <strong><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July_Aug2020/DefAcq_Jul-Aug2020_Article2_Image1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:673px;height:250px;" />Stacy Cummings:</strong> Based on our roadshows and presentations to DAU classes, the biggest takeaway has been a new understanding of how to implement the authorities Congress has given us. The brilliance of the AAF is that it lays out the authorities in a clean, understandable framework. The framework also is unique in that it supports and facilitates the use of multiple pathways as programs are developed. <br> <br> <strong>Jim Woolsey: </strong>What has been the Services’ reaction to AAF, and what is their role?<br> <br> <strong>Stacy Cummings: </strong>The Services lead the execution of programs within the Department of Defense. They have been involved from the beginning and have provided significant input into the overarching policies, while also creating and/or updating their own implementing policies to align with those in the AAF. At the end of the day, the successes of the AAF and our programs belong to the Services.<br> <br> <strong>Jim Woolsey: </strong>What do you hope the long-term impact of AAF will be on defense acquisition? <br> <br> <strong>Stacy Cummings:</strong> We strongly believe that the AAF will allow our program managers to innovate and require them to think critically while creating unique, tailored programs based on disciplined risk assessments. This will empower acquisition leaders, enhance the skills of our managers, and contribute to more successful programs that can deliver capability faster and more effectively to their customers for years to come.<br> <br> <strong>Jim Woolsey: </strong>So what’s next? Has all the policy been released, and can we now just sit back and see what happens?<br> <br> <strong>Stacy Cummings: </strong>We should think about policy the same way that we are now thinking about software. That is, policy is never done. We continue to learn as we execute the policy, Congress directs items that can amend our policy, and defense strategy evolves—all of this has to be taken into consideration. So we will continue to communicate with the workforce, observe what is going well and what needs some work, and, of course, stay in constant communication with Congress to ensure our policies are relevant and helpful to our acquisition community.<br> <br> <strong>Jim Woolsey: </strong>Stacy, thank you for taking the time today. I know you’re incredibly busy leading the COVID-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force. Unveiling a major change to acquisition is hard enough on its own, but to do so during a pandemic while also focusing Acquisition and Sustainment support to the emergency response is just incredible. Thank you so much. <br> <br> <strong>Stacy Cummings:</strong> Thank you, Jim. It has been a pleasure.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/The-Adaptive-Acquisition-Framework
System Integration - Enabling Capability Through Connectivity Integration - Enabling Capability Through Connectivity2020-07-01T12:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass20970C708A0544AB954E776DC524D3B9"><h1>Part II: Expeditionary Warfare and Battlespace Management</h1> Recently, I attended a briefing by a major theater commander on the state of readiness of his area of responsibility. He used present-day terms like: “Battlespace”, “Expeditionary Warfare”, “reach-back,” and “lethal weapons” but then sprinkled in discomforting, but not unfamiliar, expressions like “fight with what you have,” “no space uncontested,” and “no safe havens.” Warfighters live with these terms and expressions every day; program managers and contractors, however, may lose sight of them and may need to be reminded. <br> <br> In my first article on system integration and program management (in the November-December 2019 issue of Defense Acquisition magazine), I stressed the need to incorporate: <ul> <li>Risk management and gap analysis</li> <li>Operator/Warfighter participation in program management</li> <li>Meaningful feedback, follow-up, and accountability</li> <li>Modeling and simulation, to include tabletop exercises and/or wargames </li> <li>Non-materiel solutions for materiel shortcomings</li> </ul> <br> This is Part II, linking system integration and program management with expeditionary warfare and battlespace management. It is here where we emphasize the sense of urgency. Put another way: Do everything you have to do—but do it faster. As is often the case, the troops have been waiting too long already.<br> By way of review, system integration is the process of bringing together the component sub-systems into one system. It is an aggregation of subsystems cooperating so that the resultant system is able to deliver an overarching functionality or capability, by ensuring that the subsystems function together as one system. In information technology, it is the process of linking together different computing systems and software applications physically or functionally, to act as a coordinated whole. An integrated system streamlines processes, reduces costs, and increases efficiency. <br> <br> System integration connects multiple discrete subsystems from different sources to work as one. Some subsystems are old, some are new. Program managers usually find that putting the subsystems together as early as possible in the program’s development improves mission effectiveness and helps to ensure seamless connectivity, enabling commanders at the front and at the rear to better execute and evaluate strategic and tactical accomplishment.<br> Figure 1, partially from the first article, graphically displays system integration as an essential subset of program management. It summarizes system integration well enough (I think), including the need for Warfighter involvement. It goes on to show the linking of system integration to the battlespace. This direct and unimpeachable linking may be missing (and/or presumed lost) on contractors and program personnel.<br> <br> Please note again in Figure 1 the need for “Warfighter involvement,” “technological yield,” and “connectivity.” They are essential, in the beginning and throughout a program’s life cycle. They often are neglected in a program’s early stages, but are indispensable not only for managing the program, and for ensuring that subsystems and components successfully address the mission, but for integrating those subsystems into a viable end product (e.g., a weapon system, with all hardware, software, training simulators, and logistic support). <h3><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July_Aug2020/DefAcq_Jul-Aug2020_Article4_figure1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:684px;height:400px;" />Expeditionary Warfare and Battlespace Management</h3> Expeditionary warfare means deploying our fighting forces abroad, normally away from established bases. Historically, U.S. ability to project forces into distant areas has served as an effective diplomatic lever, influencing decision-making processes and acting as a potential deterrent on other states’ inappropriate behavior or adventurism. <br> <br> The aircraft carrier strike group, strategic bomber, ballistic missile submarine, and strategic airlifter are all examples of power projection platforms. Military units designed to be light and mobile, such as airborne forces (paratroopers and air assault forces) and amphibious assault forces, are utilized in power projection. Forward basing is another method of power projection, which, by pre-positioning military units or stockpiles of arms at strategically located military bases outside a country’s territory, reduces the time and distance needed to mobilize them. <br> <br> Expeditionary forces are the precursor of the rapid deployment forces. They must be (at least initially) self-sustaining, with a viable logistics support capability and with constant and undeviating Stateside connectivity. <br> <br> As the distance between a fighting force and its directing headquarters increases, command and control inevitably become more difficult. Modern-day power projection requires high-tech communications and information technology to succeed. Ships at sea in surface action groups (e.g.; an aircraft carrier and assigned cruisers and destroyers), capable of communicating with each other, must now coordinate with supplementing forces of other nations and with rear echelons. Missions, as well as forces, must be coordinated. Information, the one weapon that can be in more than one place at the same time, must be disseminated—rapidly and precisely. And you cannot do that if communications systems are not totally integrated and uncompromisingly reliable.<br> Strategy in the briefing room becomes tactics at the front; and “fight with what you have” —the unfortunate cliché in the briefing room becomes the unhappy battle cry at the front.<br> <br> Table 1, like Figure 1 above, expands the original table in Part I to include expeditionary warfare and battlespace management. The requirements are the same, and a shortcoming at the beginning carries through to the end.<br> <br> Having (notionally) brought operating forces into the theater, the next step is to organize, manage, and optimize operations in the battlespace. <br> The military operational environment has transformed from primarily a time and space-driven, linear understanding (a “battlefield”) to a multi-dimensional system of systems understanding (a battlespace)—a system of systems. Battlespaces are more complex, primarily because of the information age. Today, militaries are expected to understand the effects of their actions on the operational environment as a whole, and not just in the military domain of their operational environment.<br> <br> Battlespace management describes a unified military strategy to integrate and combine expeditionary and allied armed forces in military theaters of operations; including land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace, to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, and complete the mission. Our Warfighters must work with allied forces and often within different chains of command and spans of control. Artillery fire, Naval gunfire, and close air support, (e.g.; during amphibious landings), often delineated with imaginary boundary lines, challenge compatibility and connectivity. Similar goals and objectives must be achieved using dissimilar forces and resources. <br> <br> Superiority in the battlespace also means that the speed at which the warfighting organization develops and transforms knowledge into actions for desired effects in the battlespace must be faster than the opposition at doing the right actions at the right time and place. <br> <br> Battlespace agility depends upon the quality of situational awareness and holistic understanding of the battlespace, in order to determine the best actions—a logic that has become a driving force behind a renaissance of interest in the quality of military intelligence. It is also about executing the most effective actions in the most efficient manner relative to achieving the desired impact.<br> <br> It is worth remembering that, if a weapons system or platform has reached the battlespace, it had better reflect the absolute best tenets and efforts of Department of Defense (DoD) program management. It may be impossible to fix a problem in theater, with any degree of timeliness.<br> Once the system or platform is in theater, reach-back support must be structured, streamlined, and responsive, to ensure optimum performance. Unfortunately, even in the cyber age, connectivity between key nodes of the supply chain Stateside and the Warfighters in the battlespace continues to be sluggish, erratic, and bordering on dysfunctional. This after more than 18 years in Afghanistan and twice that long in the Middle East. <br> <br> Again, the Theater Commander in his briefing used the terms: “No safe havens,” “no uncontested spaces,” and “lethal weapons.” DoD has serious limits on where, how much, and how often it can exercise forces in advance of actual operations. And we need to consider all weapons as lethal. Therefore, training exercises, especially in advance of a unit’s deployment, must be up to date, and as realistic as possible, consistent with safety. Lessons learned from the exercises must be comprehensive and meaningful— with maximum dissemination and with realistic, measurable, corrective action plans. <br> <br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July_Aug2020/DefAcq_Jul-Aug2020_Article4_table1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:right;width:645px;height:400px;" />Weapons systems and platforms (e.g., HUMVEEs [High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle]), once in the battlespace, must have all compatibility issues resolved; and range and depth of replacement parts equal demand. Quantities of consumables (e.g., gas masks and cannisters) must reflect normal and surge requirements, and be subject to periodic review and verification. <br> <br> Tactical decisions in support of battlespace management (e.g.; in a surface action group) must address all of the above, under fluctuating conditions of infrastructure, weather, terrain, and the electromagnetic spectrum; and reflect threat assessments, intelligence, and situational awareness within the operational areas and areas of focus. <br> <br> Optimally, in-theater tactical decisions should reflect pre-deployment fleet and/or logistics exercises, wargames, and tried and true concepts of operations, using tried and true weapons and platforms, in accordance with well-developed concepts of operations (CONOPS). This may no longer be possible, as we run out of both time, space, and opportunity to practice core competencies. And there never seems to be sufficient funding to support meaningful training. Funding for mission essentials such as training schools, software, and simulators—which should be fenced or consigned to these uses only—often is expended during the building phase to solve a problem, and no longer available when needed for its original purposes. <br> <br> Deploying units replacing their counterparts in-theater requires a comprehensive pre-deployment turnover strategy, one that reflects months of connectivity and interaction before the actual turnover takes place. <h3>Summary</h3> System Integration is an indispensable subset of Program Management. Programs become products, and products find their way to the Battlespace. They must perform as required (and sustainably) in the Battlespace; U.S. lives and missions may depend on it. If that product, be it a weapons system, platform, or a piece of communication equipment, fails—someone may not make it home alive. <br> <br> If a weapon system or platform has reached the Battlespace, it had better reflect the absolute best doctrines and efforts of proactive DoD program management.<br> <br> “Fight with what you have,” the unfortunate cliché in the briefing room remains the unhappy battle cry at the front. <br> <br> Program managers and contractors must recognize and support what warfighters already know all too well, that: <ul> <li>Weapon systems or platforms have vital end uses in support of mission commitments.</li> <li>Successful end use requires urgency of arrival in-theater, and sustainability of operations in-theater.</li> <li>U.S. lives and U.S. missions depend on those weapons systems and platforms. </li> </ul> <br> And rapid deployment does not mean rapid conclusion. There are currently no short-term involvements and there are not likely to be any. Eighteen-plus years in Afghanistan proves that. Please see my articles on Afghanistan Reconstruction in the January-February 2020 and May-June issues of Defense Acquisition magazine.<br> <br> I have spent more than 50 years in direct or indirect support of the DoD. If one of my programs showed signs of failure and I did not act, I would rather have faced a dozen unhappy flag officers in the Pentagon than one unprotected 19-year-old Service member at the front. <hr />Razzetti, a retired U.S. Navy captain, is a management consultant, auditor, military analyst, and frequent contributor to Defense Acquisition magazine and the former Defense AT&L magazine. He is the author of five management books, including Fixes that Last—The Executive’s Guide to Fix It or Lose It Management.<br> <br> The author can be reached at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/System-Integration--Enabling-Capability-Through-Connectivity