Sign In
App icon

DAU App

Available Now!
Get the App
Click Here to Continue Browser Session   ❯

 

 

Adaptive Acquisition: A Cure for Contract Inertiahttps://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=166Adaptive Acquisition: A Cure for Contract Inertia2020-01-01T17:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-6.jpg, https://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-6.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-6.jpg<div class="ExternalClass9F2C134084AE4953B235B735408A7E16">Change is required to be efficient, effective and proactive in today’s fast-paced and rapidly changing world. Dr. Kurt Lewin’s Change Theory offers a model for change. This model suggests three steps in change management: unfreeze (preparing for the desired change), change (implementing the desired change), and refreeze (solidifying the desired change).<br> <br> Change often is resisted, and the result may be inertia (remaining unchanged). “That’s just the way we’ve always done it” is a common response that implies a resistance to change. Resistance to change can occur at both the individual (e.g., fear, new learning or disruptions of stable relationships) and the organizational level (e.g., threat to power structure, system relationship, sunk costs, vested interests or inertia of organizational structure). Correspondingly, there are internal (e.g., new technology, changing work values, creating new knowledge or product obsolescence) and environmental forces for change (e.g., competition activities, changes in consumer demands, resource availability, social and political change, or international change). The question then becomes how to facilitate change given resistance. Lewin’s model suggests that the need for change must be determined, support ensured, resistance managed and understood and its importance recognized. In commercial markets, customers increasingly are demanding faster transactions, establishing focus for business operations, in terms of reaching customer needs faster and with more flexibility. From Amazon’s one-day shipping to Little Caesar’s grab-and-go pizzas, both capitalize on speed to meet consumer demands.<br> <br> Within the military, the need for rapid acquisition is increasingly pertinent; however, transactions for defense equipment and services often are not facilitated as rapidly as in the commercial sector. The current acquisition process is much more complex and requires much more coordination between the two parties (government and the contractor) and therefore ultimately require more time. However, the current acquisition system allows for programs to tailor their acquisition strategies, based on the needs and the priorities of their respective programs. Such options include (as laid out in the Defense Acquisition University [DAU] Contracting Cone) Other Transaction Authorities (OTAs), Procurement for Experiments, and Research and Development (R&D) Agreements. Therefore, examining these options, and what current programs have employed these options, will provide the best opportunity to streamline the acquisition process and avoid contract inertia. <h3><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2020/DefAcq_Jan20_article5_image1.jpg" style="width:433px;height:150px;float:left;margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;" />Past and Current State of Affairs</h3> Over the last 18 years, the United States has engaged in the War on Terror with adversaries that have had deficient technical capabilities. However, according to the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS), present peer state adversaries, such as China and Russia, are beginning to boost their military capabilities and close their gap with U.S. military supremacy. The NDS further calls on the need for innovation, speed and agility to combat these new threats. As opposed to the War on Terror, direct war with a peer-state adversary would require a revamped acquisition process. Prevention of such a war should be the focus of U.S. policy.<br> <br> The best prevention based on the NDS is deterrence. Such deterrence could come in the form of acquisition agility. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act calls for increased acquisition agility, as well as the intent of producing rapid capabilities for the U.S. military. Maintaining and improving these capabilities would be a viable and efficient way to deter such emerging threats. It is not enough to simply have the military hardware and services available for production; rather, it is essential to rapidly acquire and deploy these capabilities to the field, or as needs demand. Therefore, the speed of production, while necessary, depends on the transaction speed as dictated by the contracting and acquisition process. But what if this process could be improved? <h3>Contract Inertia</h3> Becoming faster and more agile requires change. One barrier to change is “contract inertia”: comfort in a standardized transactional process and an unwillingness to change such a process, even if the result is more streamlined. Education can reduce this barrier. Sometimes inertia occurs as the participants have failed to recognize that the environment has changed, and that the present system, and its requirements, or assumptions, may also have changed. For example, consider the QWERTY system used on modern keyboards; this system was originally designed in the age of mechanical typewriters to slow typing, in order to avoid the jamming of the metal keys. With modern keyboards, there no longer is a need to slow down the typing and yet the system persists. Arguably, this resistance could be rooted in complacency, comfort or resistance to change, and yet its present users also may not know of the basic rationale for the original system, which has been largely forgotten over time. Thus, part of the impetus for change lies in understanding why there could be resistance. This resistance could be rooted in fear, risk aversion, control, perceived inefficiencies, process ownership, and commitment to past actions, to name a few motivations.<br> <br> In any case, communicating, disseminating and learning are essential components to facilitating change. Therefore, within government contracting, while current systems such as the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) are put in place for most standard programs, in times of need and rapid innovation, flexible options should be explored and considered. <h3>Flexibility in Defense Contracting</h3> Within the FAR, flexibility in contracting is allowed for both the government and contractors on a case-by-case basis. As mentioned, even outside the FAR within defense contracting, there are alternative options such as OTAs, Procurement for Experiments, and R&D Agreements. The options are in place; we need to ask, “When should these options be deployed and what are the pros and cons of such utilization?” The FAR and its supplements obviously were put in place for a reason. Doing away with these standards entirely would not be advisable. Making significant changes also will not be a near-term option, due to the time needed to implement the changes, have the changes flow down, and for the industry adapt to these modifications. Instead, adaptive approaches based on case-by-case program requirements should continue to be utilized.<br> Every defense program is different, each with varied priorities and complexities. Thus, it would be overly simplistic to assume that flexibility in contracting can apply in the same way to all programs. Doubtless, some contracting methods, such as the standard FAR/DFARS regulations, are in place to facilitate a standardized approach applicable for most defense programs. However, OTAs or R&D Agreements are options that should be considered more openly to ensure that there is a more flexible contracting approach. <h3>The New Deterrence: Rapid Deployment and Agility</h3> In military-based Deterrence Theory, there is concept of having an advanced weapon capability with no intention of using it except as a last resort. The premise of this theory is that the fear of retaliation prevents aggression on the part of adversary powers. This Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) policy has worked in the past Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.<br> <br> Today, this threat is given more weight depending on the possible speed with which a response can be made. The ability to field new military capabilities and have adequate services available as rapidly as possible facilitates deterrence. Of course, R&D of such defense technology will make up the bulk of the turnaround time for deployment, there will be an equally important transaction time through the appropriate requests for proposals to received proposals, to contract award, and then to follow-on contracts. Contractual arrangements between the government and the contractor pave the way for deploying hardware and services. Therefore, a focus on speed and flexibility in acquisition is a necessity in deterring emerging threats to both the United States and its allies. <h3>Path Forward</h3> Following Lewin’s model, change requires communication, clarification, empowerment and involvement in the process. Current acquisition needs to be cognizant of peer-state adversaries and prepare for new domains of future conflict. For example, the Department of Defense has prioritized hypersonic technology, given the clear advances in this technology by Russia and China. Director James Faist of the Defense Research and Engineering for Advanced Capabilities argued that OTAs, in this case, could avoid the obstacles of traditional contracting, “The intent is to get rid of the contractual … valley of death.” That valley is any hindrance to acquisition speed and agility.<br> At present, there is no one size fits all approach, but proper planning for future needs is a necessity. This requires an ongoing situation analysis—meaning intelligence gathering, in terms of the present system, its assumptions, its requirements, and where there are opportunities for a competitive advantage, which in turn provide opportunity for deterrence.<br> <br> If rapid deployment and agility are viable to deterrence, then one competitive advantage would be innovativeness in the process of change itself. As suggested by the strategy advisor, Ross Dawson, such innovation governance would center on a unified vision. This vision would prioritize innovation objectives and would reveal how innovation contributes to future success. Of course, to manage risk, an organizations’ risk-to-reward tolerance must be clarified, prior to the development of management team capabilities and establishment of organizational structures and processes. Finally, success hinges on extensive dissemination of this overall innovative vision, within the boundaries of established risk tolerance. However, fundamental to innovation (a form of change) is the understanding of the compelling reason for change, as outlined by this article—essentially, an inability to adapt (inertia and complacency) could be considered a national security risk.<br> <br> Such risk is not deterred solely by awareness but also by the ability to proactively act when there is a threat (e.g., cyber-terrorism, a significant threat to the United States), for which until now there has been little preparation. As it stands, however, the government does have options at its disposal, but these options need to be utilized on a proactive as opposed to a reactive basis. Being efficient and agile are parts of being proactive.<br> <br> Peer adversaries are moving faster than ever in defense. In order for the United States to maintain its military superiority, it must be adaptive, not only in the production process but also in the transactional process through its contracting methodology. Thus, contract inertia or inertia of any kind that hinders innovation and puts U.S. defense advancement at risk could be a significant national security risk that requires resolution.<br> <br> It is necessary to move a change plan forward to complete the third step in Lewin’s model. Consistent with this but providing further guidance from common elements across other change models, is a framework offered by the University of Virginia. This involves communications, engagement, training, support, metrics and transition sustainment. More specifically, this plan depends on defining the need, the change, assessing the environment and, finally, the impact on the three types of change (people, process/structure and technology). To succeed, two-way communication and engagement are needed to explain the “why” and the desired outcomes, while understanding and developing the human resources and embedding change into systems, processes, and policies (anchoring the changes in the culture). This change will require reinforcement, measurement, continuous improvement, and the celebration of successes, in order to battle contract inertia and maintain competitiveness in deterrence and security risks to the United States and its allies. <hr />Quiñones is a contracts professional of the Lockheed Martin Corporation and is experienced in government and commercial contracting, acquisition management, international business and market research. He holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in Melbourne, Florida. Cudmore is a professor at the FIT’s Bisk College of Business and has a Ph.D. in Business (Marketing) from the University of South Carolina in Columbia.<br> <br> The authors can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href="mailto:equinones2015@my.fit.edu">equinones2015@my.fit.edu</a> and <a class="ak-cke-href" href="mailto:acudmore@fit.edu">acudmore@fit.edu</a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Adaptive-Acquisition---A-Cure-for-Contract-Inertia
Leaning Forward Into the New Yearhttps://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=162Leaning Forward Into the New Year2020-01-01T12:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-2.jpg, https://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-2.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-2.jpg<div class="ExternalClass7369FAF0D76D49CAA9D58C86A1509DEF">A new year has begun for OUR team. We continue using the momentum built thus far to propel us forward. Take a look at where we have come from. <br> <br> On Feb. 1, 2018, we stood up the new Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S) organization as mandated by Congress—and on Sept. 4, 2018, we had our first official day as a reorganized department. Of course, we used this opportunity to better shape our organization and acquisition system to meet the demands of the 21st century. Even while leadership has changed, our mission endures: Enable the Delivery and Sustainment of Secure and Resilient Capabilities to the Warfighter and Internal Partners Quickly and Cost Effectively. Our National Defense Strategy was instrumental as we built departmental norms and strategy. <br> <br> A&S employees at all levels are driving the organization forward together, full speed ahead with several significant projects.<br> <br> For starters, the Adaptive Acquisition Framework has been introduced, along with a rewrite of what had become a cumbersome document, the Department of Defense (DoD) Instruction 5000 Series. This way forward removes a longstanding system of bureaucracy and red tape by turning the procurement process into one that empowers users to be creative decision makers and problem solvers. The acquisition workforce will choose between a set of established pathways and timelines—specifically designed for a diversity of purchases—requiring different levels of urgency. Using the new policy, acquisition professionals will be given autonomy, within legal parameters, to churn up tailored solutions. All of these revisions should allow for DoD partnerships with commercial industry in real time, enabling the DoD to keep products up to date with emerging technologies, and delivering capabilities “at the speed of relevance.” <br> <br> Improving program sustainment outcomes for the F-35 fighter jet is another top priority for A&S. Developed to replace multiple U.S. fighter jets with a platform that maximizes commonality, and therefore economies of scale, the DoD has fielded three configurations to satisfy United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy and multiple international partners’ tactical aircraft requirements. A&S is dedicated to achieving the DoD’s aim for an 80 percent mission capability rating by defining performance imperatives, metrics, establishing detailed success elements and applying commercial best practices. These efforts help ensure a ready and affordable fleet of fifth-generation fighters critical to preserving air dominance both for the United States and our allied partners in this era of strategic competition.<br> <br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2020/DefAcq_Jan20_article1_image1.jpg" style="margin:3px;float:left;width:350px;height:400px;" />Like anywhere else, DoD systems are enabled by hardware but are defined by the software used. With the technology industry innovating quickly, the DoD must figure out how to keep up with fast moving software development and life cycles. By engaging Agile and DevOps methods for more iterative processing, end users will be involved earlier and more often, enabling continuous integration and helping the DoD meet its goal to develop and sustain software simultaneously. Based on recommendations by the Defense Innovation Board, a new software acquisition policy of approaching the challenge from the business side is being finalized to allow for these more rapid techniques. Pilot programs are rolling out to define corresponding procedures even further. Along these lines, the DoD has asked Congress to specifically appropriate money for defense software and is awaiting budget review and National Defense Authorization Act spending decisions. <br> <br> The Cyber Security Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) was developed (using the best industry standards) to ensure the cyber hygiene of the Defense Industrial Base is complete and protects critical information in the DoD. As part of the CMMC, a consortium of unbiased parties will oversee the training, quality and administration of a third party that will certify that industrial base partners uphold accepted standards. This effort was spearheaded by our Acquisition team in working to roll out version 0.6 of the model by November 2019 and version 1.0 by the first of this year. The consortium is to begin training and accreditation of certifiers with certification beginning by June. Contracts will be required to include this certification in their evaluation criteria, beginning this October.<br> <br> Chemical agents Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) are part of a larger chemical class known as Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Following a health advisory issued by the Environmental Protection Agency that warned against PFAS chemicals in drinking water, studies discovered the presence of the harmful agents in many industrial and consumer products, including nonstick cookware and microwave popcorn bags.<br> <br> In DoD applications, the chemicals have been found in firefighting foam used to rapidly extinguish fuel fires. Although successful in protecting against catastrophic loss of life and property, it is now known that the release of PFAS can potentially contaminate private wells and public water systems. A national committee and a task force were established to provide an aggressive, holistic approach to find and fund an effective substitute for firefighting foam without PFAS, develop and implement cleanup standards, make lasting policy change, and coordinate across federal agencies. The DoD discontinued land-based use of the firefighting foam in training, testing and maintenance. Now, when the foam is used in emergencies to save lives, releases are treated as a chemical spill. Affected soil is contained and removed, to ensure that no additional PFAS pollute the groundwater. The DoD has identified 36 drinking water systems containing unsafe PFOS and PFOA—some of those systems are servicing military installations and surrounding communities. In an effort to protect these areas, A&S is using investigative data to prioritize the U.S. Government’s actions in appropriately addressing drinking water issues caused by DoD activities. <br> <br> Going forward, the A&S organization will continue aligning itself to support the DoD’s top priorities. These projects, and many others, are critical pieces that fit together into the much larger goals of defending the country and arming the Warfighter. <br></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Leaning-Forward--Into-the-New-Year
Afghanistan Operations Reconstructionhttps://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=163Afghanistan Operations Reconstruction2020-01-01T12:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-1.jpg, https://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-1.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-1.jpg<div class="ExternalClass8FEC1CB58BB546A0A8E16FDFCE0DAC33">Congress created the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) as an independent agency—not under any single department. SIGAR is the only inspector general focused specifically on the Afghanistan mission.<br> <br> SIGAR’s final report, upon which this article is based in part, was comprehensively developed and professionally presented. Its eight chapters span the entire Afghanistan “experience” and should be a valued reference document for military and civilian professionals in the Department of Defense (DoD). Each chapter ends with “Key Findings” and “Recommendations.” The report identified, as it must, many issues of international foreign policy, NATO, global strategy and politics—all beyond the control of DoD program managers (PMs) and other acquisition professionals, and all beyond the scope of this article. However, the report identified issues that are within the control of DoD PMs and acquisition professionals, and provided actionable recommendations, and these are within the scope of this article.<br> <br> Chapter 4, “Equipping the Force,” and Chapter 5, “U.S. Based Training,” are the focus of this article and provide valuable program management instruction, independent of “politics.” That said, PMs and other acquisition professionals, knowing that they cannot change politics must, nonetheless, appreciate its existence, and be mindful of it as they execute their programs. Similarly, the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program is another area exerting an influence. FMS program execution is unique in Afghanistan. Referred to throughout the report as the “pseudo FMS” program, it does not follow traditional FMS procedures, which caused numerous issues in theater. <br> <br> The good news is that your work is still “Program Management,” which, when robustly executed, results in a superior, mission-fulfilling product—whether that product is going to Afghanistan or Arkansas. <h3>Summary of Applicable I.G. Findings</h3> Table 1 covers (in greatly condensed fashion) some of the applicable findings of the report. <br> <br> Does it look bad? You bet, but let’s be guided by a few thoughts. First, U.S.-based acquisition professionals must get involved in decision making earlier, ensuring that we’re providing the right products for the mission. Next, we must make those products as provably effective, robust, reliable and sustainable as possible. Next, we need to qualify (not just train) operators, leaders, advisors and logisticians the best that we can. Last, if we don’t do our jobs as best we can, the first one to know it will be that young soldier standing out there in the sand. Let that sink in, and let’s get back to work.<br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2020/DefAcq_Jan20_article2_table1.jpg" style="width:813px;height:500px;" /> <h3>Equipping the Force </h3> Chapter 4 of the report, titled “Equipping the Force,” described the Afghan National Defense and Security Force, or “ANDSF’ since 2002. Lack of consistency and direction took a heavy toll on equipping decisions—initially and throughout life cycles—and often lacked the involvement of all stakeholders. No further discussion of those decision-making processes is needed, except to sketch a more streamlined approach as shown in Figure 1 and described in the paragraphs that follow. <br> <br> Note first the inputs in the boxes to the left. These boxes cover essential program management practices that, stated generally or specifically, were found lacking in-theater. The boxes are, for the most part, self-explanatory, except the top and bottom boxes. Training, as will be discussed later, must be in place, provably effective and focused on the right individuals and teams; and the overarching objective is the ultimate transfer of ownership to the forces in theater. <br> <br> The boxes to the right are where “partnership” is molded in mutual respect and where preparation plus competence plus early/continuing involvement equal productivity. <br> This more accommodating decision-making process satisfies both DoD and FMS requirements, especially in how it includes partner nation involvement in the planning, execution, Continental United States or (CONUS ) reach back, sustainability and configuration management, risk and threat definition/mitigation, development of Concepts of Operation, or “CONOPS,” and in the feedback loops.<br> <br> The pseudo-FMS process increases roles and responsibilities for personnel in-theater, who are not as qualified as CONUS-based acquisition professionals, who (according to the report) are being “sidelined.”<br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2020/DefAcq_Jan20_article2_figure1.jpg" style="height:400px;margin:5px;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;float:left;width:633px;" /> <h3>1. Mission Identification—Get Acquisition Experts Involved at the Beginning</h3> Mission identification and adherence posed a continuing challenge, often due to lack of communication between the United States and its partner nations. A mission, before it can hope to be accomplished successfully, must be appropriate, realistic, actionable, measurable and fully understood and concurred in by all participants. Anything less is unsafe and self-destructive.<br> <br> Missions must be realistic sub-sets of a realistic “vision.” Then missions should be broken down into measurable goals, objectives and milestones. Otherwise, missions will be as specious and meaningless as “end world hunger” or “make the world safe for democracy.” <br> <br> Only after PMs and Warfighters, together with partner nation counterparts, have agreed on the missions, and on how (and with what) to execute them, can they move on to identify threats, risks and vulnerabilities. <h3>2. Identify Threats, Risks and Vulnerabilities</h3> Threat Assessment is the practice of determining the credibility and seriousness of a potential threat, as well as the probability that the threat will become a reality. It consists of (first) identifying the threats, and then prioritizing them in order of danger level, and identifying mitigations or solutions. Identifying threats, weaknesses/vulnerabilities of own forces to the threats, and mission criticality is called risk assessment; and when courses of corrective action are explored, it becomes risk management. <h3>3. Identify the Capability Gap—Partners, Not Customers </h3> The report states that the “pseudo-FMS” process does not compel the United States to seek “buy in” from the host/partner country. It is considered a best practice, but not mandatory, as it would be with traditional FMS. When carried to the extreme, partner nations end up with equipment that, according to the report, they “don’t want, don’t use, and didn’t ask for.” DoD can correct this when assessing the capability gap between the mission and the available assets. Figure 11 on Page 70 of the report compares FMS and pseudo-FMS processes.<br> <br> A capability is not simply a weapon or piece of equipment. It is a complex system of mutually reinforcing inputs that combine to enable military units to execute necessary functions in support of a mission. A capability gap may exist within an already existing system, or outside, where the risks, threats or vulnerabilities are yet to be assessed. Closing capability gaps requires that U.S. and partner forces work together, coalescing synergistically, producing outcomes exceeding those of the same forces working separately or when not cooperating. Partner forces must truly be thought of as partners—not hosts and definitely not customers. <br> <br> Material solutions (e.g.; improved sensors) or non-material solutions (e.g.; revisions to the CONOPS) can close capability gaps. Non-material solutions may close those gaps faster and sooner. <h3>4. Configuration Enforcement—Give Everyone the Same Upgrade </h3> Configuration management is a critical sub-set of every acquisition program. It refers to systems ­engineering processes that establish and maintain consistency of product performance. Configuration enforcement, however, ensures that functional and physical attributes remain consistent with design and operational requirements throughout the life of the product. Configuration enforcement may be the single most useful tool in the configuration manager’s toolbox. <h3><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2020/DefAcq_Jan20_article2_figure2.jpg" style="margin:3px;float:right;width:452px;height:300px;" />5. Connectivity—Don’t Leave Home Without It </h3> Connectivity refers to a program’s or device’s ability to link with other programs or devices. A program that can import data from a wide variety of sources and can export data in many different formats is said to have “good connectivity,” especially when connecting to or communicating with another computer or computer system. The finest sub-systems are useless (or at least fall short) if they cannot effectively connect with each other and form a system. Connectivity in decision making means harnessing information from many information generators into one total picture—often called the Commander’s Dashboard. <br> <br> The I.G. report was replete with illustrations of where connectivity was lacking or nonexistent—between systems, staffs and hemispheres. People were operating different systems, not coordinating and failing to implement a comprehensive total package approach. Activities were not “synched” to a common purpose. I.G. team members used the term “Powerless Middlemen” to describe ineffectual or superfluous participants—unnecessary links in an overly slack supply chain. In-theater personnel reportedly resorted to “internet research” rather than using structured procedures to locate and procure needed supplies and replacement parts.<br> <br> Connectivity with internal and external support sub-systems, and the corresponding systems of partner nations, must exist from the earliest developmental processes and throughout a product’s service life. In-theater forces should be able to connect with any resource—any time and any place. <h3>6. Mission-Centric Foreign Military Sales and DoD Program Management</h3> The DoD program facilitates sales of U.S. arms, defense equipment, defense services, and military training to foreign governments. The purchaser does not deal directly with the defense contractor. Instead, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency serves as an intermediary, usually handling procurement, logistics and delivery, and often providing product support, training, and infrastructure construction (such as hangars, runways, utilities, etc.). <br> <br> The FMS stated goals include: <ul> <li>Identification of requirements (item, quantity, delivery time)</li> <li>Initial support requirements (test equipment, power units) </li> <li>Operational concept (mission, number of bases, hours)</li> <li>Training (English language skills, maintenance, operations, supply)</li> <li>Configuration management </li> <li>Services (site survey, quality assurance, transportation) </li> <li>Follow-on support (spares, repair, pubs, ammo)</li> <li>Again, we’re discussing traditional, not pseudo FMS.</li> </ul> While the FMS procurement, training, and support path may be different from normal DoD procedures, the “end product”—a working combat system capable of delivering measurable results when used by trained operators, looks the same to the engineer, builder and Warfighter. That’s especially true with a mission-centric approach. Figure 2 makes a mission-centric comparison of DoD and FMS program requirements. It also argues that sound DoD program management (including the continuing involvement/consultation of acquisition professionals) is critical to FMS process success. <h3><img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2020/DefAcq_Jan20_article2_table2.jpg" style="margin:5px;float:left;width:668px;height:500px;" />7. Total Package Approach</h3> The total package approach (TPA) ensures that items can be operated and maintained in the future and that FMS purchasers can obtain support articles and services required to introduce and sustain equipment. It is a way to ensure that FMS customers are aware of and are given the opportunity to plan for and obtain needed support items, training and services from the U.S. Government contractors, or from within the foreign country’s resources that are required to introduce and operationally sustain major items of equipment or systems.<br> <br> Table 2 describes how success in a DoD program’s management means success in FMS as well. With all this in mind, we proceed to the next section.<br> <br> <strong>Training—Train, Advise and Assist</strong><br> Chapter 5 of the report is titled: “U.S. Based Training.” The report deals with training partner-nation personnel in the United States. Corrections to those shortcomings are beyond the scope of this article. The chapter makes a plea to DoD to train, advise and assist, in any way that it can to measurably mitigate or eliminate as many training shortcomings as possible—regardless of their sources or intended remedies. <h3>8. Training Package Development</h3> Figure 3 describes common areas of stateside training and qualification that lend themselves to in-theater training packages. <br> <br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2020/DefAcq_Jan20_article2_figure3.jpg" style="margin:5px;float:right;width:531px;height:300px;" />Many of the following in-theater training schemes for the common training and qualification shown in Figure 3 already are in use but could increase mission <ul> <li>Make the training “qualification-specific.” Establish the qualifications for specific positions (e.g., HUMVEE maintenance manager, CBRNE trainer/instructor). </li> <li>Conduct senior-level workshops in risk management, concept development, and measures of effectiveness. Risk management and concept validation build on a set of parameters established, initially, for trade-off studies of selected processes, products, or tactics. Participants must be proficient in these if they are ever to assume full responsibility and management. </li> <li>Train/qualify U.S. and partner personnel in tailored, streamlined, acquisition management and CONUS (Contiguous United States) reach-back procedures, to maximize connectivity and minimize time spent awaiting replacement parts. </li> <li>Develop focused checklists and flowcharts for critical procedures and inspections (e.g., site hardening, supply chain security management, tactical operations centers). A structured and comprehensive set of checklists can make its user an experienced inspector with its first use. </li> <li>Add to all these a capabilities-based or qualification-based “mindset” that focuses on the ability of a person or process to get a job done. </li> </ul> <h3>9. Needs Assessment—Closing the Capability Gap</h3> With missions, risks, threats and vulnerabilities established and prioritized as described earlier, the needs assessment follows. A needs assessment is a systematic process for determining and addressing needs, or “gaps” between current and desired conditions. The discrepancy between the current condition and wanted condition must be measured to appropriately identify the need in quantifiable terms and to identify a viable solution. The need can be a desire to improve current performance or to correct a deficiency in a system, organization or strategy. <br> <br> Needs assessments improve the quality of policy or program decisions—thus leading to improvements in performance and mission accomplishment. Needs assessments guide decisions regarding design, implementation, and evaluation of projects and programs, as well as individual and team training and/or qualifications. <h3>10. Metrics and Measures of Effectiveness</h3> The report mentions repeatedly that training effectiveness was measured with great difficulty, when measured at all. DoD can look back on many years of effective data collection and analysis, and needs only to apply and share that knowledge with partner nations using such measures of effectiveness as (to list only a few): <ul> <li>Number of qualified flight and maintenance crews</li> <li>Vehicle/aircraft up time</li> <li>Missions scheduled versus missions completed</li> <li>Number of sorties/flight hours</li> <li>Losses, personnel and equipment</li> </ul> <br> Many years ago, I worked for an admiral who could take down the most confidant readiness briefer with a simple question: “How did we prove that?” <h3>Summary </h3> If we can’t fix it, we can at least make it better.<br> <br> The report of the special inspector general leaves acquisition professionals (first) with great respect and appreciation that such an endeavor could be done so professionally, leaving us with an invaluable reference document. Next, it leaves us with the assurance that the same problems and shortcomings doubtlessly will continue—and indefinitely, without prompt corrective action. Then it calls for action, applying acquisition expertise here and in theater, interjecting where/when necessary. Next, it provides a worklist that screams for attention and doesn’t care where that attention comes from—especially attention that says, “If we can’t fix it, we can at least make it better.” Next, it offers a comforting reassurance that we already have the management skills and need only to adapt and streamline them, empowering and involving acquisition experts where they are most needed. Finally, it leaves us with the discomforting knowledge that those young soldiers in-theater today (like my grand-nephew) can’t wait indefinitely for our help—and shouldn’t. <br> <br> Check out the I.G. report at: <a href="https://www.sigar.mil/pdf/lessonslearned/SIGAR-19-39-LL.pdf">https://www.sigar.mil/pdf/lessonslearned/SIGAR-19-39-LL.pdf</a> and build your worklist! <hr />Razzetti is a retired Navy captain, management consultant, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) auditor, and military analyst. He is the author of five management books, including Hardening by Auditing, a handbook for measurably and immediately improving the security management of any organization. <br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href="mailto:generazz@aol.com">generazz@aol.com</a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Afghanistan--Operations-Reconstruction
Creative Thinking Is the Cornerstone of Critical Thinkinghttps://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=164Creative Thinking Is the Cornerstone of Critical Thinking2020-01-01T12:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-4.jpg, https://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-4.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DefAcq_Jan_20_banner-4.jpg<div class="ExternalClass86B080A25BD841A683C87BD02E6772E7">"Critical thinking is important.”<br> <br> “Everyone needs to critically think to improve acquisition outcomes.”<br> <br> Critical thinking has become a key aspect of the acquisition lexicon. The concept is touted as one of the crucial factors in obtaining positive acquisition results. I have been teaching critical thinking for more than 18 years, and I agree it is an important tool and can truly improve acquisition outcomes. But I fear it has acquired buzzword status. I believe that many people use the term without really understanding what is involved and how it truly is done. It is easy to say “I’m a critical thinker” and much harder to really do it. In fact, I believe it is harder to critically think in today’s acquisition environment than it has been in the past. I’ll explain the reasons for that later in the article.<br> <br> A multitude of articles and authors are outlining and describing critical thinking in abstract and intellectual terms; the differences stem from an author’s desire to sell their books. Observations by these authors include Robert Ennis: “Reasonable reflective thinking aimed at deciding what to believe or what to do,” and Richard Paul: “Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking.” This article aims to consider several of the aspects, concepts and factors of critical thinking in basic, easy-to-understand terms.<br> <br> The NeuroLeadership Institute teaches “If you have a brain, you are biased,” which is why the core concept of critical thinking is questioning our biases. What facts or factors have clouded or predisposed my analysis? How are my past experiences limiting my perceptions? Am I considering the perspectives and objectives of other people or functional areas? Am I basing my decision on facts or on my intuition? What factors have I considered? Have I considered other options?<br> <br> I believe that critical thinking has two sub-activities; creative thinking and analytical thinking. Most of us are very adept at analytical thinking, which is distilling vast amounts of information into the essential facts and then using those facts to make a decision or selection. Most people think analytically every day. It is part of our everyday decision processes. For example, when we purchase a car, we consider size, gas mileage, repair record, comfort, utility, suspension, drive train, and a multitude of other factors, including the exterior color and number of cup holders. We do this type of analysis without much ado.<br> <br> We are much less comfortable with creative thinking. Creative thinking involves exploring new approaches and considering different alternatives while recognizing our predispositions. Understanding the relationship between the two thinking activities is important to appreciate their true value. Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between the two activities.<br> <br> The solid lines indicate a typical process, where the obvious, standard alternatives are considered. The solution set will be reasonable and within normally expected parameters. But when creative thinking is applied in the early stages, the result is an increased number of options or alternatives, as shown by the dashed lines. Not only will you get more alternatives, but untypical, unconventional solutions may materialize providing the decision maker with a disparate array of alternatives. The expectation is that an increase in the number of alternatives coupled with a selection of unconventional alternatives will uncover a more effective solution. It should be noted that the unconventional alternatives inherently bring some risk with them that should be considered in the decision-making process.<br> <br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2020/DefAcq_Jan20_article3_figure1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:469px;height:350px;" />Consider the last time you were on a team in a brainstorming activity. The first 10 to 15 ideas put forward were standard, run-of-the-mill ideas—nothing special. After the “easy” ideas were exhausted, people started suggesting more imaginative and unusual thoughts. People probably started building on each other’s ideas. Perhaps the more imaginative, eccentric or even silly ideas might have sparked an innovative suggestion. Research has shown that is only after the “easy” or ordinary ideas are presented will the group start generating innovative ideas or solutions. When I’m facilitating a brainstorming session, I look forward to hearing the “silly” ideas, because I know the participants are starting to stretch their creativity. They are starting to knock down the boundaries that impede creativity. It is this creative aspect that propels us to consider pioneering, radical and perhaps even revolutionary options. Thus, creativity is a cornerstone of critical thinking.<br> <br> That discussion might lead you to believe that creative thinking is most beneficial when determining the alternatives in the problem-solving process. Hmmmm, I’m not sure if that is true. Creative thinking does indeed increase the number of alternatives considered. But let us consider where a creative activity followed by an analytical thinking process might enhance our decision making or outcomes. I’ve always believed that identifying the problem or defining the decision was the most critical aspect of the decision-making process. Without uncovering the source of the problem, it is easy to resolve a symptom and not the problem itself. Outcomes should be improved by using creative thinking to consider what “might be” the possible problem and then analyzing the assembled facts to ascertain the precise problem. Many people are familiar with the “Five Why” questioning technique to ascertain the root cause. It is a simple but fairly effective technique. You simply ask yourself “why did this happen?” After you determine the answer, you ask the question again. You continue to ask the question about the answer until you’ve reached the root cause. This is an example of using a common creative thinking tool to define the problem. Again, our biases can affect this process as well.<br> <br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2020/DefAcq_Jan20_article3_figure2.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:right;width:564px;height:300px;" />Figure 2 highlights the fact that I believe critical thinking, both creative and analytical thinking, can be used in every step of the decision-making process, thereby improving decisions and outcomes. In addition to using creative thinking to identify potential implementation approaches, a creative thinking tool can improve how a solution is implemented in force field analysis.<br> <br> Force field analysis is a focused brainstorming activity. The decision maker or program team lists (brainstorms) all the factors favoring the implementation and all the forces hindering it. Then the team develops a plan to remove or reduce the hindering forces, and the implementation becomes easier.<br> <br> Let’s get more focused on the components of critical thinking. Numerous articles and books expound on critical thinking models and approaches. I believe many share similar steps and components, I primarily have worked with Linda Elder and Richard W. Paul’s model in their 2001 book Foundation of Critical Thinking. Elder and Paul’s book discusses Intellectual Standards, Elements of Reasoning/Thought, and Critical Thinking Intellectual Traits. For article length considerations, I will focus my discussion only on their Elements of Reasoning/Thought; purpose, information, inferences, concepts, assumptions, implications and point of view.<br> <br> First, purpose: What are you trying to accomplish? If the purpose of your thinking is to solve a problem, you will ask different questions than if you’re simply trying to comprehend a complex theory or situation. Your purpose will determine the types of questions you will ask and how they are asked. Obviously, the questions will determine what Information or facts are gathered. The information gathered will influence the inferences or conclusions. The key concepts or ideas which are generated or considered will be directly related to the type information collected. The assumptions we make are based upon our biases and experiences and directly influence the inferences made. Our assumptions also may impact the questions we ask, and this indicates that they influence almost every element of reasoning. Our point of view also impacts most of the other elements; how many different points of view are there in this situation? Finally, the implications or long-term impact of the decision should be considered. The secondary and tertiary impacts often are overlooked.<br> <br> After just this short overview of the elements of thought, clearly conducting both creative and analytical thinking on each element can enhance our thinking and ultimately our decisions. Each element plays an important role in critical thinking. But I believe the two most influential elements are assumptions and point of view, because they are based on our personal experiences. The assumptions we make are undoubtedly influenced by our personal biases. Without a concerted effort to recognize the bases of our assumptions, they unconsciously will sway our decisions and possibly result in a less-than-ideal outcome. Our point of view tends to drive our focus on how the decision impacts us or our organization. It is imperative in using critical thinking to consider multiple points of view. It is crucial to identify how a decision impacts other stakeholders and the organization as a whole.<br> <br> Earlier in the article, I mentioned that I believe that it is harder to critically think in the Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition environment today than it was years ago for two major reasons. First, in our understandable urgency about speeding delivery of our products and services to the point of need, we must still provide adequate if expedited time for planning so that we can secure the required quality. I understand clearly that the acquisition process needs to be responsive. I am very aware that our adversaries are innovative and that, to maintain our military supremacy, the acquisition process must quickly respond to changes in the threat. In emphasizing “faster,” always a dominant theme in times of conflict, let us say “faster and well thought out.” As Dwight Eisenhower said, “Planning is essential.”<br> <br> Second, from my limited perspective, it seems that the military Services have adopted Frederick Taylor’s philosophy of workforce specialization. Each acquisition professional is “stove-piped” and becomes an expert in one acquisition area. With limited functional experience, the acquisition professional’s thinking becomes myopic and one-dimensional. Critical thinking requires multidimensional thinking. How can a person who has only experience or training in one functional area consider other perspectives and understand interrelationships? Many years ago, the different functional area courses at the Defense Acquisition University provided insight into the relationships between the various functional areas. As training days have been removed from courses, interdisciplinary lessons have been lost. Unfortunately, one-dimensional knowledge begets one-dimensional thinking.<br> <br> I believe that both of these trends must be addressed if DoD leadership and the Congress truly want a more thoughtful, more agile, and more responsive acquisition process where critical thinking improves acquisition outcomes. <hr />Hahn is a professor of Financial Management at the Defense Acquisition University in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. She has worked in the Department of Defense and on Program Acquisition for 47 years and has taught critical thinking in both government and industry for more than 18 years. She is a Level III-certified acquisition professional in Program Management and Financial Management.<br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href="mailto:Debbie.Hahn@dau.edu">Debbie.Hahn@dau.edu</a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Creative-Thinking---Is-the-Cornerstone-of--Critical-Thinking