As I shared in a previous blog post, in October 2009, President Obama signed the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 111-84). The legislation contained a provision in Section 805 entitled “Life Cycle Management and Product Support” requiring: (1) the Secretary of Defense to issue comprehensive guidance on life-cycle management and the development and implementation of product support strategies for major weapon systems; (2) that each major weapon system be supported by a product support manager (PSM); and (3) that each PSM position be performed by a properly qualified member of the armed forces or full-time employee of the Department of Defense.
The confluence over the last 18 months of this formal statutory requirement for a Product Support Manager (PSM), issuance of a June 2008 DoD Logistics Human Capital Strategy outlining the vision and required competencies of DoD logisticians, recognition by the Department in both the December 2008 update to the DoD Instruction 5000.02 “Operation of the Defense Acquisition System” and the subsequent interim Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) update that performance based logistics strategies must be strengthened and broadened to more effectively inculcate product support (of which logistics is an important, but by no means exclusive, subset), and issuance in November 2009 of the year-long DoD Weapon System Acquisition Reform: Product Support Assessment” report all point to the same desired outcome: genuine life cycle management which delivers sustained long-term weapon system readiness while optimizing life cycle costs.
So what is next? In addition to Service and Agency activities, least three primary activities will be worked at the DoD-level in parallel, namely Product Support Assessment implementation teams are being chartered by the Office of Secretary of Defense to address the recommendations coming out of the November 2009 report. At the same time, the department will be writing policy addressing Life Cycle Management and Product Support as required in Section 805 of the FY10 NDAA, as well as updating guidance contained in DAG Chapter 5. The stars are aligned for product support success like never before.
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