Acquisition Rebalancing: Recommendations for Smart, Efficient & Effective Defense Procurement

Acquisition Rebalancing: Recommendations for Smart, Efficient & Effective Defense Procurement

The Department of Defense (DOD) must change how it acquires weapon systems and services. There is growing recognition from DOD leadership, Congress and the defense industry that it is time to revise the overly complex and burdensome system that drives unnecessary cost into programs and will soon make them unaffordable as defense budgets decline.

Making the acquisition system more economic and more responsive has been an elusive target. The challenges of time-to-delivery and product cost persist despite all attempts to reform the acquisition system over the last 40 plus years.

It’s time to stop tweaking the edges and bring the acquisition system into balance, starting with these core principles:

  • Have trust and confidence in the U.S. military and the aerospace and defense industry’s ability to deliver together outstanding technologies that keep our nation safe.
  • Balance oversight so that all parties are treated fairly and allow oversight functions to consume only the resources needed to mitigate risks of poor performance and malfeasance.
  • Employ our nation’s scarce resources to get the most value for our military from every dollar our nation invests.
  • Protect the nation’s economic and national security by developing and implementing cohesive defense industrialbase strategies.

These principles inform the recommendations presented in this paper, written to address the critical questions asked by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. How can acquisition be more cost effective? Can delivery be expedited? Can recruitment, retention, and training of acquisition professionals be improved? How can program managers be empowered to make sound decisions, and how can technical expertise be fostered? Oversight and management ideas were also sought, as were recommendations to improve cost and delivery over the life cycle of major weapons systems. This paper is organized to address these questions and requests.

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Acquisition Rebalancing: Recommendations for Smart, Efficient & Effective Defense Procurement

Defense Acquisition Resources to Understand Acquisition Reform

AIA has complied a number of letters that address the federal defense acquisition process and ways in which reforms can be made to ensure the best value for defense customers.  They include the following letters and may be downloaded as a combined zip file below.
  • Join Working Group on Improving Cybersecurity and Resiliance Through Acquisition
  • AIA Comments on DFARS: Discllsure to Litigation Support Contractors (DFARS Case 2012-D029)
  • Federal Management Regulation; Disposal and Report of Federal Electronic Assets (Case 2012-102-4)
  • Burdens and Barriers to Contracting with the Federal Government
  • Response to October 30th Letter on BBP 2.0
  • Better Buying Power 2.0 - Commercial Items
  • Meetings with Alan Estevez, Katrina McFarland, and Dick Ginman regarding Costs of Regulation
  • FAR; Contractor Comment Period, Past Preformance Evaluations (FAR CASE 2012-028)
  • Pension Harmonization Rule Change
  • Cost Acounting Standards
  • MOCAS payment cycle times
  • DCMA Meetings regarding Corrective Action Requests
  • AIA Comments on implementation of Better Buying Power 2.0
  • AIA Comments on DFARS: Safeguarding Unclassified DoD Information (DFARS Case 2011-D039)
  • Section 818 NDAA 2012

HASC/SASC Letter

This letter from the House and Senate Armed Services oversight committees informed AIA that the Congress is looking into ways to improve the defense acquisition system. Specifically:

  • Steps that DOD or Congress could take to reduce the cost of major defense acquisition programs;
  • Steps that DOD or Congress could take to expedite the delivery of useful capabilities to the warfighter;
  • Steps that DOD or Congress could take to improve how it recruits, trains, and develops its acquisition workforce;
  • Steps that DOD or Congress could take to empower key acquisition personnel, such as program managers and cost estimators, to make sound choices through the acquisition process;
  • Steps that DOD or Congress could take to improve planning, contracting, oversight and management of services; and
  • Steps that DOD or Congress could take to incentivize timely delivery of capabilities and services to warfighters with considerations for life-cycle costs.
AIA Conflict Minerals Education Update

AIA Conflict Minerals Education Update

This document serves to inform AIA members and their supply chains about the first round of pending Conflict Minerals Specialized Disclosure filings to the SEC. With the complicated nature of the Conflict Minerals Report format and audit protocol, AIA has prepared this document as a training guide to help answer some of the most common questions about the process.

In addition, based on the AIA Conflict Minerals Working Group Charter, this training document completes one of key goals of this collective group. In order to provide our member companies and their supply chains with the necessary guidance, we have released this information broadly to allow for review and consider prior to the SEC filing deadline of June 2, 2014 for the first Conflict Minerals Specialized Disclosure.

Defense Research and Development

Defense Research & Development: From the Warfighter to American Consumers, Redefining Everyday Lives Through Innovation

Federal investments in science and technology research and development are threatened by the current budget environment. The Aerospace Industries Association is embarking on an education effort to inform policymakers, elected leaders and the American public on the impact of federal R&D dollars on the innovations that redefine our everyday lives.

This report – the first in a series that examines the impact of federal investment programs – highlights four case studies of private sector technologies and products that have been largely defined or influenced by defense R&D spending. These case studies include the cellular smart phone, the hospital operating room, the modern automobile and the flat screen television. Each case study provides a narrated illustration of
the product and its connections to defense R&D.

The President’s budget for fiscal year 2015 requests a reduction in science and technology funding across both defense and non-defense discretionary accounts. This would reinforce existing reductions from the past several budget cycles. If sequestration is not addressed in fiscal year 2016 and beyond, this downward angle could turn into a nosedive. AIA believes policymakers must ensure a robust and balanced defense
research program, not only for the substantial benefits it provides to America’s warfighters, but also for the resulting commercial innovations that help grow our productivity and our economy.

Over the past six decades, federal investment in R&D programs has acted as an incubator for innovation, producing an immeasurable array of technological advancements that have come to define modern life and society at large. These investments have provided the basis for a revolution in electronic systems, communications, materials and medical science, the results of which have served as the building blocks for today’s most common technologies, including transistors, the Internet, GPS navigation and liquid crystal technology, to name a few.

The connection between research programs and commercial deployment of technologies is often multi-faceted. Program requirements can provide both the research impetus and critical opportunity for technology to mature through production and continual improvement. However, not all technologies that follow this path spill into the private market. Those that do are defined both by market demand and by calculated private investments that enable them to emerge as profitable products. These disparate paths demonstrate how investments made in advanced research can result in enormous contributions to the nation’s economy and industrial competitiveness.

Restoring Balance in the Defense Acquisition System

Restoring Balance in the Defense Acquisition System

Over the past quarter century, more than 300 commissions and studies have produced a variety of recommendations – some of which have become law – to change the way the U.S. military develops and buys new weapons systems. Yet the Department of Defense acquisition system continues to take longer and deliver less in quantity and capability while costs of modernization programs escalate.

AIA has taken a hard look at what is causing this problem to develop this issue paper about what was discovered to be a multi-faceted issue that largely revolves around extraneous and over burdensome policies, laws and regulations.

Solutions to reducing the burden include:

  • A more efficient and effective cost-benefit analysis program;
  • Better audit practices;
  • Reducing unaffordable burdens;
  • Expanding the use of commercial items;  
  • New intellectual property rules; and
  • Having a reasonable expectation for contractor pay and compensation.
The Conflict Minerals Story

The Conflict Minerals Story

One of the primary methods of supporting Conflict Minerals control is through responsible sourcing of the products that may contain conflict minerals. Responsible sourcing is an important principle of the AIA Supplier Management Council (SMC). The AIA SMC is now actively educating AIA member companies about the release of the SEC Final Rule and the pending disclosure requirements, working with other shareholders and industries involved with this challenge to synergize activities, and providing member companies useful guidance, in the form of best practices.

This document provides a thorough analysis of the issue and along with helpful tips for companies dealing with conflict mineral disclosures. 

AIA Conflict Minerals Snapshot

AIA Conflict Minerals Snapshot

One of the primary methods of supporting Conflict Minerals control is through responsible sourcing of the products that may contain conflict minerals. Responsible sourcing is an important principle of the AIA Supplier Management Council (SMC). The AIA SMC is now actively educating AIA member companies about the release of the SEC Final Rule and the pending disclosure requirements, working with other shareholders and industries involved with this challenge to synergize activities, and providing member companies useful guidance, in the form of best practices.

AIA Conflict Minerals FAQ

AIA Conflict Minerals FAQ

The following frequently asked questions document about conflict minierals outlines the background issues surrounding the issue, what the applicability and scope of the reporting requirements are, what a reasonable country of oragin inquiry (RCOI) is, what is acceptable due dilligence in reporting, how to report conflict minerals in manufactured products, and what an indipendent private sector audit is.