There's widespread opinion today that the traditional defense acquisition process is cumbersome and outdated. The last 10 years have seen a large number of programs bypass the traditional acquisition process in order to rapidly deploy systems in support of combat operations which also allowed for immediate field-testing and feedback.
The appeal of this immediacy has resulted in increased pressure on today's acquisition professionals and program managers to deliver new technology and sophisticated solutions, in shorter timeframes with drastically constrained budgets.
In Smart Decisions: A Multidimensional Approach to Managing Complexity and Risk in Defense Acquisition and Logistics, Booz Allen offers its perspective on how program managers can succeed within the current acquisition system by following smart decision-making. Smart decisions are those informed by cost and risk issues and supported by data analytics while looking at all of the program variables together. It's broken down into three central principles:
- Embrace a multidimensional perspective: Organizations can do this by widening their management perspective to incorporate the entire acquisition and logistics activity chain, not just the individual steps in a milestone acquisition process. This perspective can aid in reducing lifecycle program costs, while strengthening readiness and extending the lives of weapons systems.
- Challenge conventional habits and thinking: Organizations can achieve this is by understanding the flexibility and authority given to program managers in the DOD 5000 series of regulations. There's also flexibility within the regulations for designing, developing, and acquiring platforms and systems. The key is to adopt an opportunity vs. barrier mentality and challenge conventional thinking and approaches.
- Unlock the power of data analytics: The amount of data gathered and stored by the federal government is growing exponentially. By harnessing this data, program managers can achieve a level of visibility and understanding that makes the monitoring and management of complex acquisitions environments easier.