Army acquisition executive emphasizes affordability

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — From fir­ing a new enhanced per­for­mance round to active­ly seek­ing input from mid-career man­agers, Hei­di Shyu’s whirl­wind vis­it Dec. 20 to Picatin­ny Arse­nal includ­ed a town hall in which she under­scored the need to stream­line acqui­si­tion.

 -
Hei­di Shyu, the act­ing assis­tant sec­re­tary of the Army for Acqui­si­tion, Logis­tics, and Tech­nol­o­gy, looks through the sights of the M240H, a 7.62mm medi­um machine gun mount­ed to heli­copters.
Click to enlarge

Shyu, the act­ing assis­tant sec­re­tary of the Army for Acqui­si­tion, Logis­tics, and Tech­nol­o­gy, or ASA(ALT), received hands-on demon­stra­tions show­cas­ing Picatinny’s research and devel­op­ment in sup­port of mount­ed and dis­mount­ed war­rior, fire sup­port, air pow­er and naval sys­tems.

As part of her vis­it, Shyu fired the cased tele­scoped light machine gun and the new M855A1 Enhanced Per­for­mance Round from an M4 car­bine.

The field­ing of the round earned the Pro­gram Exec­u­tive Office for Ammu­ni­tion at Picatin­ny the pres­ti­gious David Packard Acqui­si­tion Excel­lence Award.

In the town hall meet­ing with employ­ees, Shyu’s empha­sis on afford­abil­i­ty and effi­cien­cy came against a back­ground in which steady increas­es in mil­i­tary spend­ing, trig­gered by the 9/11 attacks on the Unit­ed States, have drawn greater atten­tion dur­ing the cur­rent eco­nom­ic down­turn.

“What goes up, must come down. It’s unaf­ford­able to go upward for­ev­er,” Shyu said.

“As we start to come down in our bud­get, one of the things we absolute­ly must do is be more effi­cient,” she con­tin­ued. “Because oth­er­wise, we buy less and less. So we’re focus­ing on afford­abil­i­ty. We’re focus­ing on effi­cien­cy.”

Var­i­ous events have height­ened atten­tion on mil­i­tary spend­ing:

  • Osama bin Laden, who from his sanc­tu­ary in Afghanistan is cred­it­ed with orches­trat­ing the 9/11 attacks, was killed by Navy SEALs in neigh­bor­ing Pak­istan in May 2011.
  • The war in Iraq, which has served as a ral­ly­ing point for robust mil­i­tary spend­ing, offi­cial­ly end­ed in Decem­ber 2011.
  • The war in Afghanistan is wind­ing down, with the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion stat­ing that Afghanistan will be respon­si­ble for its own secu­ri­ty by 2014.
  • A severe eco­nom­ic down­turn accom­pa­nied by high unem­ploy­ment and a weak hous­ing mar­ket has ampli­fied dis­cus­sion about gov­ern­ment spend­ing pri­or­i­ties.

As an exam­ple of the need to stream­line acqui­si­tion, Shyu said major pro­grams such as Acqui­si­tion Cat­e­go­ry I take very long to mature.

ACAT I pro­grams are esti­mat­ed to require even­tu­al expen­di­ture for research, devel­op­ment, test, and eval­u­a­tion of more than $365 mil­lion (fis­cal year 2000 con­stant dol­lars) or pro­cure­ment of more than $2.19 bil­lion.

“They cre­ate acqui­si­tion strat­e­gy doc­u­ments that are 200–300 pages,” Shyu said.

“All we’re look­ing for is 20 pages. Just tell us exact­ly what is it you are try­ing to buy in terms of capa­bil­i­ties. What prod­uct are you try­ing to devel­op? What’s your strat­e­gy, what type of con­tracts? The ques­tions we’re ask­ing are pret­ty sim­ple,” she explained. “We don’t quite under­stand why there are 200 to 300 pages. It’s a lot of work and it does­n’t say much. We’re try­ing to stream­line all this.”

Shyu said ongo­ing dis­cus­sions with the Train­ing and Doc­trine Com­mand are intend­ed to result in prod­uct require­ments that are more real­is­tic and achiev­able with incre­men­tal improve­ments over time.

“Require­ments dri­ve every­thing,” Shyu not­ed. “If we set the require­ments way up here it forces you to devel­op tech­nol­o­gy that is imma­ture as a part of the pro­gram. What hap­pens? Tech­nol­o­gy takes longer than you thought. It costs more mon­ey than you thought.”

“The pro­gram stretch­es out, stretch­es out, and pret­ty soon they loose inter­est in your pro­gram and they kill it,” she said. “I call that the death spi­ral.”

With incre­men­tal improve­ments that are more achiev­able, Shyu said, “I can get things out to the warfight­er a lot soon­er.”

As part of ongo­ing efforts to bal­ance the work­force, Shyu said core skill sets need­ed for Pro­gram Exec­u­tive Offices are being studied.That effort is cou­pled with a look at the num­ber of mil­i­tary, civil­ian and con­trac­tor per­son­nel.

Shyu also not­ed that strength­en­ing the con­tract­ing work­force is a major theme, dri­ving increased hir­ing in recent years.

The Army acqui­si­tion exec­u­tive also said she is work­ing close­ly with Gen. Ann E. Dun­woody, com­man­der of the Army Materiel Com­mand, to deter­mine if AMC has skill sets that could sup­port the Pro­gram Exec­u­tive Offices.

Shyu opened the town hall by acknowl­edg­ing and con­grat­u­lat­ing Picatin­ny Arse­nal for its many accom­plish­ments in 2011, includ­ing win­ning six out of 10 Army Great­est Inven­tions, the Large Lab­o­ra­to­ry of the Year and the David Packard Acqui­si­tion Excel­lence Award.

After her vis­it, she sent a mes­sage to Brig. Gen. Jonathan A. Mad­dux, Picatin­ny com­mand­ing gen­er­al, who host­ed the vis­it along with ARDEC direc­tor Ger­ar­do Melen­dez.

“You guys are doing great stuff,” she said. “I saw excel­lent col­lab­o­ra­tion across the entire materiel enter­prise as well as a ded­i­cat­ed focus on cross-ser­vice col­lab­o­ra­tion. Your work­force is top-notch.”

Source:
U.S. Army

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →