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Lean Production--A Focus For Defense Procurement Success

Lean Production--A Focus For Defense Procurement Success

 

CSC 1993

 

SUBJECT AREA - Logistics

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Title: Lean Production--A Focus For Defense Procurement Success

 

Author: Major William B. Vance, United States Air Force

 

Thesis: Undisciplined competition for scarce resources, caused by both defense structure and

budget reductions, could diminish America's ability to act as a world leader, and even render us

unable to defend our own national interests or to execute our international responsibilities. Our

most pressing defense procurement issues can be addressed with one initiative--a long term, first-

choice commitment to the lean production concept in our acquisition strategies.

 

Background: The outcome of the Cold War has presented the United States with a predictable

set of circumstances: (1) Sole military-superpower status, (2) the freedom to downsize the military

due to the smaller size of any foreseeable adversary as compared to the former Soviet Union, and

(3) the ability and need to contribute the resultant excess defense dollars toward servicing the

national debt. Force structure reductions enabled by this opportunity mandate fewer but smarter

weapon systems. To that end, the Department of Defense has described a new acquisition

approach that no longer requires weapon systems to pass into the production phase. However, if

production is allowed to decrease to unprofitable levels, contractors may elect to cease operations:

their technical bases, processes, and equipment may be lost forever. The reduction in absolute

numbers of weapon systems is also a fact in this new era. Phasing out hardware faster than

manpower will decrease the availability of hands-on training. Solutions are available, however,

that provide varying degrees of relief; the most promising areas to examine are changes to training

strategies or acquisition strategies. Experience shows that an increased emphasis on training via

simulation is beneficial; but simulators do not project combat power, nor do they execute national

policy. Further, increasing the emphasis on our training strategy does improve readiness to a

degree, but readiness is only one issue. Rethinking acquisition strategies promises a better solution

than changing our training strategy, although proposed fieldable prototypes or shelved technologies

should not be a part of every acquisition strategy. Lean production, however, is a concept that

produces small numbers of actual production platforms at an efficient and profitable pace.

Conceptually, at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels, respectively, lean production would

provide the synergistic effect of enabling a viable defense industrial base to facilitate reconstitution;

supplying sufficient numbers of platforms, and maintaining proficient, combat-ready operators.

Facing drastic budget cuts and an ill-defined yet volatile threat environment, the Defense

Department must lean forward in joint fashion, acknowledging a deteriorating defense industrial

base, haphazard decreases in weapons platforms, and the potential for reduced combat capability

as a result of insufficient training time. Significant changes must be made in our acquisition

strategies to resolve these procurement issues.

 

Recommendation: All program managers should consider choosing lean production in an effort

to resolve our many defense procurement issues with only a single initiative. A lean-production

decision would simplify the acquisition process, guard against abuse, and focus defense dollars on

defense programs. It would enable more hands-on training on operational systems, supply

adequate numbers of operational systems, and provide sufficient business volume and incentive to

maintain a viable industrial base. Broad application of the lean-production concept would

contribute synergistically to the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of our preparation for war.

 

 

 

OUTLINE

 

 

Thesis: Undisciplined competition for scarce resources, caused by both defense structure and

budget reductions, could diminish Americas ability to act as a world leader, and even render us

unable to defend our own national interests or to execute our international responsibilities. Our

most pressing defense procurement issues can be addressed with one initiative--a long-term,

consistent commitment to the lean production concept in our acquisition strategies.

 

I. Aftermath of the Cold War victory

A. Three predictable outcomes

B. Baseline for a future national strategy

C. The reduction dilemma

 

II. Factors invalidating the historical approach

A. Loss of a Cold-War equivalent enemy

B. Budget and force reductions

C. New position on a acquisition approaches

D. Increasing numbers of aging systems

E. Atrophy of defense industrial base

 

III. The acquisition dilemma: tough answers to simple questions

A. Need for preserving the defense industrial complex

B. Need for training on new systems

C. Need for fielding new systems

 

IV. Potential solutions

A. Solution: training strategies

1. Advances in simulation

2. Growth in the training budget

3. Desert Storm lesson learned

B. Solution: acquisition strategies

1. Engineering-manufacturing development(Milestone III tabled)

2. Fieldable prototypes (Advanced Technology Demonstrators)

3. Lean production

 

V. Benefits for the war fighters

A. Desired acquisition strategy attributes

1. Best-available technology

2. Fully-developed support equipment and technical data

3. Optimized manufacturing process

4. Triggers to pull

B. Stable process benefits industry and government

 

VI. Lean production: a vision for success

 

LEAN PRODUCTION--A FOCUS FOR DEFENSE PROCUREMENT SUCCESS

 

 

About the defense budget, I raise a hope and a caution. As we restructure

our military forces to meet the new threats of the post-Cold War world, it is

true that we can responsibly reduce our defense budget. Now, we may all

doubt what that range of reductions is, but let me say that as long as I am

president, I will do everything I can to make sure that the men and women

who serve under the American flag will remain the best-trained, the best-

prepared, the best-equipped fighting force in the world, and every one of

you should make that solemn pledge.

 

President Bill Clinton

State of the Union Address, 17 February 1993(25:14)

 

 

Aftermath of the Cold War Victory

 

A clear charter. The collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 gave the world visual

 

confirmation of a hidden suspicion. The United States had just won the Cold War by sepending the

 

Soviet Union into virtual bankruptcy. American weapons acquisition decision, particularly those

 

made in the post-Vietnam era, had forced the USSR to develop defensive counters an initiate

 

new offensive programs. The resultant arms race was a classic war of attrition, yet one most

 

decisively fought on an unconventional battlefield--the balance sheet. The outcome of the Cold

 

War has presented the United States with a predictable set of circumstances: (1) Sole military-

 

superpower status, (2) the freedom to downsize the military due to the smaller size of any

 

foreseeable adversary as compared to the former Soviet Union, and (3) the ability and need to

 

contribute the resultant excess defense dollars toward servicing the national debt.

 

Our national leadership must use these new circumstances as a baseline for future strategy

 

decisions. Indeed, the National Security Strategy of the United States acknowledges the realities of

 

these circumstances in its introduction to Section V, the Defenses Agenda for the 1990's, which

 

"...will guide our deliberate reduction to no more than the forces we need to defend our interests

 

and meet our global responsibilities." (22:25) Unfortunately, this reduced spending level for

 

personnel and weapon systems suggests a very uncomfortable dilemma. We now have the best

 

military force the United States has ever fielded, both in the quality of troops and equipment.

 

However, the passage of time and the nature of man, and, consequently, man's propensity toward

 

conflict, still remain unchanged. Weapon systems, provided by a robust defense industrial base,

 

will still need to be fielded. Quality people will still need to be trained. In contrast, money will still

 

need to be saved. The national debt and the now ambiguous threat mandate satisfaction of each of

 

these needs, even through they are in conflict. The resultant undisciplined competition for scarce

 

resources, caused by both defense structure reduction and budget reductions, could diminish our

 

ability to act decisively as a world leader, and even render us unable to defend our own national

 

interests or execute our international responsibilities.

 

 

Factors Invalidating the Historical Approach

 

The United States is witnessing the need for a dramatic shift in military thinking.

 

Contemporary military strategies must be based on the need for defending our national interests

 

rather than for defending against a Cold War superpower threat. The inherent reductions in force

 

structure required by this shift in thinking mandate fewer but necessarily smarter weapon systems.

 

To that end, the Department of Defense (DoD) has described a new acquisition strategy* that no

 

longer routinely requires conceptual or developmental systems or technologies to pass into the

 

production phase. Emphasis will be placed on developing technologies and production-level

 

manufacturing techniques for future use. More emphasis will be placed on technology insertion

 

and improvement of current systems, rather than on initiating new starts. (2:38) Further, to save

 

money in the short term, many acquisition programs have been postponed, stretched into future

 

years, or canceled outright. Although this strategy is in compliance with the policy of saving

 

*A few definitions are appropriate for terms used in this paper:

Acquisition Strategy: A program manager's written plan to satisfy the mission need. This paper also refers to

acquisition strategy as DoD's overall approach to defense procurement. (20:8.4)

Acquisition Program: A formal program that may result in the acquisition of a new defense procurement.

Establishment of an acquisition program occurs at Milestone I, or Concept

Demonstration Approval, and requires competitive prototyping, a step beyond

Advanced Technology Demonstrators used during concept exploration. (3:3-10)

Production Concept: That part of a program manager's acquisition strategy that defines the rate and quantity

of item production.

Production Approval: Milestone III of the Defense Acquisition Process. (3:3-23)

 

dollars while still attempting to provide needed capability, at what cost to the nation and our future

 

defense industrial capability is DoD following this strategy?

 

One of the pillars of our National Security Strategy is reconstitution, using our defense

 

technology and the U.S. defense industrial base as the means. (22:30-31) Although funding levels

 

for science and technology remain stable for now, our acquisition strategies of necessity require a

 

large reduction in production dollars. (7:18) However, if production is allowed to decrease to

 

unprofitable levels, contractors may elect to cease operations and their technical base, processes,

 

and equipment may be lost forever. General Dynamics, for example, (prior to the sale of its

 

fighter production line to Lockheed) required a minimum economic production run of 4 or 5 F-16s

 

monthly. (1:35) Granted, processes may be documented and manufacturing equipment

 

mothballed; however, highly skilled and focused teams--such as Lockheed's Advanced

 

Development Company, the "Skunk Works"--should they disband from lack of profits, may be

 

impossible to reassemble should the nation's military require reconstitution. Our reliance on

 

technology as a force multiplier and ultimately as a battlefield lifesaver renders the loss of the

 

defense industry's brain power, complicated technical processes, and its highly trained workers

 

strategically unacceptable.

 

The reduction in absolute numbers of weapon systems is also a fact in this new era. Every

 

leader must exercise careful judgment to decide how much reduction is too much, and then

 

prevent it. In a statement some critics might call uncharacteristic, Air Force doctrine, though

 

generally praising and usually depending extensively on high technology, specifically acknowledges

 

the fact that numbers do matter:

 

Advanced technology is crucially important to aerospace forces, but

numbers are also important. A small, technically sophisticated force could

be overwhelmed by a huge but unsophisticated force--that is, at some point

quantity can overwhelm quality. (19:253)

 

The direct result of a policy that would reduce actual number of operationally assigned systems

 

faster than reducing manpower would be a decrease in the amount of hands-on training available

 

to the war fighters. Out-year DoD budgets acknowledge this shortfall and propose large increases

 

in training and simulation dollars for all the services as an attempt to compensate. (6:45-49)

 

Nevertheless, from an operator's viewpoint, there is nothing as good as the genuine article to train

 

for the fog of war.

 

Post-Cold War budget reductions have truly put the defense establishment on the defensive

 

in an effort to avoid another hollow-force era. America is quite proficient at fielding high-

 

technology, usable, stalwart weapons. The fall of the Berlin Wall, quickly followed by the

 

military's decisive Desert Storm performance, attests to the wisdom of our previous approach to

 

defense procurement. Now, however, facing gutted budgets, DoD is constrained by decreasing

 

manpower levels, decreasing numbers of weapons platforms, and the consequent erosion of the

 

nation's defense industrial base. Although some sectors of the defense industry have begun to

 

consolidate in an attempt to alleviate this erosion, this is not widely the case in the aircraft

 

manufacturing sector. Aviation Week and Space Technology relates a recent market study released

 

by Booz-Allen & Hamilton that implies "the result is too many firms chasing too few programs.

 

The study predicted that a 'hurricane' of consolidation and restructuring is in the wind." (12:21)

Several defense contractors, for example, are "...marked for extinction as fighter builders..." if the

 

multi-service A/F-X aircraft program is terminated. (1:34-35)

 

 

The Acquisition Dilemma: Tough Answers to Simple Questions

 

Solutions are available, however, that provide varying degrees of relief. They also require

 

varying degrees of commitment and an honest evaluation of which readiness characteristics the

 

people consider important for the future defense of our country's national interests. Certainly, the

 

services' budget increases for simulation will provide operators artificial experience.* But what

 

policies or circumstances will dictate how much simulation is too much? Further, technology

 

insertion as a tenet of the new acquisition strategy will provide interim capability improvements.

 

But what happens when the receiving system's re-planned product improvement reserve is filled

 

to its physical capacity, and there truly is no room left for improvement? In addition, we can

 

 

*Artificial experience is described by Ted Gold, Hicks & Associates, Inc., and Rich Wagner, Kaman Corporation, in

"Long Shadows and Virtual Swords: Managing Defense Resources in the Changing Security Environment," June

1990, and its essentially that experience gained through simulation rather than by training on operational equipment.

 

emphasize fieldable prototypes or execute acquisition programs through Engineering and

 

Manufacturing Development, intentionally delaying the Milestone III production decision.

 

Technologies could then be shelved, awaiting, when his profit generator--full-rate

 

production--is removed?

 

Justification for our future defense posture, and, therefore, justification for a predominant

 

acquisition strategy, lies in the obvious answer to three questions. First, is it practical to regain and

 

maintain a robust defense industrial base to enable the reconstitution pillar of our National

 

Strategy? Second, is it necessary to provide fully mission-capable training levels to our war

 

fighters, rather than some ill-defined skills-maintenance training level? Finally, is it important to

 

have actual equipment available to provide not only realistic training but also quick-reaction force-

 

projection capability? Of course. Analysis of this three-part problem when viewed against a

 

defense budget free-fall reveals two approaches to possible solutions--adjustments to our training

 

strategies and adjustments to our acquisition strategies.

 

 

Solution: Training Strategies

 

Training strategies are composed of three main inputs: money, time on equipment, and

 

time on simulators. Declining budgets combined with fewer weapons platforms result in reduced

 

hands-on training time in operational systems. The clear solution to the resultant decline in

 

operator proficiency is an increased emphasis on simulation. State-of-the-art simulators provide

 

safety (cats should have as may lives as I've used up in the F-16 simulator), superior visual and

 

auditory fidelity, six degrees-of-freedom motion, long-distance interface with other simulators for

 

mock-combat scenarios against live opponents or even another computer, and greatly reduced

 

operating costs compared to an hour of flying time or M1A1 tank gunnery. DoD concurs:" ...The

 

Pentagon has targeted training efficiency as a major concern of the post-Cold War era....Playing a

 

big part in the Pentagon's acquisition strategy are cost effective off-the shelf part task trainers,

 

maintenance trainers and mission rehearsal systems." (10:29)

 

The National Training Systems Association in Arlington, Virginia, recently published a

 

marketing research report that predicts steady growth over the next decade for worldwide military

 

training and simulation budgets, already estimated at $3 to $3.5 billion annually. (6:45) Granted,

 

an increased emphasis on training via simulation is beneficial: but simulators do not project combat

 

power, nor do they execute national policy. Increasing the emphasis on our training strategy via

 

simulation as a solution does improve readiness to a degree, but it is incomplete: every hour spent

 

in simulation is one less hour spent in the actual system. There is a tradeoff between simulator

 

training and hardware training: the performance of a few National Guard units in Operation Desert

 

Storm clearly indicated that in many cases there is just not enough training time available to keep

 

units ready for the highly complex weapons and tactics of modern warfare. (23:12) Furthermore,

 

if only training and simulation are emphasized, the declining trend in the ability of our defense

 

industrial base to efficiently build combat hardware is not reversed. And obviously, actual aircraft

 

or tanks are not added to the inventory to replace phased-out or unusable articles. Training and

 

simulation are not the complete answer. Again, from an operator's viewpoint, there is nothing as

 

good as the genuine article to train for the fog of war.

 

 

Solution: Acquisition Strategies

 

Rethinking acquisition strategies promises a more complete solution than a change in our

 

training strategies. As specified in DoD Instruction 5000.2, Part 3, the production and deployment

 

phase (Phase III) of a DoD acquisition program has historically supplied the country with aircraft,

 

tanks, and other military hardware. (3:3-23) Now, although reductions in force structure mandate

 

fewer but smarter weapon systems, technological developments continue at ever-increasing rates;

 

consequently, this historical approach must change on a broad scale. DoD's new acquisition

 

strategy addresses this need by no longer routinely expecting conceptual or development systems

 

or technologies to pass into Phase III. Emphasis may be placed as appropriate on developing

 

specific technologies and production-level manufacturing techniques for future use, putting this

 

technology "on the shelf" or "in the pipeline" until an emerging threat mandates production. This

 

new acquisition strategy consists of numerous elements, but the general trend is toward an

 

approach that, by design, leans heavily on research, development, test, and evaluation rather than

 

on production. In short, this approach acknowledges both its current and future financial

 

environments. Concerning that financial environment, Phase III, by design, has also provided

 

contractors with most of their profits, as DoD contracts historically do not provide for significant

 

profits during earlier phases of the acquisition process. Consequently, the Aerospace Industries

 

Association (AIA) takes exception to this new DoD approach:

 

The AIA has taken issue with the Defense Dept. plan to perform research

and development and then put a design 'on the shelf' and defer production.

LeRoy J. Haugh, vice president of procurement and financial services at

AIA, said the shelf life of technology is not very long, and it may not be

possible to keep a design on hold unless there is at least some limited

production to demonstrate feasibility. Under the current payment schemes

for research and development, most companies would have trouble making

any profit at all, he maintained. (8:58)

 

Former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney addressed this common aerospace industry concern at a

 

press conference held in January 1992 when he specifically said that not only do we intend to

 

develop selected technologies into weapon systems, but that we also intend to develop the

 

manufacturing processes to build those systems. He further stated that the Defense Department

 

fully intends to procure such items in sufficient quantity that users can acquire operational

 

experience with the systems as well as develop appropriate doctrine. "We are not talking about

 

just building one or two items and putting them on the shelf," he summarized. (2:40)

 

The construction of fieldable prototypes is a production concept that takes advanced

 

technologies a step further than a spot on the shelf. This approach places Advanced Technology

 

Demonstrators (ATDs), normally one-of-a-kind items used to assess program risk during the

 

Concept Exploration Phase, into the hands of operators for evaluation in realistic operational

 

environments. This is a superb idea for systems not intended for procurement in large numbers; in

 

fact, at this stage of the acquisition process, and acquisition program does not even exist--no

 

production concept has yet been formalized. Consequently, we must realize that these ATDs are

 

immature, development systems: maintenance and operation must be accomplished by

 

experienced personnel. A familiar example of the fieldable prototype concept in action is the Joint

 

Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System(JSTARS) used so effectively in Operation Desert

 

Storm. Unfortunately, with results similar to an approach that just changes our training strategy, a

 

plan that depends on building fieldable prototypes to keep assembly lines open and profits flowing

 

is not the answer. According to General Lawrence Skantze, USAF(Ret), former Commander of

 

Air Force Systems Command (now Air Force Materiel Command), Congress will "need to be

 

convinced of the credibility of the ATD project before it is even funded or put through the pre-

 

Milestone I [Concept Exploration] process."(17:15) The uncertainty of extending a fieldable

 

prototype into a reasonable production run invalidates the idea of using ATDs to train personnel

 

and provide operationally significant numbers of actual hardware.

 

Clearly, further development of ATDs or shelving technologies at Milestone III are not the

 

ideal production concepts to solve the dilemma of declining numbers of actual hardware,

 

deteriorating operator proficiency, and a decaying defense industrial base. Although Defense

 

Secretary Les Aspin has articulated a four-point program to enhance the defense industrial base,

 

maintenance of that industrial base is only part of the requirement.* A more all-encompassing

 

acquisition strategy might provide perhaps the best overall solution to this three-part problem.

 

Low-rate initial production, recently dubbed lean production by senior Air Force officials, may

 

enable the necessary synergistic effect of sufficient numbers of platforms; a capable defense

 

industrial base; and proficient, combat-ready operators. Lean production is a production concept

 

that supplies small numbers of actual operational platforms at an efficient and profitable pace. A

 

summary of the concept clearly identifies the advantage:

 

Lean production recognizes that in order to have a true operational

capability, the system must go beyond the prototyping phase and on into an

operational environment. Essentially, this concept says you cannot put

technology on the shelf and expect to produce it. [It] implies that the forces

in the field must have production items to train with in order to achieve

combat readiness. (2:40)

 

*In a 12 February 92 address to the American Defense Preparedness Association, and later in his confirmation

hearings for Defense Secretary, Mr Aspin listed four acquisition concepts which would enhance the defense

industrial base: "selective upgrading, selective low-rate procurements; rollover plus, which is continued research and

development of critical technologies; and silver-bullet procurements, or purchases of highly capable systems with

advanced technologies." (16:42)

 

Benefits for the War Fighters

 

It would appear that the war fighters favor this approach. Lean production, as a routinely

 

selected production concept rather than as a band-aid for a budget crunch, would govern the

 

procurement of a system from the earliest stages of its acquisition cycle. The war fighters would

 

know that they would be buying the best available technology. They would be buying fully

 

developed support equipment and technical data. They would be buying an optimized

 

manufacturing process. Most importantly, they would be buying sufficient numbers of platforms

 

on which to train to mission-ready proficiency levels and to take to combat should the need arise.

 

In short, lean production as a part of the total acquisition strategy buys real capability.

 

Moreover, the process is inherently stable, a feature much desired by both the government

 

and the defense industrial complex. Conceptually, when a request for proposal is issued with a

 

reasonable assurance that lean production will be the production concept, the contractor will be

 

assured that his efforts will produce a state-of-the-art product in sufficient quantities to provide a

 

profit level that will justify the bid. Our defense industries are so fragile at this point in our history

 

that very aggressive steps must be taken to ensure the undiminished effectiveness of this national

 

asset. In fact, because this situation is so critical, future acquisition programs may actually be

 

driven more by the needs of the defense industrial base rather than by operational needs. General

 

Mike Loh, commander of Air Combat Command, addressed a group of over 800 industry and

 

service representatives at a 4 February 1993 Air Force Association Symposium with a forceful,

 

precedent-setting speech in which he said the Air Force intends to increasingly support the defense

 

industry by continuing upgrades to existing systems; by identifying new systems for low-rate

 

production; and by enabling prime contractors and their various subcontractors to develop

 

advanced operational prototypes and their manufacturing processes as candidates for future

 

production systems. Specifically, according to General Loh, "All future weapon systems will be

 

subject to [italics added] low rate production, and the Air Force must work with industry from the

 

beginning to develop 'smart, realistic production strategies' that enable companies to avoid

 

debilitating overhead costs." (13:6) The war fighters are on board with the lean-production

 

concept.

 

Lean Production: A Vision for Success

 

A suitable vision of the way a lean production program of the future should look in action

 

is the formerly classified, award-winning* program run by the Skunk Works--the F-117A Stealth

 

Fighter. In 1976, work began on the Have Blue prototype, and in late 1978 Lockheed received the

 

full-scale development contract. In just over a decade, the Skunk Works would supply the country

 

with 59 Stealth Fighters. The program moved from design go-ahead to first flight in thirty-one

 

months and initial operational capability(IOC) in sixty months. Since the F-117A was essentially a

 

concurrent development, production, and deployment program, test pilots conducted flight tests

 

while operators trained in the aircraft and developed tactics. The Skunk Works' Richard Silz stated

 

that essential testing was completed by IOC in October 1983, but for several years after that flight

 

test continued to fill in missing data. According to Silz, "While this approach to testing worked

 

and is probably in the best traditions of the Skunk Works, flight test is just this year finishing the

 

final reports on the last of the original test plans written over ten years ago." (11:27-28)

 

Although not a "lean-production" program in the contemporary sense of the word, this

 

silver-bullet procurement is a textbook example of the way an acquisition strategy should be

 

executed using this production concept. Though few procurements will have the various benefits

 

of classified, or "black" program management oversight, all program managers can learn from the

 

experiences of the Skunk Works team and incorporate those lean-production lessons into their

 

acquisition strategies. A need was determined, a technology was developed, prototypes were built

 

and tested to reduce program risk, and 59 platforms and their attendant support equipment and

 

technical data were procured over the program's production run. During this production run, and

 

operational squadron achieved IOC and refined its combat tactics. An ongoing flight test program

 

continued to supply the operators with valuable data and product improvements. At a unit flyaway

 

cost of under $43 million, the company produced a superb product at a fair price. Any future

 

 

*Two test pilots from the F-117A Stealth Fighter flight test program were awarded the Iven C. Kinchloe Award at

the 1989 Society of Experimental Test Pilots Symposium. Each year, the award is presented in recognition of

outstanding accomplishments in the conduct of flight test activities. The award was presented to Lt Col Ken Dyson,

USAF (Ret), Chief Test Pilot for Rockwell International, and William C. Park, Jr., then Director, Advanced

Development Products Flight Operations at Lockheed. Both men were preciously ineligible for consideration for this

award due to the classification of their project. They were the only pilots to fly the radical proof-of-concept aircraft

that pioneered current stealth technology, and later, development and production of the F-117A. (18:357)

 

 

acquisition program using the Stealth Fighter paradigm will be complying with the intent and spirit

 

of the lean-production concept. Though previous success is no guarantee of future performance,

 

imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

 

 

Conclusions

 

General Loh has stated that all future weapon systems will be "subject to" low rate

 

production. Rather than having future acquisition programs only subject to lean production, by

 

actually adopting lean production as a first-choice production concept on appropriate programs,

 

the acquisition community would be able to keep contractor teams together and keep assembly

 

lines at least warm. The genuine article would be available for operator training and operational

 

test and evaluation. Finally, the services would accumulate actual numbers of combat platforms in

 

sufficient quantity to operationally employ them, though over a longer times period than provided

 

by full-rate production decisions.

 

The threat is surely ambiguous. The threat is decidedly volatile. The Middle East, the

 

Balkans, and India are defined by centuries-old religious, racial, and ethnic conflict; North Korea

 

may finally field atomic weapons this year and may implode before the end of the century; South

 

America leads the world in drug production and distribution. Our own streets are filled with some

 

of the most violent crime in the civilized world. At the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution

 

of the Warsaw Pact, America rejoiced at the realization of the Cold War victory. Communism

 

was declared bankrupt and the Soviet Union disintegrated into a confused collection of fifteen

 

independent states, some of which discovered they were now custodians of quite large

 

conventional and nuclear arsenals. The media hailed President Boris Yeltsin as a visionary capable

 

of bringing the new confederation out of its moral and economic decay and into the light of

 

democracy and freedom of religion. Unfortunately, it would seem that the window of opportunity

 

to assist democratic reform in the former Soviet Union may be about to close as the various

 

countries assess and consolidate their holdings and define their strategic goals. Recent

 

observations indicate that some of these states are beginning their own defense industries with the

 

remnants of the ex-Soviet Union's defense industrial complex. An intelligence community study

 

indicates that Russia, Ukraine, Georgia Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan are all producing major

 

weapon systems and other military hardware. (21:A1) Just months ago an invincible media

 

darling, Mr Yeltsin now enjoys only a tenuous political future at best, if at all. America cannot sit

 

on the sidelines and simply watch the world go by, hoping no threat will emerge that might disrupt

 

our defense conversion:

 

[Secretary of State, Mr Warren] Christopher warned that if Russia were to

fall into anarchy or return to despotism the U.S. would pay a 'frightening'

price. 'Nothing less is involved than the possibility of a renewed nuclear

threat; higher defense budgets; spreading instability; and a devastating

setback for the world-wide democratic movement....'(9:A8)

 

Many actors in the world community are not sympathetic with our desire to reduce our military

 

forces or resolve our economic problems. Clearly, as we monitor the numerous threats throughout

 

the world, we must as a nation remember there are those states who opportunistically relish our

 

impending diminished capability to respond anytime, anywhere, to any crisis. Until recently not an

 

issue, our Cold War and conflict-tested military power may soon be compromised, and with that,

 

our most important national interests may be indefensible and our treaty obligations unhonorable.

 

Facing drastic budget cuts and a new threat environment, DoD must lean forward in joint

 

fashion, acknowledging a deteriorating defense industrial base, haphazard decreases in weapons

 

platforms, and the potential for reduced combat capability as a result of insufficient training.

 

Defense Secretary Aspin, during his confirmation hearings, stated that the DoD acquisition system

 

is "increasingly complex and adversarial." He intends to streamline and simplify the process while

 

protecting it from new abuses. (15:B6A) In an interview with the Air Force Times that same

 

week, then Defense Secretary Cheney, pointing out that $1 billion was set aside this year for

 

defense conversion, said, "There is a new tendency in Congress to spend money on what are

 

essentially domestic programs and call it defense."(24:3)

 

The first production concept the program manager should consider as he writes his

 

acquisition strategy should be lean production, as its application could solve many contemporary

 

defense procurement problems with only a single effort. A lean-production decision would

 

simplify the acquisition process for defense procurement programs, guard against abuses, and

 

focus defense dollars on defense programs. It would enable more hands-on training on operational

 

systems; supply adequate numbers of operational systems; and provide sufficient business volume

 

and incentive to maintain a viable defense industrial base, each attribute a critical and necessary

 

component of any future acquisition strategy. In short, by directly addressing these issues, a broad

 

application, of the lean-production concept would contribute synergistically to the strategic,

 

operational, tactical levels of our preparation for war. If the acquisition community is to

 

become part of the solution and assist the president in making the men and women who serve

 

under the American flag remain the best-trained, the best-prepared, and the best-equipped fighting

 

force in the world, we must acknowledge the many threats to our national interests and focus our

 

defense procurement efforts on the protection these interests. Simply, to solve many of our

 

most pressing contemporary defense procurement issues, one initiative stands out--a long-term,

 

first-choice commitment to lean production as the production concept of choice in the program

 

manager's acquisition strategy.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

1. Bickers, Charles. "U.S. Fight for Survival." Jane's Defense Weekly, 12 September 1992,

pp. 34-35.

 

2. Cochrane, Charles B. "DoD's New Acquisition Approach: Myth or Reality?" Program

Manager, 21 (July-August 1992), 38-46.

 

3. Department of Defense. Department of Defense Instruction 5000.2: Defense Acquisition

Management Policies and Procedures, February 1991.

 

4. Dunlap, Charles J. Jr., "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012." Parameters,

XXII(Winter 1992-93), 19-20.

 

5. Gold, Ted, Hicks & Associates, Inc., and Richard Wagner, Kaman Corporation. "Long

Shadows and Virtual Swords.: Managing Defense Resources in the Changing Security

Environment." June 1990, as described in Cochrane, Charles B. "DoD's New Acquisition

Approach: Myth or Reality?" Program Manager, 21(July-August 1992),39.

 

6. Griffin, Louisa. "Simulation and Training: A Well-Protected Piece of the DoD Budget Pie."

Defense Electronics, 24 (April 1992), 45-49.

 

7. Holzer, Robert, and George Leopold. "Technology Programs Elude DoD Budget Ax."

Defense News, 22-28 February 1993, p.18.

 

8. Hughes, David. "Use of Consultants Grows as Industry Restructures." Aviation Week and

Space Technology, 4 January 1993, pp. 58-60.

 

9. Ignatius, Adi, and Carla Anner Robbins. "Russian Crisis Eases as Court Considers Issues." The

Wall Street Journal, 23 March 1993, Section A., p.8.

 

10. Lesser, Roger. "Pentagon Targets Training as Critical Asset." Defense Electronics,

24 (November 1992), 29.

 

11. Lynch, David J. "How the Skunk Works Fielded Stealth." Air Force Magazine,

75(November 1992), 22-28.

 

12. Morrocco, John D. "Lockheed Buys Shares in Future." Aviation Week and Space

Technology, 14/21 December 1992,pp.20-21.

 

13. Opall, Barbara. "Loh: Industrial Base to Guide AF Weapon Plans." Defense News,

8-14 February 1993, p.6.

 

14. Payne, Kieth B., Linda H. Vlahos, and Willis A. Stanley. "Evolving Russian Views on

Defense: An Opportunity for Cooperation." Strategic Review, XXI(Winter 1993), 61-72.

 

15. Ricks, Thomas E. "Aspin Sidesteps Questions at Hearing on His Nomination to be Defense

Chief," The Wall Street Journal, 8 January 1993, Section B., p.6A.

 

16. Silverberg, David. "Clinton Takes First Steps to Guide New Procurement Policy." Defense

News, 8-14 February 1993, p. 42.

 

17. Skantze Lawrence. "Restore Sense to Acquisition." Defense News, 23-39 November 1992,

p. 15.

 

18. Thirty-Third Symposium Proceedings. Lancaster, California: The Society of Experimental

Test Pilots, 1989.

 

19. United States Air Force. Headquarters US Air Force. Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the

United States Air Force, Air Force Manual 1-1, Vol II. Washington DC, March 1992.

 

20. United States Air Force. Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command. "Acquisition

Plans/Strategy Panels. " Intermediate Systems Acquisition Management-SAS006, Volume I.

Brooks AFB, Texas: Systems Acquisition School, October 1991.

 

21. "What's News-World Wide." The Wall Street Journal, 4 March 1993, Section A., p.1.

 

22. The White House. National Security Strategy of the United States, August 1991.

 

23. Willis, Grant. "A New Generation of Warriors." Navy Times, 18 March 1991,p.12.

 

24. Wolffe, Jim. "Concern Voiced That Drawdown Could Worsen." Air Force Times,

11 January 1993, p. 3.

 

25. "Word for Word." Defense News, 22-28 February 1993, p.14.

 



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