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Life Cycle Management:
Integrating Acquisition and Sustainment

 

By Lieutenant Colonel James O. Winbush, Jr., Christopher S. Rinaldi, and Antonia R. Giardina

 

Since it formally created an Acquisition Corps, the Army has continually strived to improve the process of developing, procuring, and sustaining its weapon systems. Because sustainment costs account for the largest portion of total life cycle costs for weapons, they remain one of the focus areas for acquisition reform. Army policy designates program managers (PMs) as responsible and accountable for all life cycle phases, including sustainment. However, holding PMs accountable for sustainment continues to be particularly challenging because planning, programming, budgeting, and execution of sustainment funding largely reside in the Army Materiel Command (AMC), not with PMs.

In an effort to improve total life cycle management, the Army has undertaken an initiative to bring the
acquisition, logistics, and technology communities closer together. A memorandum of agreement, signed on 2 August 2004, between the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, The Honorable Claude M. Bolton, Jr., and the Commanding General of AMC at that time, General Paul J. Kern, formally launched a plan for the two organizations to work together to establish life cycle management commands (LCMCs). The Chief of Staff of the Army, General Peter J. Schoomaker, approved the initiative on 16 August.

The LCMC initiative is designed to help achieve the Army's overarching goal of transforming into a more lethal and agile force that requires a significantly smaller logistics footprint to sustain itself. Logisticians in the field need to know about the LCMC initiative because it will integrate sustainment concerns with the development and acquisition of materiel. The result of the LCMC initiative will be a seamless materiel continuum from factory to foxhole, with a leaner but more effective and responsive logistics system. The dividing line between acquisition and sustainment is ending, and logisticians will become part of an Army that manages materiel and support from an integrated life cycle perspective.

Background

In October 2001, the Army initiated an action to move all project and product managers and their associated acquisition programs out of materiel development
commands and into existing, restructured or newly created PEO organizations. This action abolished the Deputies for System Acquisition in three AMC major subordinate commands (the Army Aviation and Missile Command, Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, and Army Communications-Electronics Command) and realigned their functions to the PEOs.

This restructuring created a single, streamlined chain of command for acquisition functions. It also made PMs fully responsible for life cycle management of their assigned programs. However, the realignment did not transfer the funding, personnel, or other resources needed to carry out sustainment functions.
AMC furthered the Army initiative in October 2002 by creating the Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM). This command consolidated the research, development, and engineering elements of all AMC major subordinate commands into one organization. The consolidation of the separate elements under one command structure fosters synergy among them and provides better support to the Army's PEOs. RDECOM is now the center of gravity for integrating, maturing, and demonstrating all emerging technologies for Army acquisition programs, which significantly decreases the time it takes to get these critical capabilities from the laboratory to the soldier. The RDECOM commander has the centralized control to "weight the main effort" for technology development to assist the PEOs in getting the right capabilities to the field at the right time.

Establishing Life Cycle Management

The realignment of the PMs and creation of RDECOM established direct command and support relationships for developing and integrating technologies for Army acquisition programs. However, these changes continued to foster a separation of sustainment from other acquisition functions. In effect, the changes created three "stovepiped" communities-technology development, acquisition, and sustainment-and did not provide the sustainment community with a direct link to the technology development or acquisition communities. Decisions made early in a system's life cycle disproportionately emphasize the acquisition of materiel capabilities, resulting in insufficient focus on operations, training, and support. Inadequate sustainment of fielded systems undermines the readiness and warfighting capability of the Army. The restructuring also did not provide the formal, high-level organizational relationships necessary to fully optimize the acquisition and sustainment missions.

The Army's key leaders for the acquisition, logistics, and technology communities (Assistant Secretary Bolton, General Kern, and Lieutenant General Joseph L. Yakovac, the Military Deputy to Secretary Bolton) recognized the need to bring these efforts together in an environment that fosters stronger unity of command and unity of effort. This effort begins at the top with " dual-hat" empowering of general officers and Senior Executive Service civilians to integrate the separate technology development, acquisition, and sustainment efforts. Upon Senate confirmation, General Yakovac, already serving as the Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, also will become the AMC Deputy Commanding General for Acquisition and Technology. AMC's current Deputy Commanding General, Lieutenant General Richard A. Hack, will become the Deputy Commanding General for Operations and Readiness. These changes emphasize the leadership's commitment to making this effort a complete success.

The memorandum of agreement is the first phase in this process. In broad terms, the communities agree that the Army must put together the best and most talented teams they can to support the soldiers serving the Nation around the globe. By adopting a one Army-one team mentality, the Army is taking a holistic approach to managing systems and is capitalizing on the wealth of knowledge from all the communities to find the right solutions for the tough acquisition and sustainment issues that impact Army Transformation.

The initiative also promotes true life cycle management for products and systems, which means that the entire community looks at how to shorten the acquisition process in order to rapidly type-classify and field equipment to soldiers. Perhaps most importantly, the initiative forces consideration of operating and support costs, which typically can be 80 percent of life cycle costs, up front and early in the acquisition process as a part of the "Cost as an Independent Variable" objectives found in the Defense Acquisition Guidebook.

Although the details of how each organization will look are being worked out, the agreement realigns the Aviation and Missile Command, Communications-
Electronics Command, Joint Munitions Command, and Tank-automotive and Armaments Command with the PEOs with whom they now work and creates four LCMCs: Aviation/Missile, Soldier/Ground Systems, Communications/Electronics, and Joint Munitions. The PEOs for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation; Air, Space, and Missile Defense; and Enterprise Information Systems and the Joint PEO for Chemical and Biological Defense are not affected initially. RDECOM retains its technology mission and remains strategically and operationally linked to the new commands. While the reporting chain for PMs and PEOs remains unchanged for acquisition decisions relating to the authority of the Army Acquisition Executive (Secretary Bolton), the LCMC commander is the focal point and primary agent for actions across the entire life cycle of the systems assigned to that LCMC. In some cases, LCMC commanders may be dual hatted as PEOs.

Under the initiative, each new LCMC will develop specific implementation plans outlining support relationships, processes, and internal reporting chains by February. While each LCMC will have some common organizational characteristics, guiding principles, and terms of reference, the Army's logistics leaders are giving the LCMCs maximum flexibility to organize for efficient and effective support of the soldiers in the field who use their products. A Board of Directors, consisting of the Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology/AMC Deputy Commanding General for Acquisition and Technology, the AMC Deputy Commanding General for Operations and Readiness, and the AMC G-3, will provide reports on implementation progress to the Army Acquisition Executive and the AMC Commanding General on a regular basis.

The end state of the LCMC initiative will provide the Army with the ability to reduce the acquisition cycle time, make good products even better, minimize life cycle costs, and enhance the synergy and effectiveness of the Army's acquisition, logistics, and technology communities. ALOG

 

 



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