The Marine Corps And Systems Acquisition CSC 1984 SUBJECT AREA Logistics THE MARINE CORPS AND SYSTEMS ACQUISITION Submitted to Rudolph V. Wiggins, PhD In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for Written Communications The Marine Corps Command and Staff College Quantico, Virginia Major Reed T. Bolick United States Marine Corps April 6, 1984 THE MARINE CORPS AND SYSTEMS ACQUISITION Outline Thesis sentence: The Marine Corps' system acquisition process needs to be revised in order to bring it in line with the recent acquisition improvement program im- plemented by the Secretary of Defense. I. Introduction A. Most Marines are unaware of the systems acquisition process B. LAV program demonstrated Marine Corps short- comings II. Basis for Marine Corps involvement in systems acquisition A. National Security Act of 1947 B. Department of Defense direction C. Secretary of the Navy direction III. Description of the systems acquisition process as revised by the AIP A. Major system vs. non-major system B. Sequence of events 1. Identify a need 2. Program Initiation 3. Concept Exploration 4. Demonstration and Validation 5. Full-Scale Development 6. Production and Deployment IV. Marine Corps systems acquisition and how it could be improved A. The basic framework 1. Acquisition executive and the MSARC/IPR 2. Program Sponsor and the ACG B. Changes or revalidations needed 1. DC/S R&P as IPR Committee chairman 2. Add R&P representative to ACG 3. Eliminate coordinator role for DC/S I&L and DC/S RD&S 4. Train those working in systems acquisition 5. Establish an additional MOS for acquisition duty 6. Establish an amphibious vehicle PMO with a Marine PM V. Summary A. Proposed changes reemphasized B. Importance of effective participation in system acquisition reinforced THE MARINE CORPS AND SYSTEMS ACQUISITION To the majority of the Marine Corps the term "systems acquisition" means little or nothing at all. Yet, for those who have been exposed to it, it is quite clear that the entire material aspect of our war fighting machine depends on a successful participation in the Department of Defense's (DOD) systems acquisition arena. For a Service whose sole orientation seems focused on the sweeping big blue arrows of tactics, it is difficult to generate much interest in something as mundane as systems acquisition. For this very reason the Marine Corps has been a follower -- and not a very good one at that -- to the other Services' acquisition pro- cedures. Instead of being a follower, with the proper emphasis and direction from Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) we could have been pioneering new and more efficient pro- cedures which could have set the standards for the other Services. The Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) program brought to the forefront the Marine Corps' unpreparedness to deal with a major weapons system acquisition. In retrospect, whatever success was achieved by the LAV program was in spite of the Marine Corps' policies and management principles for the acquisition of material and equipments, not because of them. It was due primarily to the conscientious and tireless efforts of the relatively few officers and civilians -- most of whow were untrained in systems acquisition -- that the LAV pro- gram was able to transition from an idea into a production vehicle in less than four years. Almost anyone familiar with the normal five-to-ten year acquisition cycle would consider this under-four year achievement to be almost un- thinkable. Having worked on the inside of this program for its first three years and hating developed (through on-the- job training) some experience in systems acquisition, it is my opinion that if there had been a nucleus of officers trained in systems acquisition and if the Marine Corps' systems acquisition management policies had been in line with those of Congress and DOD, our efforts would have been much more efficient. Based on this opinion and after con- siderable research into the recent DOD Acquisition Improve- ment Program (AIP), it is my intent to propose changes to Marine Corps Order (MCO) P5000.10A, Systems Acquisition Management Manual, which will bring it in line with the DOD AIP and significantly facilitate future systems acqui- sitions. Having set my goal, it is necessary to establish the basis from which I have derived the importance I have attributed to the systems acquisition process. The basic charter for the Marine Corps is contained in Title 10, United States Code, Section 125, otherwise known as the National Security Act of 1947 with ammendments. It is within this document that the Marine Corps' purpose and basic organization are established. Subsequent implementing DOD and Secretary of the Navy (SecNav) directives have further defined the functions of the Marine Corps. Among those functions which directly bear on this paper are the following: (1) "Be the lead Service in the development of equipment employed by landing forces in amphibious operations" and, in coordination with the other Military Services, develop equipment for airborne operations not provided for by the Army.1 (2) Determine Marine Corps unique character- istics for any equipment developed by other Services to insure its effectiveness for the Marine Corps.2 (3) ". . . provide for the development, test, and evaluation of new weapon systems and equipment to insure that such are adequate and responsive to immediate and long-range objectives and are within available re- sources."3 Having established that the Marine Corps does indeed have a responsibility to participate in systems acquisition, it is now logical to describe the process by which material is acquired. The DOD's recently concluded AIP revised the acquisition process, making it even more imperative that the Marine Corps bring its obsolete policies up to date. Since the process outlined in the AIP is not likely to be changed by the Marine Corps, I shall use it as the basis for my explanation. To keep the system magageable acqui- sitions have been divided into two classes. A major system is one which meets the following criteria: (1) special interest to the Secretary of Defense; (2) a joint acquisition by two or more Services; (3) estimated costs exceed $200 million (FY 80 dollars) in research, development, test) and evaluation (RDT&E) funds or $1 billion (FY 80 dollars) in procurement funds; or (4) has significant congressional interest. A non-major system is one not meeting the above criteria. At first glance one would assume the Marine Corps would not have to worry about this at all because of the high dollar value thresholds. The fact is, however, that many of our acquisitions could easily meet the other criteria and it only takes one to make the program a major system candi- date. Another, and perhaps more important, factor bearing on the Marine Corps' need to be conversant with the acqui- sition process is that DOD has directed that the management principles and objectives described for major systems shall also be applied to the acquisition of non-major systems. The requirement for a system should be derived from a deficiency cited in the Marine Corps Long-Range Plan and/or the Marine Corps Midrange Objectives Plan. It is the re- sponsibility of the appropriate Acquisition Program Sponsor (APS) within HQMC to define the need in mission terms and prioritize it within his respective mission areas as de- fined in MCO P5000.10A. A basic science and technology rersearch is conducted under the auspices of the Naval Material Command (NavMat) and the Marine Corps Development and Education Command (MCDEC). If technological solutions are identified and deemed feasible, then the APS prepares a justification statement to include the projected funding requirements. For major systems this was formerly done by means of a Mission Element Need Statement (MENS) and was not tied to the budgetary process. The AIP, however, has replaced the MENS with a Justification for a Major System New Start (JMSNS) and requires that it be submitted with the Program Objective Memorandum (POM) submission in which funds for the budget year of the POM are requested.6 This is a significant change which will bring the system acqui- sition process into line with the governmental Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System (PPBS). It is important to remember that while only major systems require JMSNS, all systems must be adequately defined at their inception due to the competition for the limited funds available. While this paper will focus on the cycle for major systems, it is understood that a similar cycle is required, at a lower level, for non-major systems. The JMSNS and the POM initiative represent the pro- gram initiation and sets in motion a process designed to insure that each system is developed and procured in the most efficient manner. Care is exercised during the initial steps of the acquisition process not to conform mission needs or program objectives to any known system or pro- ducts that might foreclose consideration of alternatives.7 The first phase of this effort is the Concept Exploration (CE) phase during which all potential alternatives are analyzed. Among the types of alternatives examined are modifications to existing systems, use of another Service's system, an off-the-shelf commercial system, or a friendly foreign system. Only after concluding that none of the above will effectively fulfill the need do we consider developing a new system. The CE phase concludes with a Milestone I requirement validation based upon an approved Required Operational Capability (ROC) document,8 a System Concept Paper (SCP), and a Secretary of Defense decision.9 The next step in the process is the Demonstration and Validation (D&V) Phase. During this phase numerous pro- gram documents, including the ROC, are prepared and/or refined. Additionally, the test and evaluation process attempts to reduce the system candidates to those most feasible. Under the AIP the review of the D&V results would be the last Secretary of Defense level review re- quired for a major system. It is obvious that considerable detail would be required at this Milestone II review in order for the Secretary of Defense to grant the Service the authority to proceed with the program. This decentrali- zation by the AIP is seen as placing the burden of account- ability squarely on the shoulders of the Services. This simply further emphasizes the need for the Marine Corps to bring its acquisition policy in line with that of DOD and dedicate the resources (personnel and finances) to its proper execution. Having narrowed the competitors to ideally two or three, the Bull Scale Development (FSD) Phase is conducted. Simply put, this phase is a head-to-head competition to see which candidate best satisfies the requirement document or purchase description. It has been determined at Milestone II. that any of the competitors could satisfy the need, so the Secretary of Defense has allowed the Service Head to choose the most cost and operationally effective system. Milestone III, then, is reached when a production decision is made and the fielding is commenced. Figure 1 graphi- cally portrays the major systems acquisition process and should be reviewed keeping in mind that the cycle is the same for non-major systems -- but at a lower level. Click here to view image With an understanding of the acquisition process and the confidence that the Marine Corps will comply with the DOD directions 10 to implement this process, let us now con- centrate on the fundamental changes within our policy needed to facilitate this process. While the DOD's AIP decentralized the review process, it has made it imperative that the Services have a centralized system. This necessi- tates an internal management system not only to assure timely direction, influence, or monitoring of program activity, but to integrate system capability, priority, schedule, costs, etc., into the total Marine Corps program and to prepare for its operation and support when deployed. A system of program sponsorship and clearly defined re- sponsibilities of supporting staff and field agencies will fabilitate this internal management. The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (ACMC) is the Service's acquisition executive and heads the overall acquisition process. He is assisted by the Marine Corps System Acquisition Review Council (MSARC) which he chairs. The MSARC is a board of general officers consisting of all the Deputy Chiefs of Staff (DC/S), the Commanding General (CG) of MCDEC, the Fiscal Director, the Director of the C4 Systems Division, and the Director of the Intelligence Division. While the MSARC makes recommendations on major systems for the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC), an In-Progress Review (IPR) Committee deals with non-major systems. The IPR Committee membership is tailored to those with specific interest in the program. Currently the DC/S for Research, Development and Studies (RD&S) chairs the IPR, but it is considered that the DC/S for Requirements and Programs (R&S) would be a more appropriate chairman. The DC/S for RD&S deals solely in the R&D arena whereas the DC/S for R&P is more cognizant of the overall require- ments for the Marine Corps. This change should not require any major functional revisions, except to MCO P5000.10A, since the role of the chairman is primarily that of medi- ator below the acquisition executive level. As mentioned earlier, each system has an Acquisition Program Sponsor (APS) within HQMC who has the overall responsibility throughout the acquisition process and during the system's life cycle.11 The APS is supported in this responsibility by a group of project officers from those agencies directly involved with the system to be acquired. This group is the Acquisition Coordinating Group (ACG) and is chaired by the sponsor's project officer. The current ACG membership as outlined in MCO P5000.10A should have a project officer from the R&P Department added in order to insure that early coordination with that department is made. Since the R&P Department coordinated the POM process and is most involved in the overall direction of the Marine Corps, it is only logical that it be an active participant in the early stages of the system acquisition process. Though the APS is the primary advocate of the system within HQMC,12 this responsibility is diluted by the cur- rent policy establishing the DC/S for RD&S and the DC/S for Installations and Logistics (I&L) as coordinators for the acquisition executive through various stages of the acqui- sition process. In MCO P5000.10A the DC/S for RD&S is the coordinator from program initiation to the systems approval for service use (Milestone III). The DC/S for I&L becomes the coordinator from Milestone III and continues in this role throughout the life cycle of the system.13 While both coordinators work in conjunction with the APS, they each have direct lines to the acquisition executive. This appears to be contrary to the direction to establish clear lines of authority,14 and to clearly establish the responsibility and accountability within the systems acquisition process.15 Under the current policy it is possible that decisions can be made through the coordinators' access to the acquisition executive without the APS being aware of them. This system also tends to foster considerable misinformation since any one of three sources can formulate responses to program questions from external agencies. Experience has shown that the possibility for conflicting information being generated by this procedure is very high. In order to keep this possibility to a minimum, a time-consuming review process would be required and that would simply add yet another layer in the system. Without disrupting the primary budgetary functions of either the DC/S for RD&S or the DC/S for I&L, there is a workable solution to the situation outlined above. The APS must be the source for all program information. He is the only source which is responsible to the acquisition executive for the complete acquisition process from the identification of the need throughout the life cycle of the selected system. The APS should be the single source for the acquisition executive with the coordinators supporting the APS by their representatives within the ACG. The final step within the revision of the systems acquisition management policies is centered on the day-to- day program management itself. Normally the Marine Corps will acquire any needed equipment from another Service. The current system of monitoring the various development activities of the other Services enables us to adopt those systems which fulfill a common need. If, however, we desire to make a significant change to another Service's system, enter into a joint development, or undertake a unilateral acquisition -- as in the case of amphibious vehicles -- we must dedicate adequate personnel and finan- cial resources to program management. This means, at a minimum, that those assigned to key project officer billets within the ACG must be adequately trained in respect to their specific duties. MCO P5000.10A even states that those key project officers serving in acquisition management billets ". . . will attend appropriate DOD management courses related to the management of systems acquisitions and similar courses in other military Services." Unfor- tunately this is rarely done and, consequently, only minimal effectiveness is achieved by those assigned to systems acquisition billets. What is worse is that we are doomed to repeat our errors due to a lack of adequate continuity. Both of these issues could be resolved by school training those serving on ACGs early in their tours and then creating an additional MOS so that they could be identified for future service. Related to the above is the need to accept responsi- bility for the one system the Marine Corps has a legal requirement to manage. As stated earlier, the development of equipment related to amphibious operations is within the charter of the Marine Corps. We currently rely on the Navy to manage our amphibious vehicle program with minimal Marine Corps personnel assigned to assist in this effort. Given our historic emphasis on our amphibious capabilities, it is unthinkable that we do not have a Marine Corps amphibious vehicle program office staffed and supported at a level comparable to the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle System program office. Simply put, the Marine Corps needs a designated program manager for amphibious vehicles, who is supported by an appropriately staffed and trained program management Office (PMO). One only has to trace the history of the Landing Vehicle Tracked-Experimental (LVT-X) and how it evolved from the Amphibious Warfare Surface Assault (AWSA) Mens to know that a more effective management effort could have saved millions of dollars in what has been somewhat fruitless endeavors. Because we have been assigned the lead in equipment development relating to amphibious warfare, and because it is opin- ioned that any amphibious vehicle so developed will be designated a major system, it is imperative that the Marine Corps accept the fact that it must be a full participant in the Systems acguisition arena. Failing to do so could, in time, result in the loss of the single most unique capa- bility we have -- excellence in amphibious operations. The main purpose of this paper has been to suggest several changes to the Marine Corps' System Acquisition Manual, NCO P5000.10A. The changes which have been suggested are as follows: 1. Revise the Marine Corps' system acquisition cycle to coincide with the new DOD cycles 2. Have all systems acquisitions -- whether major or non-major -- follow the revised cycle at an appropriate level. 3. Make the DC/S for R&P the chairman of the IPR Committee. 4. Add the project officer from R&P to the membership of the ACG. 5. Eliminate the coordinator for the acqui- sition executive roles of the DC/S for I&L and the DC/S for RD&S. 6. Require adequate training for those assigned to a billet within the systems acquisition process. 7. Assign an additional MOS to those who are trained and successfully complete a tour in systems acquisition. 8. Establish a Marine Corps amphibious vehicle program management office with a full-time Marine officer as the PM. In addition to conveying the above suggestions, it is hoped that this paper has allowed the reader to become more knowledgeable of the systems acquisition process and how important it is to the Marine Corps' warfighting capa- bility. FOOTNOTES 1Department of Defense Directive 5100.1, Functions of the Department of Defense and its Major components, January 26, 1980, p.9. 2Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5400.13, Assign- ment and Distribution of Authority and Responsibility for the Administration of the Department of the Navy, August 24, 1971, p.3. 3Ibid., p.4. 4Department of Defense Directive 5000.1,Major Systems Acquisition, March 29, 1982, p.6. 5Ibid., p.2. 6Department of Defense Instruction 5000.2, Major Systems Acquisition Procedures, March 8, 1983, p.4. 7Office of Management and Budget Circular No. A-109, Major Systems Acquisitions, April 5, 1976, p.8. 8Marine Corps Order P500.10A, Systems Acquisition Management Manual, January 27, 1981, p.2-5. 9DOD Instruction 5000.2, p.4. 10DOD Directive 5000.1, p.10. 11MCO P5000.10A, p.1-8. 12Ibid. 13Ibid., p.1-6. 14OMB Circular No. A-109, p.4. 15DOD Directive 5000.1, p.2. BIBLIOGRAPHY Brabson, G. Dana. "The Defense Acquisition Improvement Program." Program Manager, 6 (November-December 1983), 5-13. Brown, William D. "Program Instability -- Fighting Goliath." Program Manager, 6 (November-December 1983), 30-32,61. Department of Defense Directive 5000.1. "Major System Acquisition." (March 29,1982). Department of Defense Directive 5000.23. "System Acquisition Management Careers." (November 26, 1974). Department of Defense Directive 5000.1. "Functions of the Department of Defense and its Major Components." (January 26, 1980). Department of Defense Instruction 5000.2. "Major System Acquisition Procedures." (March 8, 1983). Marine Corps Order 3900.43. "Marine Corps Operational Requirements Documents." (December 15, 1975). Naval Material Command Instruction 3910.16A. "Naval Material Command Developmental Support for the Marine Corps." (February 29, 1972). Office of Management and Budget Circular No. A-109. "Major System Acquisition." (April 5, 1976). Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5400.13. "Assignment and Distribution of Authority and Responsibility for the Administration of the Department of the Navy." (August 24, 1971). Smith, Gordon A. "A-109: A Synthesis of Concerns and Interpretations Expressed in the Literature." Program Manager, 6 (November-December 1983), 20-29. Stefansson, David R., and Roesch, Maurice A. "The Selection of a Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) for the Marine Corps -- An Applied Example of Decision Analysis for Defense Systems Acquisition." Unpub- lished Research Paper, The Industrial College of the Armed Forces, April 1982. Thayer, Paul. "The Grace Commission and Defense Acqui- sition." Defense 84, (January 1984), 2-7.
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