When Instructions Provide Too Much Flexibility, Establish Rules Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment Redux: Unpredictability, Uncertainty and Program Failure: Implementing a Rule-set Can Be the Fix
Patterson, J. David
Ott, Michael A.
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More than three years have passed since the Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment (DAPA) project was completed and the results briefed to the study''s sponsor, the Deputy Secretary of Defense. In that time, the Department of Defense has issued its fourteenth major change to the Department''s Acquisition System management guidance. Combined with a shortfall of experienced and skilled acquisition business professionals, the result is a pervasive and troubling level of uncertainty and unpredictability regarding defense acquisition programs. The resulting Acquisition System including Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution (PPBE), Requirements and the little ''a'' Acquisition process lacks structure and discipline. What follows is persistent failures to meet cost, schedule and performance objectives. This paper presents a case for a mandatory set of Acquisition System rules to address this problem. Though by no means exhaustive, the recommended rules fit categories in the acquisition process, the requirements process and the PPBE process -- referred to here simply as the ''Budget Rules.'' The premise of this paper is that the right mandatory set of rules applied to Major Defense Acquisition Programs would result in weapon systems and equipment critical to warfighter success being fielded more rapidly on cost, on schedule and performing as expected.
Proceedings Paper (for Acquisition Research Program)Approved for public release; distribution unlimited.
NPS Report NumberNPS-AM-09-046
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