Everything old is new again

Via the excellent naval blog Information Dissemination comes an 8 minute presentation of the evolution of the procurement process for the DoD.

Every administration comes in saying that it will improve the acquisition and procurement process and save money. The current administration claims they will save about $40 billion. Somehow, I suspect that will be more in terms of cuts rather than efficiencies gained.

Don’t get too wrapped around the axle on a lot of the acronyms. Just about the time you learn what they mean, they change them all. The takeaway point here is that while the process has grown somewhat more complicated, the fundamentals haven’t changed all that much.

And recall this as well, this is the DoD side of the equation. We haven’t even begun to address the issues of Congressional influence on the procument process. They’re the ones with the checkbook, so they get quite a bit of say in what gets bought, and how. An example of that influence would be seen in the contracting for Virginia class nuclear subs. There are two yards in the US that can build nuke subs.  In order to maintain that two yard capability, no one expects the contracts for the VA class boats to be winner take all. What you would anticipate for something like that would be for the yards to compete and the buy to split somewhere around a 3/2 split for the winner with a new competition every five boats or so. What Congress instead did was mandate that the two yards split each boat! Both yards would build components of each boat and then merge the pieces. If there’s a tougher way to build a sub, I don’t know what it is. And that’s a program that’s going well.

U.S.S. Virginia
U.S.S. Virginia