Fixing Acquisition

The Air Force leadership issued a joint memorandum on May 8 that lays out the five-point plan for improving the service’s acquisition arm based on shortcomings identified in recent competitions such as the KC-X tanker and CSAR-X rescue helicopter and subsequent reviews of acquisition processes. Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said the plan will serve as the “strategic framework for the critical work of modernizing and recapitalizing” the service’s air, space, and cyber systems. The five areas of focus are: revitalize the Air Force acquisition workforce; improve the requirements generation process; instill budget and financial discipline; improve Air Force major source selections; and establish clear lines of authority and accountability within acquisition organizations. Among the major activities proposed will be to increase the size and improve the training and experience of the Air Force’s professional acquisition corps. The plan calls for immediate action to increase the workforce by 258 military and 1,804 civilian personnel, and for improvement in hiring, recruiting, retention, and training. It also calls for more realistic budgeting and tighter cost control at all acquisition phases, with the flexibility to adjust or cancel programs not performing well. (Air Force report by TSgt. Amaani Lyle)