Let’s Talk Process

Retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence Farrell Jr., now president of the National Defense Industrial Association, told the House Armed Services Committee’s defense acquisition reform panel July 21 (see above) that the acquisition process requires a “healthy tension” between operators who state requirements and acquisition professionals who manage the programs. He added, “And, there needs to be somebody at the time refereeing that process.” Farrell said, too, that part of the job for acquisition professionals has to be to tell operators the true impact of adding requirements. That means they must say: “What you’re asking is going to take a total redesign. It’s going to add this many years. It’s going to add this many dollars.” The arbitrator then decides whether that’s the right approach. Farrell, too, is a big believer in “block development” rather than adding all the capability up front. He said that with block development, “you’d see a measurable improvement in [a program’s] cost and schedule performance.”