Targeting the Acquisition Kill Chain

The Air Force has launched a Bending the Cost Curve initiative with industry to improve acquisition processes, said William LaPlante, the service’s top weapons buyer. “We want to take on tasks that have measurable outcomes,” he said in a speech on June 13 at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. As one of the first tasks, LaPlante said the Air Force intends to better the up-front tasks during the “acquisition kill chain,” the term he used to describe the acquisition method from initial concept to production. “There is a set of things that happen particularly in that early part of acquisition that all of us are frustrated with, not just the quality of the work that goes on there … but also just the processes,” he said. Among the items to refine is the quality of the requests for proposal that the service issues, he said. He also wants to see industry brought in during the period early-on of development planning, when “we are not sure that we need a program, we are not sure of the concept, but we need to actually put some heads together and start thinking about it.” (For more from LaPlante’s speech, see Building New Rocket Engine Not Off the Table.) (Atlantic Council webpage with video of event.)