While the Air Force has improved the cost and performance of its big acquisition programs, there are still schedule issues lingering across the process that must be addressed, the service’s top acquisition official said. Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the military deputy for acquisition for the Air Force, said during an Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International event in Arlington, Va., that he is “not as happy” with the service’s progress in addressing schedule delays in acquisition processes. “Our schedule growth is going up,” he said, saying the service is looking at key areas to drive reductions. Delays have been seen in key programs such as the KC-46A tanker. The service is focusing on how long it takes for a program to get on contract, which is now at about 12 months, down from about 17 months in recent years. The service wants to get that timespan into the single digits. To do so, USAF is looking at programs in the $50 to $500 million range as a sample to study the process and identify “what the drivers are in timelines.” He hopes to be able to put additional resources into the process in ways to drive down the schedule more. The Air Force and industry need to work on setting more realistic schedules from the beginning of new acquisition programs, Bunch said. “Getting on contract is a team sport,” he said.
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.