Chapter I Strategy and Overview
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


2. Acquisition Reform

How we acquire and field these capabilities is critical to achieving the vision. The current acquisition process was designed for acquiring large, new weapon systems produced in quantity. It takes too long and costs too much for our post-Cold War budgets and today's technology turnover times. We must accomplish meaningful acquisition reform to be able to modernize the Army in a timely and affordable manner. We must become a world-class customer supported by world-class suppliers, using the full capabilities of America's total industrial base, governed by an acquisition system based on trust and partnership and incentivization of proper risk management, not risk aversion. As a minimum, we need to implement the following key improvements in our contracts:

Our acquisition development cycle times must allow us to field the winning-edge technology before our adversaries can develop or buy the same technology. A smaller Army must be better and more modern than any enemy. We cannot afford to do otherwise, lest we field mediocre equipment and lose our capability to win decisively with minimum casualties.

With our wide range of missions, global uncertainty, increased global technology transfer, and limited RDA budget, the Army must lead acquisition reform. For example, we require that all Acquisition Category I and II programs as well as all Advanced Technology Demonstrations (ATDs) have a Simulation Support Plan to ensure that advanced distributed simulations are used to improve acquisition by such time and cost-saving techniques as virtual prototyping from concept to production. The TRADOC Battle Labs are critical in simulating, experimenting, and assessing advanced technologies and concepts, thereby accelerating and improving both the requirement and acquisition processes.

We have required ATD to be sponsored by a Battle Lab and have at least one experiment performed at a Battle Lab. The Advanced Concepts and Technology (ACT) II program is funding competitively selected proposals from industry to demonstrate promising technology and prototypes of keen interest to all the Battle Labs. The Battle Lab Directors select the topics to be requested. Each of these will be tested and/or simulated at a sponsoring Battle Lab. The OSD Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) initiative will allow us to rapidly prototype promising technologies and provide real capabilities for the war fighting customer to evaluate. (See below, Section E.1, for more on the ACTD program.)

Horizontal Technology Integration (HTI), the application of common enabling technologies across multiple systems to improve the war fighting capability of the force, allows us to lower research and development costs and development time and obtain lower unit production costs by procuring larger quantities of the same subsystem for different weapons systems. We also benefit from a common logistics base for the same subsystems on multiple platforms. Key technologies that we will insert under this concept include the 2nd Generation FLIR, Battlefield Combat Identification Systems, Digitization, and Survivability Suite of Enhanced Systems.

A final consideration in the process is how we deal with industry. We must ensure through performance specifications and streamlined, tailored, page-limited solicitations that we give them maximum flexibility by telling them what we want as an end item and not how to do it or how to get there. The New Training Helicopter and T-800 engine procurements are examples. Furthermore, we must leverage commercial technologies, products, and processes and establish open architectures that facilitate future upgrades, leveraging the commercial information technology revolution and rapid advances in computers. These initiatives will shorten acquisition times for quality upgrades, reduce life-cycle cost, and allow us to easily integrate exciting new technologies as they become available.