Magazine article National Defense

Readers' Forum

Magazine article National Defense

Readers' Forum

Article excerpt


Acquisition Reform

* In his President's Perspective column, "Budget Pressures Beg for a Serious Look at Overhauling Acquisition System," May 2012, Lawrence Farrell suggests that budget pressures should lead to an overhaul of the acquisition system. This is a quixotic call that will not be heeded since the acquisition morass has nothing to do with the budget. Not only does the acquisition bureaucracy not know what it wants, but in the interest of streamlining, it closes off options.

For a perfect example, consider the effort to acquire Special Operations Command trucks [May 2012, p. 44). The vast difference in the potential candidates immediately suggests that the actual requirement is very vague. According to the article, the program is using a two-phase approach. First, written proposals and test data will result in an award of up to two contracts for further evaluation. The second phase includes purchasing two prototypes from each vendor for testing. A single winner will then get the full contract.

So with no clear requirement, SOCOM is only shopping for proposals and yet will immediately narrow down to only two, from which one will eventually be the winner. So two vendors that have divined correctly SOCOM's nebulous and evolving desires get chosen while all the potential expertise and capabilities of others are ignored, eliminated by their inability to read the mind of a SOCOM evolvingrequirements writer.

This is stupid. SOCOM should only consider these first-round proposals and prototypes as "what is available and feasible" and use that information to then revise its operational and technical requirements. That next revised requirement document should then be put out for another round of proposals. Only then should the competition begin. You have to let industry know what you want before you can get successful, creative solutions.

Chester A. Kojro

Rolla, MO

Energy Security

* Regarding Lawrence P. Farrell's President's Perspective column, "New American Ou Boom: Will It Slow DoD's Renewable Energy Momentum?" (June 2012, p.4), the oil boom is a blessing, not an obstacle to the Defense Department's renewable energy momentum.

The administration and Defense are all hung up on human-caused global warming to the detriment of recognizing the incredible opportunity the "boom" presents to significantly reduce our strategic dependence on foreign oil while modernizing our ground transportation industry. Let the airline industry, and the Departments of Energy, Transportation and Agriculture provide the impetus for alternate liquid fuels, while the Defense Department exploits the boom in domestic oil production to its strategic advantage, directing funds saved to refurbish an over-worked military and to modernize to the maximum extent budgets will tolerate.

Your reliance on studies done by the Center for Naval Analysis undercuts the message that this President's Perspective should be giving. …

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