Competition: A Means to Transform the Defense Industrial Base
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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The United States national security and military strategies articulate the need to transform our forces and major defense institutions to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The defense acquisition process and its industrial base comprise a significant economic institution in need of transformation to ensure that research, development, and acquisition efforts remain relevant to current, future, and emergency national security requirements. Transformation, therefore, must include efforts to improve the defense acquisition process that would subsequently enable it to deliver products and services that provide desired capabilities. Perpetual suggestions of acquisition reform often focus on regulatory and statutory leverage and process reform. Acquisition reform, stable appropriations, spiral development, and innovative collaboration are valuable recommendations. However, few of them offer the significant benefits derived through market leverage, namely competition. This paper reviews the weary acquisition process, the changing industrial landscape, and an emerging government policy, then analyzes some ways the DoD should consider to leverage market conditions and improve competition as a means to transform the defense industrial base. Competition can help reduce cycle times, lower costs, and improve innovation and weapon systems performance throughout the weapon systems lifecycle, from development through sustainment. Moreover, competition will be imperative early in the RD phases, given the growing enthusiasm for evolutionary acquisition and quicker development and production cycle times. As witnessed in both commercial and defense industries, competition not regulation, compels industry to integrate advanced technologies into producible systems and deploy them to the marketplace in this case the warfighter-in the shortest time practicable.
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies