As presented, Commander in Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Space Command and Air Force Space Command, Commander,
"Space Expanding the Acquisition Envelope";
For the Air Force Association 1997 Acquisition Update Symposium Broadmoor Hotel,
Colorado Springs, CO
May 22, 1997
Thanks Steve for that kind introduction and Good Morning ladies and gentlemen. Im very pleased to see so many of you here today for this seventh annual acquisition update symposium. Its a pleasure to host this event in Colorado Springs in such wonderful surroundings as the Broadmoor. Its an even greater pleasure to see so much interest in Air Force Space Command and what we are doing for our great nation as we strive to work closer with those of you in industry.
Were here today to discuss a topic central to the future health and vitality of the 21st Century Air and Space Force. Acquisition reform.
This morning I want to share my perspective, as an air and space operator, on the acquisition process and acquisition reform.
Initially, Id like to briefly review what the Department of Defense and the Air Force have recently accomplished in implementing acquisition reform with emphasis on the implications for the future. Second, Ill talk about what were doing within the US and Air Force Space Commands, to put acquisition reforms in practice and the importance of these reforms. Ill share with you my vision of where I think we, in military space, are heading in the future and what were doing to get there. Finally, I'll suggest some things you, in industry, can do to assist.
I know most of you are aware of what DoD and the Air Force have been up to recently in implementing acquisition reform, but let me give you my spin on it.
First, the Air Force and DoD are listening to industry, listening to you. And if we arent were in big trouble...
You asked for relief from excessive use of military specifications that often did little more than increase costs without adding to the overall quality of a weapon system or its functionality. You got it.
For example, the program managers for the MILSTAR military satellite communications program reduced the number of military standards and specifications from 110 to 43a 60% reduction. Even more impressive, the modernization program for the Air Force Satellite Control Network experienced a 90% reduction of its MIL Standards and MILSPECS, going from 292 to only 30.
This is good news. It reminds me of a story about a friend of mine during his early days in the US Army. One day in basic training, the Drill Sergeant asked the recruits, "Why are the stocks of US Army rifles made of Walnut?"
The first recruit volunteered, "because the walnut had more shock resistance."
"Wrong," barked the drill sergeant.
Another recruit responded, "because it is more elastic."
"Perhaps, its more water resistant," responded yet another recruit.
"Wrong, again!" snapped the sergeant, "Its because the regulations say so, pure and simple!"
Im sure there are lots of similar stories. The old excuse that "weve always done it this way" is alive and well in some quarters and used to justify lack of progress and prolongation of the status quo. Well, were not doing business that way anymore and we all need to get on with the program.
You asked for relief from the extensive paperwork requirements represented by the Contract Data Requirements Lists (CDRLs). You got it.
The CDRLs required by the MILSTAR program have been reduced from 126 to 51, a 60% reduction. The Air Force Satellite Control Network modernization program now only requires 59. This is down from 374, a stunning 85% reduction.
You asked for less intrusive and less frequent oversight inspections conducted by the Defense Plant Representative Office. You got it.
Inspections required as part of the MILSTAR program oversight are down from 19,243 to less than 3700. These reductions are being matched by all Air Force Space Command programs and by programs throughout the entire Air Force.
The bottom line of all these efforts is a streamlined acquisition process. By streamlining the process, we are making it far more responsive to the needs of the user, the acquirer, and the contractorin the end significantly shortening acquisition decision cycle times.
We are also significantly reducing the non-value-added costs of the acquisition process itself. This is money better spent on more efficient engineering, manufacturing, and management processes, not on acquisition bureaucracy.
The positive synergistic effects of all these developments are clearly contributing to the most far-reaching and rapid changes to our acquisition processes in history.
These developments must continue because the acquisition of major weapons systems is arguably the most complex organized human activity ever attempted in the history of mankind, short of organized warfare. This complexity demands we keep getting better at all aspects of systems acquisition.
The Department of Defense and the Air Force are listening to your suggestions and implementing them where appropriate and feasible.
Second, the Air Force is revamping its program management structures and principles with the intent of empowering the action officers, the acquisition specialists, and the program managers at the tip of the acquisition spear. To support them, were putting standing teams of experts in place to provide the guidance and advice they need to be resourceful, innovative, responsive, and in the final analysis, successful.
The Acquisition Strategy Panel and the Request for Proposal Support Team are two key examples of these standing support teams.
The Acquisition Strategy Panel is a panel of senior level acquisition personnel from offices of the Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition (SAF/AQ), Air Force Materiel Command, and the user community designed to provide consistent advice to program managers on their program strategies.
The Request for Proposal support teams is a permanently standing, centralized support team designed to preview all Requests for Proposal in excess of ten million dollars. This acquisition reform is allowing us to move the Air Force and Space Command toward uniformly applied Request for Proposal terminology and standards.
As we attempt to standardize and streamline our acquisition processes, something we must guard against is being too conservative, too afraid of failure, and too risk averse in acquisition strategies and processes. The great successes in space pioneering have all been accomplished in the shadow of failure.
The early CORONA program was fraught with failure. The program experienced launch failures, satellite bus failures, and payload failures. But, everyone stuck by the program, eventually working out the bugs and succeedingsucceeding in a big way. Budgets werent cut and heads didnt roll. Everyone knew Discovery was a pioneering effort. Everyone knew they were pushing the envelope where mistakes and temporary setbacks come with the territory.
We need to keep that pioneering spirit alive by supporting reasonable risk-taking and innovative ideas in the face of possible failure, if we are going to implement our vision for the future. We must be prepared, if chance permits, to take a revolutionary leap to the future vice an evolutionary step.
Third the Air Force is plugging air and space operators into the acquisition process everywhere it makes sense. The intent is to assist the acquisition specialists in acquiring a system that truly meets the needs of the warfighter.
By providing a continued and consistent operational warfighting focus throughout the acquisition process, we are keeping the operational requirement in the forefront. This renders the entire acquisition process far more likely to succeed in satisfying the operational need.
To augment the presence of the air and space operators in the acquisition process, we are placing new officers entering the engineering and acquisition field in first-term operational jobs prior to their assignment as acquisition and systems engineering specialists.
This operator-first philosophy mirrors that of our sister services and is in keeping with the vision of the Secretary of the Air Force, Sheila Widnall, and the Chief of Staff, Ron Fogleman, that we are all airmen first and foremost, and specialists second. This effort will pay great dividends in keeping the acquisition process focused on the warfighters' needs.
But you may still be asking yourself "so what? Weve been contracting with the Department of Defense for decades and weve built and fielded the best military equipment on earth without acquisition reform. What do we need it for? Why is it necessary?"
Well, remember the Bob Dylan tune from the Vietnam Era, "The Times They Are a Changin. The times certainly are a changin.
We are immersed in a period of unprecedented and rapid cultural and technological change. We find ourselves wondering if we can keep up. In my view, there are three key trends forcing us to alter our way of doing businessthree key trends which, if mastered by our evolving acquisition processes, will allow us to lead the world into the next century and beyond.
The first and most significant of these trendsthe reason behind why acquisition reform is so necessaryis the continued decline of defense dollars as a percentage of the Gross National Product. We dont have the money to continue with business as usual.
The new national imperative is to balance the national budget by 2002 and begin the process of paying off the enormous debt we have incurred over the last two decades. Defense budgets will remain exceedingly tight. The dearth of funds is forcing us to make more efficient use of what we have and to make hard choices about what we can afford. The Quadrennial Defense Review is focused on answering those tough questions.
The second and third trends can be attributed in large part to the shortage of funds, especially for modernization.
The second trend is the inexorable shift of space pioneering leadership from government to industry in some sectors. Over the past five decades, the military served as the catalyst driving the initial development of space. Taking a lesson from the airplane decades before, commercial exploitation followed the militarys use of the airplane.
Essentially, the military worked the problems out, developed the operational concepts for its use, and demonstrated its utility. We can clearly note similar developments regarding some space systems today.
DoDs role as a space-pioneering leader is giving way to the entrepreneurial spirit of American industry in its quest for commercial success. The militaries and governments of the world will increasingly attempt to leverage the commercial success of industry instead of attempting to strike out in new directions on their own.
Approval of large budgetary commitments will be more easily justified if the systems and technologies are viewed as low- versus high-risk endeavors. Where risk factors can be mitigated, they should be, and theres nothing that inspires confidence in technology more than seeing it at work in the commercial sector.
A superb example is the Air Forces new acquisition responsibility to acquire the Global Broadcast Service, the military version of Sattelite T.V. Broadcasting .
The incredible success of this technology in the commercial sector has made it a must-do for meeting the militarys in-theater needs for big-pipe, high-bandwidth information.
But dont misread what I am saying. While many times in the past I have said commercial lead is important in some areas, it will not be so in others. We in the military should not--can not--let the commercial sector take the lead in all areas related to space.
And, this leads me to the third trend which is the rapid advance of technology. This rapid advance is forcing us to be far more adept and insightful in identifying and investing in the most promising key enabling technologiesan area where the US military must maintain the lead.
This is not an area where we can tolerate being second best. Because of this, I do not foresee the commercial sector taking the lead in the most militarily promising advanced technology areas. While this has been a function of NASA to some extent and to Air Force labs in others in the past, I see in the future we will more likely partner as an Air Force/Industry team investigating those technologies with a purely military focus. In my opinion its the only way we will be able to create the new technologies necessary to give us the decisive edge so critical to our military success in the future.
The leading edge technology area must remain in the purview of the military and the government in an effort to dampen the rapid dissemination of key militarily relevant technologies across the globe. We must not put at risk our ability to defend ourselves by irresponsibly proliferating technologies, which can quickly be turned against us.
These three macro-level trends clearly highlight the importance of improving our acquisition processes to keep pace. Already the best in the world, we must continue to improve so that in the future we can still lay claim to being the best in the world.
Thus far, weve examined some recent developments in acquisition reform and their importance. Weve also taken a quick look at what the Air Force is doing to implement the reforms and why these reforms are so necessary.
Overall, these reforms are evolving the acquisition process and the Air Force/Industry relationship towards increased cost effectiveness, streamlined acquisition processes, and greater responsiveness to both the needs of the customer and the contractor. But, weve still got a long way to go to create a smooth running, seamless Military/Industry team.
So, let me now share with you my plans to push even further this business of acquisition reform.
To begin, we must get the bottom line of the acquisition process and acquisition reform straight, right from the start. The Department of Defense, the Air Force, and Industry must create an effective military capability and then deliver that capability into the hands of the warfighters as quickly and affordably as we can.
The process begins with identifying the correct military requirements. The process ends with the timely fielding of a cost-effective, supportable system that meets those requirements.
The first step in any acquisition is to know what is needed. This implies the warfighter has communicated warfighting needs to the acquisition community that, in turn, carries the message to industry. The warfighters must have a vision of where they are headed and what they need to get there. In this vein, US Space Command developed and published its vision, entitled "The US Space Command Vision for 2020."
This vision statement derives its lineage from the, the Presidents National Security Strategy, the Defense Planning Guidance, the Unified Command Plan, and the Chairmans Joint Vision 2010. To put the importance of US Space Commands vision in perspective, the Secretary of the Air Force recently said, "space forces will provide the glue binding all warfighting forces together."
Space-based capabilities are the enablers for Joint Vision 2010 and US Space Commands Vision for 2020 is our guide for the development of these enabling space-based capabilities.
In preparing the USSPACECOM Vision, we rolled up our sleeves and began analyzing our legacy systems and missions. We looked at our strong and weak points. From this effort we derived four concepts of operation deemed key to enabling the Chairmans Joint Vision 2010 and our Vision 2020. These four concepts are Control of Space, Global Engagement, Full Force Integration, and Global Partnerships. These operational concepts provide the conceptual framework for transforming the Vision into capabilities.
Let me explain each of these terms.
Control of Space is the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space, if required.
Global Engagement is the application of precision force from, to, and through space.
Full Force Integration is the integration of space forces and space-derived information with land, sea, and air forces.
And, Global Partnerships augment military space capabilities through the leveraging of civil, commercial, and international space systems.
These four operational concepts give US Space Command primacy in the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment. This Vision for 2020 provides the destination for the road map we need to take us from where we are to where we want to go.
Combining the Vision with our four mission areasspace support to the warfighter, spacelift and satellite operations, space control, and force applicationwe can identify our operational requirements and future capabilities, identify the relevant technologies and architectures, and look for trade space.
We are doing this for all four mission areas across all three components, Air Force, Army, and Navy Space Commands.
When we are done, we will end up with an integrated plan that is fiscally responsible and time-phased to flow from our legacy systems to new, sometimes evolutionary, sometimes revolutionary ways of doing business.
This integrated picture will be briefed to industry later this year. Im committed to making industry a full partner in this plan. That calls for a new approach.
"We have to share information to the maximum extent practical. We need to identify where trade space is available in key mission areas with the potential for high payoff in the future. If we dont see where we have trade space, if we dont see where the opportunities are, if you dont know what our thoughts are, you wont be part of the process that pursues the technologies which will allow revolutionary instead of evolutionary improvements." And I would even argue that if you are not part of the process, we are unlikely to have many revolutionary improvements because as discussed earlier, the defense budget of the future will not allow us to "go it alone".
We need to work plans for the future togethergovernment and industryif were going to be successful in recognizing and grasping the opportunities that are sure to come.
It wont be easy. To begin with, the requirements identification and justification process is growing extremely rigorous, as it should. The entire acquisition process is set in motion by the need to acquire a capability, a system to satisfy a need.
Justifying the need to procure a new weapon system or a new warfighting capability in a time of limited budgets and ill-defined threats to our national security is taxing the efforts of our best and brightest officers.
In order to be successful in the requirements justification process, we must leap many hurdles. First, we must identify deficiencies in the operational warfighting plans of the Commanders-in-Chief. Next, we must reconcile these deficiencies with the long-range Mission Area Plans of the major commands, by devising the Concepts of Operation for new systems and delineating the detailed requirements for these systems. We use the Capstone and Operational Requirements Documents to articulate our needs.
We then obtain initial approval for the requirement from the Air Force Requirements Oversight Council and receive ultimate approval from the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. Finally, we must advocate for the funds to begin the acquisition process to get the ball rolling.
Once the acquisition system has the funds to begin, there is no guarantee that the Command Leads, who shepherd the program on behalf of the ultimate userthe service component providing the warfighting muscle to the Commanders-in-ChiefAir Combat Command, Air Force Space Command, Air Mobility Command--there is no guarantee the command leads will be able to maintain the funding in the face of competition. This competition comes in the form of other command leads advocating their programs, from Program Element Monitors in the Pentagon working the programmatic budget issues, from Congress, and from the President all in pursuit of their priorities and programs.
For these many reasons, we must work together to maximize our chances of success by reducing risk, obtaining buy-in from all participants, and by building a partnering relationship between government and industry. We must transcend the fee-for-service mentality that has too long been the cornerstone of our relationship. We must each have a vested interest and stake in the outcome. We must together build a relationship based on mutual trust and confidence.
We, in AF Space Command, will--we must--demonstrate our seriousness to the long-range vision by our commitment and our focus of science and technology dollars in the pursuit of identifying the most promising, highest payoff technologies and eventually, we must invest in those technologies that have proven to be successful to build toward our vision.
Were doing fairly well so far. Let me highlight some of Air Force Space Command's activities over the last year.
I would say that the three key things we did over the past year, that contributed to our success, were to communicate, cooperate, and demonstrate trust.
These three actions say a lot about how positive I feel about how acquisition reform is going in Air Force Space Command. Here are a few examples.
We entered the second phase of the three-phase Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) acquisition program by down-selecting to two competing teams led by Lockheed/Martin and McDonnell Douglas.
Both teams received a 17 month, 60 million dollar contract to refine system concepts and develop a detailed system design preparing the way for engineering and manufacturing development. The EELV program has been a model of acquisition efficiency to date and were working hard to keep it that way.
We made the final down-select for the high element of the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program in December of last year. The high element includes the geosynchronous orbit segment and the highly elliptical orbit segment.
The low element, probably better known as the Space and Missile Tracking System (SMTS), is still out there for competition and the competition is tough.
Let me make a comment here. We really need both of these programs to meet the established cost, performance, and schedule parameters. These two programs are core to our future national security. The capabilities represented by these systems are core to the Joint Vision 2010 and US Space Commands Vision for 2020. Failure is simply not an option. Happily, things are looking good so far.
The key element to our success was our decision to involve industry at every step in the processto communicate, cooperate, and demonstrate trustto be our partners right from the start.
By working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Command, the labs, and the product centers, industry helped identify cost, schedule, and performance drivers.
As a team, we identified the trade space and made the hard decisions about what was necessary, what was nice-to-have, and what we could afford to build.
Speaking of the labs and product centers. I am firmly committed to ensuring that Air Force Space Command presents a single face, a single voice to industry for space system acquisition. We dont need the confusion of multiple, sometimes contradictory policy and guidance coming from different parts of the Air Force. This doesnt do anyone any good. Roger Dekok (Lieutenant General, Space and Missile Center, Commander) and I are going to ensure that the labs, the product centers, and Air Force Space Command are all singing off the same sheet of music.
Above all, we will emphasize communication, cooperation and trust.
What acquisition actions is Air Force Space Command working on right now and looking forward to in the near future?
First, were identifying the detailed operational requirements for a number of different evolving mission areas. Foremost among these is the next Global Positioning System (GPS) standardthe future of Worldwide Positioning, Navigation, and Timing.
We are working hand-in-hand with industry, government, scientific, and academic experts to identify and quantify the exact requirements for this system.
We are discussing signal accuracy improvements, ensured data link integrity, better-faster-cheaper production techniques, reduced launch costs, ground segment requirements, and a host of other issues. We are expending similar efforts for every Air Force Space Command program.
For example, as the Commander-in-Chief of United States Space Command, I have a growing need for a military space plane not in the near future but within the first quarter of the next century. This need stems from US Space Commands assigned mission responsibility to ensure space control and perhaps someday, if directed by our national leaders, to apply force from space. A space plane could accomplish these missions as well as space support to the warfighter and the space lift mission.
In this regard, Air Force Space Command is working on a concept of operations for a military space plane. This CONOPS will be used as a cornerstone document for developing a Mission Need Statement and an Operational Requirements Document clearly specifying the mission parameters required of such a vehicle.
As many of you know, the Air Force is not assigned the primary responsibility for reusable launch vehiclesthe launch vehicle category a reusable military space plane would obviously belong to. This responsibility is assigned to NASA.
Clearly, the only way Air Force Space Command can successfully satisfy US Space Commands need for a military space plane is to build a strong, durable, and lasting cooperative relationship with NASA.
Similar mission responsibilities and situations demand we do the same with all DoD space agencies and those of the nation and in so doing, simultaneously expand our relationships with industry. This past year weve expended considerable effort to strengthen ties among the military services and DoD agencies, as well as the civil, commercial, and scientific communities.
Through the collective use of national efforts, capabilities, and forward-thinking ideas, Air Force Space Command will improve its ability to execute taskings efficiently, affordably, and effectively.
We will be better able to communicate, cooperate, and demonstrate trust with industry and all other space-related organizations.
Ive said it earlier. Ill say it again. We, the Air Force, cant do it alone. If we dont build cooperative and understanding relationships, we wont be successful in the future. This thinking, these relationships must pervade the entire acquisition process.
In our efforts to better communicate, cooperate, and demonstrate trust, Dan Goldin, the NASA Administrator, and I signed a memorandum of agreement last month.
We agreed to staff partnership teams to study several areas of mutual concernareas where we are working closely together to save time, effort, and money, improving cost, performance, and schedule on programs that can benefit our organizations and the nation.
Were particularly interested in developing a single plan outlining the space transportation needs of NASA and the Air Force; increasing our ability to share and consolidate infrastructure and common-use facilities; and expanding our cooperation in space environmental monitoring and space weather forecasting.
This is yet another way Air Force Space Command is expanding the acquisition envelope by breaking down long-standing organizational barriers and cooperating in cost-effective and productive ways for the benefit of our individual organizations and the American taxpayer.
This Air Force/NASA relationship will benefit industry as well as enabling the Air Force and NASA to better communicate and share information with industry. This relationship will become especially important as NASA begins to outsource routine space operations and once again concentrate on the development of leading edge technologies in space.
Another recently signed memorandum of agreement concerns space launch. On January 31st, the Commander of Air Force Materiel Command, General Butch Viccellio, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and Management, Ms Darleen Druyun, and I, as the Commander of Air Force Space Command, signed the Memorandum of Agreement on Spacelift Roles and Responsibilities.
Again, though not directly related to acquisition, this MOA codifies the internal Air Force management structure for all aspects of the space lift mission area.
We envision these internal Air Force improvements having a follow-on effect on the acquisition community, greatly improving interagency communications, system management, and lift requirements identification and scheduling.
In fact, as a clear sign of my personal regard for industry concerns, I asked Mr. Pete Aldridge, the President of Aerospace Corporation and a former Secretary of the Air Force, to host a meeting here in Colorado Springs of CEOs with the express purpose of addressing concerns with commercial launch from Vandenberg and Patrick. We are also going to address industry concerns with the Air Force safety investigation process following a launch accident. This stems from the procedures that were followed in the aftermath of the Delta II failure last January.
This is another example of our commitment to build trust and faith between government and industry. To say the least, Im looking forward to this most important meeting.
So far, I've told you a lot about what the military is doing and plans to do. Now, what can industry do?
First, we need you to buy into the requirements process. You need to fulfill our requirements or tell us they cannot be met and why. We need to continue to bring you in right from the start so your expertise and assistance can be brought to bear on the issues allowing us to get it right--together.
Second, the rules of engagement have changed on cost growth. With the new emphasis on cost containment, low buy-ins from you, or unrealistically optimistic estimates from us, can spell doom for a program. Budget dollars are becoming absolute ceilings compelling us to jointly tailor our system capabilities to fit within the budgets.
This possibly means the military must accept less than 100% solutions. Therefore, you must propose only what can realistically be delivered within cost, performance, and scheduling constraints.
Third, we need your help in developing the leading edge technologies that will continue to give us the decisive edge in the future. In some cases youll do this on your own--in others were doing it with a joint government-industry team. And again I recognize that if you dont know what our long range plan is; if you dont see a single focus and commitment from the Air Force; if you dont see us committing our Science and Technology dollars...it is unlikely youll have much interest in committing your dollars...and I wouldnt blame you.
Finally, let's try to keep politics out of the acquisition process. I know that is easier said than done. Competition is extremely tough between similar sectors of the Defense Industry. We, in the Air Force, are continually forced to choose between extremely competitive teams based on the best available information. This is the strength of our American system.
There's no question that as we incorporate all the acquisition reforms, we will make some mistakes. But, I promise you the source selection decisions will continue to be fair and honest, and I ask you to take that into account.
Well, what do all these efforts add up to?
In my view, these efforts add up to a better organized, more efficient and effective national space sectora better organized, more efficient and effective space acquisition community.
These very simple principles...cooperation... communication...and trust are at the core of acquisition reform.
The reforms cannot succeed without them. This human element will become more and more central to success the further we press into the information age.
We will not be able to tolerate a situation highlighted by this futuristic story.
"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, you are now flying SpaceWay Airlines new computerized flight profile to your destination. This space plane operates on the new digitally plotted flight profile without need of a pilot. Every detail in planning has been thoroughly tested to ensure your maximum comfort. There is nothing to worry about. Just sit back and rela rela rela rela "
I believe I have some time for questions.