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Tailoring Acquisition to Meet Information Technology Demands - RUSI

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Tailoring Acquisition to Meet
Information Technology Demands
                                                             by Major General Marilyn A. Quagliotti



Marilyn Quagliotti is Vice-Director of the US                can, and usually does, take many years.       solutions that can be rapidly fielded and
Defense Information Systems Agency, an                       From prototype to delivery, it took           integrated to achieve desired results. The
organisation of more than 8000 military and                  Lockheed and the Air Force 12 years to        Joint Task Force’s ability to reduce time
civilian personnel responsible for planning,                 deliver the first F-22 and it took Chrysler   within critical decision cycles will be
developing and providing interoperable, global               and the Army 9 years to deliver the first     driven by the ability to access discoverable,
net-centric solutions to serve the needs of the              Abrams tank. When buying IT, the              trusted and available information.
Department of Defense. In this article, she                  acquisition process is too long and cannot
identifies the problems of introducing                       keep up with the rapidly evolving             Information Technology Acquisition
advanced technology into projects under a slow               technology cycle. By the time we procure      Challenges
and deliberate acquisition system, and looks at              and field new IT via the current              In order to achieve the DOD’s net-centric
possible solutions.                                          cumbersome acquisition process, the           goals and objectives, changes need to be
                                                             technology has become obsolete and we         made to the current acquisition process.
                                                             have failed to meet the warfighter’s needs.   We need to adopt innovative ideas and




A
           t the Defense Information                             In order to effectively tailor our        models to accelerate delivery and close
           Systems Agency (DISA), we are                     acquisition approach, we need to focus on     the gap between fielding major changes
           accelerating acquisition of                       Acquisition Governance, which will lead       in technology to enable best-value
           services and capabilities to                      to increasing the Speed of Delivery so        integrated information solutions.
close the gap between fielding major                         that we can achieve essential IT goals.       Additionally, testing organisations need to
changes in technology and enabling best-                     Joint Task Forces and mission partners        be more agile and able to support the
value integrated information solutions.                      require collaborative and innovative          accelerated IT acquisition process.
Today, our acquisition cycle is geared
towards procuring major capabilities such
as ships, planes, tanks and other major
weapon systems. Unfortunately, the
Department of Defense (DOD) uses the
same acquisition process to procure
information technology (IT) as it uses to
procure major systems. The DOD needs
to address the current challenges and look
at ways for improvement and desired
benefits. DISA has had some success in
shortening the acquisition process with
some high-priority programmes:
Teleport; Net-Centric Enterprise Services;
and Global Information Grid-Bandwidth
Expansion.
    Typically, the Government acquisition
process is divided into five phases:
Concept Development; Program
Definition; Engineering and
Manufacturing Development (prototype);
Production and Support (includes
Procurement Process); and Disposal. In
order to field a major system, the process
from concept development to delivery

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     DOD weapon system procurement is a                                                                            In order to get capabilities to the
highly structured process and does not                                                                        warfighter faster, DISA embarked on several
support the modern IT development cycle.
                                                             ‘The basic intent is that                        pilot activities. A streamlined acquisition
How we determine requirements, buy, test,                     we will create our own                          approach helps to provide capabilities rapidly,
field capabilities, plan and budget for                                                                       such as in the case of the Next Generation
sustainment are all factors contributing to
                                                              solutions only when                             Collaboration Service – Pilot. Using a
how we should tailor our acquisition                          other solutions are not                         service from a commercially managed
governance. DISA has been successful in                                                                       facility allowed us to provide immediate
shortening the acquisition process, but we
                                                              available’                                      service support to the Tsunami assistance
need to employ more innovative ideas to                                                                       effort and to the Presidential Inauguration.
tailor governance, technical assessments and                                                                  By expediting the source selection and
testing, commensurate with the risk.                         continue to leverage Advanced Capability         implementation, we were able to have the
     DISA’s Test and Evaluation Directorate,                 Technology Demonstrations as a means to          contract awarded in October 2004 and
in conjunction with DOD and the other                        receive feedback from warfighters on the         service available in December 2004.
Services’ test organisations, will lead the                  military utility of advanced technologies. We         Additional pilot programmes included
implementation of a Joint test capability. We                will also use lessons learned to improve         Content Discovery, which incorporated a
are working to define and realign boundaries                 guidance, verify designs, and accelerate the     Google Search Appliance in a Federated
between testing organisations to improve                     development of solutions.                        Search environment, where catalogues from
and expedite Joint operational testing.                                                                       various search engines could be viewed
                                                             How DISA Tailored the Acquisition                from a single portal entry point. Based on
                                                             Process with Teleport                            initial assessment, this capability is already
‘We need to employ more                                      An example of how DISA has tailored the          providing significant improvements in the
                                                             acquisition process is the DOD Teleport          dissemination of web products.
 innovative ideas to tailor                                  System. Teleport provides deployed forces
 governance, technical                                       with worldwide commercial satellite reach-
 assessments and testing,                                    back capabilities. As a result of pre-system     ‘Simply stated, the
                                                             acquisition activities since 1998, and
 commensurate with                                           Congressional approval in 2001, the Program       acquisition processes for
 the risk’                                                   Manager drove for entry into the Defense          weapons systems are
                                                             Acquisition Framework at the production/
                                                             deployment phase, skipping three early            not agile enough for IT’
                                                             phases of the acquisition process.
                                                                 In April 2002, the Teleport Program
How DISA is Changing the                                     underwent a Milestone Decision Authority
Acquisition Process                                          Review from the Assistant Secretary of               The NCES Program Office is leveraging
DISA is employing a new strategy to adopt                    Defense for Networks and Information             the philosophy of ‘adopting’ existing
before we buy and buy before we create. If                   Integration. Approval was requested to           capabilities, ‘buying’ when needed, and
another DOD agency has developed or                          authorise production and deployment of           ‘creating’ as a last resort. In this capacity,
acquired a solution that fits or is close to                 Teleport Generation One. The review              DISA has elected to adopt the web portal
fitting a need, we will adopt it. When we are                resulted in an Acquisition Decision              already in development by the Army to
unable to adopt from within the federal                      Memorandum that approved the Teleport            provide a DOD capability. This portal will
government, we will turn to the private                      Generation One Acquisition Strategy, the         provide access and launch points to other
sector and buy a managed service that either                 Acquisition Program Baseline, and directed       core enterprise services. DISA is
fits or is close to fitting the need. In both                Teleport Generation One Initial Operational      collaborating with DOD agencies to adopt a
cases, we will do a risk analysis to determine               Capability increments 1 and 2 into               Content Discovery capability that leverages
if we can realistically use something that fills             production and deployment.                       a federated search and enterprise catalogue.
only 60–80% of the need, taking into
consideration what elements are not                          Net-Centric Enterprise Services                  Global Information Grid-Bandwidth
satisfied, and whether or not they are crucial               Another example is the Net-Centric               Expansion
to adopting the government solution or                       Enterprise Services (NCES) Program. NCES         Another example is the Global Information
buying the managed service. The basic intent                 found a revolutionary way to bundle and          Grid-Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE)
is that we will create our own solutions only                deliver the following capabilities to the DOD:   programme, which provides a robust
when other solutions are not available.                      Defense Online Portal (DOL); Collaboration       network foundation to enable worldwide
     We will rely on partnerships with                       Tools (including Voice, Video, White-            network-centric operations. In fiscal year
industry and warfighters to utilise                          boarding, Applications Sharing, Instant          2002, DISA provided to the Deputy
technology pilot programmes, proofs of                       Messaging, etc.); Content Discovery and          Secretary of Defense the GIG-BE validated
concept and experiments to operate and                       Delivery; and a Service Oriented                 requirements, technical design, analysis of
expedite fielding Joint capabilities. We will                Architecture Foundation.                         alternatives, economic analysis, and

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implementation strategy. DISA’s GIG-BE                                                                                   capabilities and adopt innovative ideas to
Program Office developed the GIG-BE                                                                                      deliver services and capabilities at internet
architecture and deployed the infrastructure
                                                                       ‘DISA has proved that                             speed. We must increase our speed of
on an extraordinarily aggressive schedule,                              a tailored acquisition                           delivery so that we can keep up with the
which not only satisfied the critical                                                                                    advantage that technology can offer our
requirements, but also minimised cost,
                                                                        process can bring about                          warfighters and those who support them.
schedule and technical risks. As a result,                              tremendous benefits’                                  In order to accelerate acquiring services
the GIG-BE reached Initial Operational                                                                                   and capabilities, we need to shorten the
Capability at six sites on 30 September                                                                                  current acquisition process, which is
2004, and is scheduled to reach Final                                     programme on schedule and the                  regulated by governance that does not lend
Operational Capability (FOC) at 86 sites                                  Government in total control of the             itself to ‘fast’ procurement of major
in December 2005.                                                         outcome. The final network provides a          systems or capabilities. At today’s pace of
                                                                          quantum leap from the capacities of existing technology change, acquisition of IT does
Programme Benefits                                                        communications networks, incorporating         not fit the timeline associated with the
DISA has proved that a tailored acquisition                               scalable bandwidth and supporting multiple acquisition of major weapons systems.
process can bring about tremendous                                        security levels of data access from            Simply stated, the acquisition processes for
benefits, which contribute to the overall                                 unclassified to top-secret levels. The network weapons systems are not agile enough for
speed of delivery to, and fielding of                                     will support more sites at less cost than      IT. We must change these processes to
capabilities for, the warfighter. For GIG-BE,                             originally planned, and will finish within     accommodate the rapid IT technology
the use of a ground-breaking acquisition                                  three months of the originally projected       cycle and deliver capabilities to the
strategy of government/industry partnering                                completion date.                               warfighter. Without these changes we
for the selection of the equipment solutions                                                                             become irrelevant.
and a variant for the acquisition of the fibre,                           Conclusion
led to several beneficial outcomes: it                                    DISA’s primary goal is ensuring the DOD                                       General Quagliotti would like to acknowledge
minimised the staffing burden for the                                     can achieve its net-centric objectives. This                                  the assistance of Lieutenant Colonel Prince
Government; exploited the technical                                       means we need to change our dated                                             Gilliard, Jr, USAF and Major Gary Stiles, USAF
expertise of industry; and kept the                                       processes for acquiring services and                                          in the preparation of this article.


                                       www.rusi.org
                                                                                                                                                                                Military Sciences

      Defence Acquisition Symposium
      The Defence Industrial Strategy and Government - Industry Relationships
      29-30 March 2006, RUSI and Banqueting House Undercroft, Whitehall, London, UK

                                                                                                                                                                             Senior Speakers Include:
                                                                                                                                                                             David Gould (Deputy Chief Executive,
                                                                                                                                                                             Defence Procurement Agency)
                                                                                                                                                                             Air Chief Marshal Carmine Pollice
                                                                                                                                                                             (Deputy Secretary General National
                                                                                                                                                                             Armament Director, Italian MoD)
                                                                                                                                                                             Tim Banfield (Major Project Reports
                                                                                                                                                                             Director, National Audit Office)
                                                                                                                                                                             The Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP
                                                                                                                                                                             (Chairman Defence Select Committee)
                                                                                                                                                                             Tom McKane (Enabling Acquisition Change
                                                                                                                                                                             Team Leader, Ministry of Defence, UK)
                                                                                                                                                                             Hillary Sillitto (Head of Integration
                                                                                                                                                                             Authority, Defence Procurement Agency)
                                                                                                                                                                             Alan Nicholl (FAWS ITPL, Defence
                                                                                                                                                                             Procurement Agency)
                                                                                                                                                                             Professor Keith Hayward
                                                                                                                                                                             (Associate Fellow, RUSI)
                                                                                                                                                                             In Association with:

      The United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Dr John Reid, announced the new Defence Industrial Strategy on 15 December 2005. RUSI’s sixth
      Defence Acquisition Symposium on 29 and 30 March 2006 in London will study the UK Defence Industrial Strategy reflectively and will provide an opportunity
      for industry, government officials, other policy former and analysts to discuss the issues and consider issues of implementation and further work. We expect also
      to consider the approaches of other government to issues of ownership of technology, guarantee of supply and sustainment of industrial capacity.


      The event is sponsored by




      For further details please contact Mamoona Shah on: Tel: +44 (0) 20 7747 2648 • Email: mamoonas@rusi.org • Website: www.rusi.org


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