Army Acquisition Review Board makes recommendations targeting acquisition reform 

An Army Acquisition Review Board co-chairman outlined some of the board’s findings that members suggest will result in acquisition processes having a better core workforce while reducing program costs.

Speaking Feb. 25 at the Association of the United States Army’s Winter Symposium and Exposition in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Gen. Louis C. Wagner Jr., USA, Ret., a former commander of the U. S. Army Materiel Command and an AUSA senior fellow, said board members independently interviewed more than 100 people to include current and former chiefs of staff, secretaries of the Army, major command commanders and program executive officers.

The board broke its recommendations down to four categories:

1. Make requirements process collaborative and timely. The “right people” are not working on the front end of the approval process for a requirements document, which bogs things down early on.

2. Manage risk – not risk averse. Acquisition should be managed by program risk, not overall scope. Programs should be evaluated on the overall risk and ranked on a scale of one to five.

3. Align organizations and accountability. Aligning acquisition organizations would improve productivity and efficiency.

4. Provide adequate requirements and acquisition resources. The quality of the “analytical” workforce should be strengthened so it becomes more of a “smart buyer” workforce. Also, program managers for complex Acquisition Category (ACAT) I programs, such as the ground combat vehicle, should be a general officer, not a colonel. The Army should also fund no more than six ACAT I programs at any time.

Wagner also noted that in the past, it’s been a waste of Army money to spend money on programs only for those programs to end up being cut.

From 1990 to 2010, the Army terminated 22 major programs, such as Future Combat Systems.