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Our New Name and New Lookhttps://www.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=89Our New Name and New Look2018-07-27T16:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/magazines_banner.jpg, https://www.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/magazines_banner.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/magazines_banner.jpg<div class="ExternalClassC99DBAEC7224484A8AC3DC08AAD0F281"><em>Defense AT&L </em>magazine becomes<em> Defense Acquisition </em>with the September-October 2018 issue<em>.</em> Many readers asked when or if our name would change in view of the new name of our departmental division. Now that the dust has settled a bit, the name has been changed. And our art director Tia Gray has created a fresh new design to complement the name. We hope that you like our new look.<br> <br> Publications constantly evolve as circumstances change— but we intend to provide the same, or better, service. Our coverage for the most part will remain the same, with a strong focus on subjects such as procurement, contract and program management, logistics, agility and informa­tion technology and security, as well as auditability and accountability. We remain as interested as ever in articles about real-life experiences in the acquisition workforce and lessons learned that can be shared for the benefit of all.<br> <br> We have renamed our bimonthly publication in recogni­tion of the recent reorganization within the Department of Defense. <em>Defense AT&L </em>and its publisher, Defense Acquisition University, formerly fell under the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. That office was split by Congress into two new offices—that of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, under whom we now serve, and of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.<br> <br> We went for a broad name, since all of our activities ultimately deal with defense acquisition, to keep things as simple as possible. <em>Defense Acquisition </em>also is a name with a lasting, generic quality rather than one tied to possibly shifting departmental reorganizations.<br> <br> So, stay tuned, interested readers. Prospective authors, please keep writing for us and sharing with your colleagues the problems and accomplishments you’ve experienced in the defense acquisition universe. In this respect, <em>Defense Acquisition </em>magazine is an ongoing classroom, and you are the teachers and students of each other.<br> <br> —Benjamin Tyree, managing editor</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/new-name-new-look
How To Be an Effective Military Innovation Championhttps://www.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=80How To Be an Effective Military Innovation Champion2018-07-01T16:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DATL_July_Aug2018-cover.jpg, https://www.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DATL_July_Aug2018-cover.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DATL_July_Aug2018-cover.jpg<div class="ExternalClassD4BBFE6FE7114B49A95B72D3DBFE3014">The U.S. military is working to enhance its methods for fostering technological innovations, particularly disruptive or “game-changing” innovations that can alter the character of military operations and provide sustained advantages over potential adversaries. However, no technological innovation is inherently disruptive. A military technology can only achieve disruptive impact after it achieves institutional support and is combined with complementary innovations in military doctrine, organization, training and other supporting areas. Many studies of military innovation have found that the difference between an innovation that achieves revolutionary impact and a promising invention that languishes in obscurity is often the engagement of an effective military champion.<br> <br> <span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>A Unique Role</strong></span><br> Effective military innovation requires many factors, including supportive processes, resources and leadership. Effective innovation champions are only one factor, but one that is timeless and within the power of many acquisition professionals to help provide.<br> <br> A military innovation champion is a leader, at any level, who takes it upon him- or herself to help build the institutional support for an innovation and catalyze the supporting activities needed to advance it from a concept to a fielded military capability. It’s rarely an assigned role. There is little formal training. Many emerge from acquisition positions, where exposure to new technologies may be greatest. But champions also may step forward from positions leading operations, on Service or joint staffs, or other functions. They are self-selected, and their actions usually are “above and beyond” their formal duties. A formal role as a program manager, innovation officer or other official can help—but it doesn’t make a champion. The essential qualifications of champions are possessing the vision to accurately see how an emerging technology could revolutionize military operations as well as the passion to ensure that the United States captures the potential advantages.<br> <br> Typically, the military champion is a uniformed officer with technical training. In some cases, the role is performed by a Department of Defense (DoD) civilian. In either case, the champion is technically competent enough to understand the innovation and military missions, procedures and organizations well enough to orchestrate translating the innovation into practice.<br> <br> Military champions include such famous names as Gen. Billy Mitchell, the “Father of the U.S. Air Force,” and Adm. Hyman Rickover, the “Father of the Nuclear Navy.” However, champions are needed at every level. Victor “Brute” Krulak was a 24-year-old lieutenant in the Marines in 1937 when he hit upon the idea of a landing craft with a square bow that serves as a retractable ramp. When his sketches and recommendations were ignored by the Navy, he built a scale model on his own and demonstrated it to the Marine general in charge of amphibious training. His idea was embraced by wooden boat builder Andrew Higgins who used his own funds to build prototypes of such a vessel. When World War II broke out, the Higgins Boat championed by Krulak was built in the thousands and became the iconic landing craft responsible for all the U.S. amphibious operations in the war. Whether you’re a junior officer like Brute Krulak, a midgrade officer in acquisition or field operations, or a senior leader, your role often is as critical as the inventors’ in determining whether a promising innovation achieves its potential impact. But how can one be an effective military champion for an innovation?<br> <br> <span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>A Concise Framework</strong></span><br> Above all, championing an innovation requires initiative and a sense of ownership. It’s fundamentally about being a change agent. Within the military community, the champion’s name may be the one most often associated with the innovation, whose personal investment of energy and reputation helps overcome the inevitable obstacles. As an effective champion, you may need courage and dedication. You need to be the hero of the story.<br> <br> Happily, the activities required of a military champion are simple to summarize. Studies of military innovation have analyzed the contributions of past champions. Studies of business innovation provide further support. The role is analogous to that of a large corporation’s internal innovation leader or “intrapreneur” who must create and champion a business model and go-to-market strategy to convert a new technology into a business.<br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DAU_Defense%20ATL_Military%20Innovation_Table%201_201806929.jpg" style="width:100%;float:left;" /><br> <br> The key activities of the military innovation champion are synthesized here into a new, simple and easy-to-remember framework, CAPE for “Connect, Advocate, Protect and Envision” (Table 1). A more detailed explanation follows:<br> <br> <strong>Connect</strong>: A technological innovation effort often starts far removed from the military “customers” who ultimately will use it, the funding and contract authorities that can support it, the developers of the doctrine and other complementary innovations needed to implement it, and the senior stakeholders whose support is needed to drive the required changes. This is especially true for the increasing numbers of technologies that arise outside of military programs, within the commercial or academic worlds. A champion is responsible for making those connections. He or she must identify stakeholders and complementary functions, solicit feedback from potential users and help bring together the pieces of a solution.<br> <br> <strong>Advocate</strong>: This is the most visible activity of a champion. It includes educating others about the innovation, building networks of support, and turning others into advocates, including senior leaders and operational stakeholders. Advocacy goes beyond securing initial funding for development. It may include one-on-one meetings, speaking at technical or operational symposia or conferences, writing articles and news releases, and organizing influential events like operational demonstrations. Advocacy may need to continue, and evolve, over the life of the effort.<br> <br> <strong>Protect</strong>: Acquisition project managers know that even “routine” projects often are buffeted by changes in budget, schedule and requirements. For potentially disruptive innovations, the waters can be even choppier. For instance, the temptation can be great for higher headquarters to take resources from innovative projects seen as “long term” or “risky” to cover the needs of more established programs or support current operations. The military champion must try to protect the effort from adverse programmatic decisions where appropriate, and help ensure the availability of needed resources.<br> <br> <strong>Envision</strong>: The most creative and intellectually rewarding part of being a military champion includes developing the vision for how the innovation could be applied to military missions in the future. As earlier military champions drove thinking about how the airplane could impact warfare through control of the air, or envisioned how night vision equipment could enable U.S. military forces to “own the night” with round-the-clock operations, a present-day champion can help the military community understand the implications and applications of the new innovation. The champion’s thought leadership should connect the technology to future concepts of operation (CONOPS) and a new path to mission success. This vision, and feedback from receptive stakeholders, can influence the direction of the technical effort in a virtuous cycle.<br> <br> The four activities are mutually supporting. A compelling vision of military utility helps in advocating for the innovation, a strong network of connections and potential users helps the champion protect the innovation project, and so on. By devoting time and attention to these four activities, a champion can maximize the chances of success for a worthy military innovation.<br> <br> <span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>An Example in Action</strong></span><br> Military champions are found throughout military innovation history. For instance, visionary junior and mid-grade military officers within the Army Signal Corps were critically important to the adoption of the Wright brothers’ airplane and its further development into a military capability. An example a bit closer to home may illustrate the role and impact of a champion on a modern military innovation.<br> <br> In 1965, Col Joe Davis, USAF, was the Vice Commander of the Armament Development and Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. He witnessed a demonstration of one of the few laser illuminators in the world at that time, and heard a presentation from engineers at Texas Instruments (TI) regarding exploratory work on using laser illumination to guide a missile. Having flown F-84 attack jets in the Korean War, he envisioned using a laser spot to guide a gravity bomb to destroy a hard-to-hit point target, such as the bridges in Vietnam that were massively and repeatedly bombed in raids that incurred many aircraft losses. He pictured a laser guidance package that could be attached to bombs already in the inventory. After discussing the idea with the TI engineers, he used a rapid funding authority to provide $100,000 for development of prototype hardware. The TI engineers developed a radical low-cost approach using a “shuttlecock”-shaped laser seeker nose and tail fins. Despite skepticism within the Air Force and TI leadership of the workability of such a concept, seemingly derived from a science fiction novel, Col Davis advocated for more funding from the Air Force’s Aeronautical Systems Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He often gave presentations together with the TI experts. In 1968, he used his flying experience to lead the live bombing tests of the prototype laser-guided bombs in Thailand and Vietnam. The end result was the Paveway series of precision guided munitions that provided revolutionary capability during the 1991 Gulf War. Col Davis’ passionate and sustained effort as a champion was critical to taking this technology from the research lab to the battlefield.<br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/Col%20Joe%20Davis.JPG" style="width:780px;height:712px;" /><br> <em>Col Joe Davis, USAF, a decorated Korean War attack pilot, demonstrated the role of an effective military innovation champion by envisioning and driving the development of the first laser-guided bombs. Source: National Museum of the United States Air Force.​</em><br> <br> <strong><span style="color:#B22222;">Lessons for Application</span></strong><br> Most innovations aren’t once-in-a-generation breakthroughs with obvious potential to upend existing military warfighting techniques, but every potentially valuable innovation can benefit from the efforts of a military champion. The likelier that the innovation could be disruptive or “game changing,” even within a specialized domain, the more critical the role of the champion. Four additional observations can help potential champions further enhance their effectiveness.<br> <br> <em>Tailor the Role to the Situation. </em>Customize the role and activities to your circumstances. For a junior-level project manager at a laboratory or warfare center, building awareness of the innovation and developing connections between the project and more influential stakeholders and gatekeepers could have the greatest impacts. For a more senior leader, protecting the innovation from adverse budgetary and political forces and using his or her network to align support from leaders across the Services and DoD could be the most valuable contribution. Like Davis, the champion should leverage unique knowledge and experience.<br> <br> <em>The Champion Role Is Portable.</em> It can take a significant time to build support and momentum for a disruptive innovation, and military assignments can be short. The champion role can continue after leaving the assignment. If the innovation is important to the military, it will continue to deserve your effort, and your new position may provide unique opportunities to help. For example, in the earliest days of carrier aviation before World War II, the first aviation admirals helped place their proteges in follow-on assignments elsewhere in the Navy where their advocacy could help institutionalize carrier aviation as a core warfighting capability.<br> <br> <em>Do the Homework.</em> It’s important to back up a vision and advocacy with facts. A champion must be armed with knowledge as well as passion and be ready to question his or her assumptions and evolve positions over time as new information becomes available. This will make that champion more credible and effective, and ensure that he continues to push in the right directions.<br> <br> <em>Political Skills Are Important.</em> It’s possible to overplay the champion role and end up hurting the cause. Mitchell, for instance, let his frustration with the slow adoption of aerial bombing boil over into public statements that led to his famous court-martial. Effectiveness sometimes requires patience, and the political savvy to win over opponents gradually. Thinking about each stakeholder’s interests can help tailor the message to address their priorities and concerns.<br> <br> <span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>Future Evolution</strong></span><br> The military Services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense are designing and implementing enhanced innovation management processes and systems. As illustrated by the most consistently innovative private companies, well-designed innovation management processes help immensely in smoothing the road from idea to working prototype and then to fielded capability or marketed product. However, disruptive innovations may never occur solely via a standardized process. Vision and initiative, such as exhibited by Brute Krulak and Joe Davis, are likely to remain essential factors. With the future success of the DoD’s innovation initiatives, the role of military innovation champion will become easier, but it will always be in demand.<br> <br> <span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>Summary</strong></span><br> The contributions of military innovation champions have been critical to disruptive military innovation through the decades, and may further increase in importance in the years ahead. Despite its importance, it’s a role that is difficult to formally assign and isn’t emphasized in acquisition training. Someone who has a technically informed vision and chooses to step forward could leverage the simple framework and guidance presented here to follow in the footsteps of many other champions and help bring a future possibility to light.<br> <br> With luck, any reader of this article could be the hero of the next military innovation story. <hr /><em>Col George M. Dougherty is the Senior Adviser to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering at the Pentagon. He has previously served as interim Military Assistant for Emerging Capability and Prototyping in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and as the senior military leader of two Directorates of the Air Force Research Laboratory.<br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href="mailto:george.m.dougherty.mil@mail.mil">george.m.dougherty.mil@mail.mil</a>.</em></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/How-To-Be-an-Effective-Military-Innovation-Champion
Agile—the Pros and Conshttps://www.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=87Agile—the Pros and Cons2018-07-01T16:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DATL_July_Aug2018-article8.jpg, https://www.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DATL_July_Aug2018-article8.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DATL_July_Aug2018-article8.jpg<div class="ExternalClass34EC643F4B204E7E800A34A99D7DC6B9">There is a movement within the Department of Defense (DoD) acquisitions community to become more “Agile” and to field capability more quickly. Achieving this goal requires that the defense acquisition community become more risk tolerant.<br> <br> Currently, there is a disconnect between the leadership of the DoD and the rest of the acquisition community. That is, DoD acquisition leadership desires to field capabilities more quickly and with more agility, but the middle ranks of the acquisition community seem resistant to the Agile paradigm shift. This disconnect creates a dangerous path to travel for those in the DoD acquisition community trying to plan and execute projects in a more streamlined and agile framework.<br> <br> But what causes this disconnect? Let’s explore some observations from the perspective of a project lead engineer working on a U.S. Air Force (USAF) sustainment contract for Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) on several Agile projects. The project experience is drawn from software-centric, 1- to 2-year efforts involving 10 to 20 technical staff members—the ideal project category for a mainstream Agile methodology.<br> <br> <strong>Why Go Agile?</strong><br> The Agile methodology offers numerous advantages over the traditional “waterfall” approach to development. The primary weakness of the traditional approach to development is the assumption that, after the requirements are specified and the project is planned, nothing will change. The traditional development process has no inherent mechanism for dealing with uncertainty. Even worse, the project requirements, schedule and budget are all cemented in place when we know the very least—at the beginning of the project or before it begins—and there is no effective mechanism for accommodating these inevitable changes.<br> <br> One way to deal with the inevitable uncertainty and change associated with engineering development is to embrace the change. That is, to admit that change is inevitable and to structure the development methodology and framework to and team to accommodate those changes. This is what Agile development does that traditional processes do not. Agile methods acknowledge that requirements will change and timelines and budgets often shrink. The Agile methodology is structured to accommodate these changes by having the flexibility to modify scope to meet these changes. This allows the Agile project to field capability—possibly less capability than initially expected—despite changes to the requirements, cost or schedule. It usually is preferred to deliver partial capability after a financial investment rather than the “all-or-nothing” approach in the traditional process.<br> <br> <strong>Two Definitions of Discipline</strong><br> Interestingly, the major strengths of Agile are also among the reasons that it meets resistance in the acquisition community. Often, acquisition managers are not trained on Agile methods and are not comfortable with ambiguity associated with potentially frequent scope changes. To compound the problem, Agile often de-emphasizes formal verification, endless planning, comprehensive documentation and formal processes. That is, Agile methods de-emphasize aspects of the traditional process that the traditional DoD acquisition approach was built around. This change in emphasis is often interpreted and critiqued as having a lack of discipline. This concept of “discipline” has been a major focal point in the debate between so-called Agilists and traditionalists.<br> <br> However, this disagreement is somewhat of a miscommunication. Traditionalists believe that the lack of formal methods and process adherence is a fatal flaw in the Agile methodology. On the other hand, Agilists believe that formal processes and documentation de-emphasize the self-discipline required for engineering development. That is, one side describes discipline as “process discipline” and the other side describes discipline as “self-discipline.” In reality, both are needed for effective engineering development. Agile methodologies are not absent of process and process discipline, they just use a different approach. Reviews, for example, are conducted on Agile projects, they are just pushed lower in the organization and are accomplished more organically. In fact, many Agile practitioners are process zealots and are fanatical (including the author) about the processes used on their project.<br> <br> <strong>Organizational Limitations </strong><br> There are two aspects of the organization that cause disconnects between the DoD acquisition leadership and the people in the program offices that execute defense acquisition work. The first cause for this disconnect is so-called “organizational inertia.” In other words, the organization resists change. One reason for this is that the processes and guidance that exist within the organization are built around the current way of doing business. For example, current organizational guidance has specific instructions for performing System Requirements Review (SRR) and then controlling the requirements baseline after through a disciplined change control process. This process is deliberately established to prevent the sort of scope flexibility that Agile methodologies strive to achieve. In some ways, Agile methods contradict the existing way of doing business. Advocates of the existing approach therefore have precedence over the advocates for process change—it’s too radical in some ways. It’s also a bad idea in some cases. However, the existing DoD framework is inflexible and does not condone the concept of Agile.<br> <br> The second organizational cause of disconnects between DoD acquisition leadership and their program office staff is the organizational structure of many of these organizations. The paperwork-based, process-oriented, traditional waterfall model of engineering development fits nicely into bureaucracies. Bureaucratic organizational cultures notoriously lack innovation and are often at the other end of the culture spectrum of team-oriented, organic organizations that most Agilists operate within. These organic cultures are somewhat foreign to the DoD. Organic culture does not mean wearing flip-flops, playing ping-pong and bringing your dog to work. An organic culture means decentralized decision making, less adherence to a chain of command, more autonomy at the worker level, less task specialization and more focus around self-discipline than process discipline.<br> <br> The DoD has been in the acquisition business a long time—the acquisition workforce has organized itself in a specific way, establishing process and guidance around the traditional waterfall engineering model and creating an organizational culture that working as a whole creates a formidable amount of friction in implementing Agile processes. Perhaps the most difficult obstacle is the radically different organizational culture established in most Agile commercial organizations and the DoD. For example, adherence to the chain of command is accepted without question in the DoD. Two side effects of the existing DoD culture that stifle the adoption of Agile methods—and innovation in general—are that the punishment for failure outweighs the reward for success in many of our organizations and that this results in a severe aversion to taking risks.<br> Striving Toward Predictability<br> <br> Most bureaucracies, including the DoD acquisition community, have established a culture that strives for predictability. Bureaucracies endeavor to improve efficiency and optimize the steady-state. This goal for efficiency and predictability is a reason why the waterfall model is so appealing. The waterfall model fixes the scope, baselines a project plan and then executes as closely as possible to that plan. Indeed, this process discipline often leads to better cost and schedule control on a project.<br> <br> However, this never-ending quest for efficiency comes at a price—well several prices, actually. First, improving costs and schedule control is accomplished by slavishly following a plan and predetermined scope. Often, requirements change because the project team misunderstood the user needs in the beginning and/or the user changed its mind as the project progressed or the operational environment changed during the project. Regardless of that, the requirements very often changed for a good reason. Therefore, failing to change them degrades the quality or usefulness of the product being developed. Agile methods are one approach to deal with these inevitable changes.<br> <br> Perhaps more important, the drive for efficiency hampers innovation. That is, innovation involves taking calculated risks. We must try new things in order to innovate. Trying new things requires the possibility of failing. Optimizing the steady-state, by definition, discourages change. Change is not predictable. Therefore, optimization of the steady-state increases competitiveness over the short term at the expense of innovation. Over the long term, organizations driven by efficiency increasingly become obsolete by failing to evolve due to lack of innovation.<br> <br> Striving to maximize efficiency puts the emphasis on predictability rather than innovation. In this organizational culture, little value is placed on innovation. In some ways, it is more desirable to fail predictably then to succeed unpredictably. Bureaucratic organizations often punish failure more than they reward success. Therefore, in order to innovate, one must take great personal risk to their professional reputation and credibility within their organization.<br> <br> <strong>Contracting Constraints</strong><br> Regardless of how innovative program offices become, they will be limited by the rules under the Federal Acquisition Regulation. No matter how innovative and Agile organizations become, they will still be bound to execute to contracts that include a statement of work with a fixed scope that the contractor is required to meet—a scope that cannot be easily modified. This also is intended to drive predictability into the process. However, it can serve to stifle project Agility by limiting the flexibility of programs to execute projects.<br> <br> If the DoD desires to become more innovative and Agile in its methods, the programs’ contracting rules need to be updated. Contracting mechanisms and incentives should examined with a view of maximizing capabilities delivered to the warfighter rather than maximizing predictability in the acquisition process. This is what it means to be truly Agile.<br> <br> <strong>Conclusion</strong><br> Many DoD acquisition leaders call for their programs to become more Agile and innovative. They want to deliver capabilities to the warfighters more quickly and cheaply. They wish to take more risk and are willing to accept less-than-perfect solutions. This allows more rapid feedback and provides opportunities to improve through incremental capability enhancements.<br> <br> To achieve this goal, however, leaders must be willing to take action beyond proclaiming “we are going to adopt Agile.” Leaders must be willing to look deeper. They must be willing consider their definition of discipline and evaluate their processes and regulations and be willing to change their organizational structure and help their staffs overcome inertia built into the DoD acquisition system. Leaders must be willing to take a hard look at the organizational culture established in the program offices they lead and decide if they provide employees with enough incentives to innovate. Do they seek to optimize the steady state or to innovate and push the envelope? Are they willing to take more risks? Are they willing to look at the contracting process and be innovative regarding how contractors are incentivized to maximize capability to the warfighter?<br> <br> In order to become truly Agile, we must seek to encourage organizational change and incentivize those early adopters and project innovators to evolve the DoD acquisition process without having to put their own careers on the line. This involves accepting greater risk and the possibility of failure. Agile methods are not for the faint of heart; they involve ambiguity and uncertainty and are not predictable. They are often less efficient. But they often are faster and more effective than traditional processes. They often provide great value for those who are willing to embrace the culture change and seek innovation over predictability. Making the Agile movement more than just a fad in defense acquisitions is the required culture shift. The question is: Can we take the leap? <hr />Nicholson is the chief engineer for a weapon system program in Colorado Springs and a Ph.D. candidate at University of Alabama, Huntsville.<br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href="mailto:jmnichol3@gmail.com">jmnichol3@gmail.com</a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Agile—the-Pros-and-Cons
Contracting and Acquisition During World War Ihttps://www.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=88Contracting and Acquisition During World War I2018-07-01T16:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DAU_Defense ATL_Contracting and Acquisition in WWI_20180706.jpg, https://www.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DAU_Defense ATL_Contracting and Acquisition in WWI_20180706.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DAU_Defense ATL_Contracting and Acquisition in WWI_20180706.jpg<div class="ExternalClassF3370D517C1B4D689B68B29B70531E9B">World War I marked the transition of the United States Army from military insignificance into a premier fighting force. Much has been written about the immense changes within the Army’s operational side; yet the lessons learned regarding contracting and acquisition were equally important. Any global power requires the institutional culture to translate industrial resources into munitions, services and the other means of waging war. In reviewing the war’s centennial anniversary, it is useful to consider its contracting and acquisition side. This article has been derived from my book <a href="http://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/combat-studies-institute/csi-books/Supporting-the-Doughboys-%28Web%29.pdf">"Supporting the Doughboys: US Army Logistics and Personnel During World War I" (Fort Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute 2017)</a>.<br> <br> Success in acquisition came slowly and was plagued by delays and confusion; early mistakes had implications that lasted beyond the Armistice. The nation simply did not have the bureaucratic culture, or flexibility, to obtain the instruments of war. The story of contracting and acquisition for World War I is one of remarkable achievements to solve problems that might have been mitigated or avoided altogether by better preparation.<br> <br> America entered the war with a dysfunctional bureaucracy. Logistical functions, including acquisition, were managed by a collection of semi-autonomous organizations collectively termed the supply bureaus. The Quartermaster Corps, which managed general supplies or services, and the Ordnance Department, which managed weapons systems, were the two most important bureaus; but the Corps of Engineers, Signal Corps, and Medical Department held materiel responsibilities in addition to their operational duties. (During the war, the Air Service and the Chemical Warfare Service became independent agencies, with their own logistical authorities.) Although the system worked well enough in peacetime, it lacked any mechanism for creating a unified wartime effort. Over time, the prewar bureaus developed a culture that valued individual performance over the national effort. They competed for scarce resources, driving up prices in the process. In short, decades of atrophy produced a War Department better suited for peace.<br> <br> Contracts were advertised in advance and awarded on a low bid, fixed price. The success of this system depended upon predictable conditions, when potential contractors were familiar with government requirements, and raw materials were available at predictable prices. The system did not work well in an emergency environment, where the requirements were unpredictable, and contractors had to produce immediately.<br> <br> Despite these problems, most Americans expected efficient mobilization; and the confusion surrounding industrial mobilization shocked the nation. Lack of planning for installation construction delayed the training program for new soldiers until the onset of winter. Even though the Quartermaster General recognized the potential for a shortage of wool, laws about market speculation prevented the government from acquiring wool while it was available, thus leaving the soldiers without coats and blankets during that extremely cold winter. An insufficient number of shipyards delayed an aggressive ship construction program until nearly the end of the war. Charges of excessive profits by industry compounded the difficulties.<br> <br> Difficulties with ordnance production best illustrate the results of the decades of neglect. Prior to the war, the Ordnance Department relied upon its network of government arsenals to produce weapons, ammunition and related items. Without government contracts, American industries had no reason to create the jigs, dies and other tools necessary for mass production. In 1915 and 1916, Congress rejected recommendations by the Chief of Ordnance to accept higher prices from industry to prepare for an emergency surge in requirements. When the United States entered the war, American industry could not produce the necessary weapons, forcing the Army to rely upon France and Britain for artillery, tanks, aircraft and most ammunition. Despite the superiority of the Springfield rifle, American soldiers used the British Enfield rifle because American companies already had British contracts and therefore had the tools for mass production. Efforts to adopt French designs for artillery and other weapons proved unexpectedly tricky because of the difficulties of converting metric specifications and the French methods of looser tolerances with final adjustments made by the mechanics.<br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DAU_Defense%20ATL_Contracting%20and%20Acquisition%20in%20WWI%20Ordinance%20Production_20180706.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <em>Working an ordnance production line. Photo courtesy of US Army Women’s Museum and the US Army Ordnance Museum.​</em><br> <br> By December 1917, problems with production and transportation reached a crisis level leading to significant government reorganization. Although President Woodrow Wilson had statutory powers to allocate resources, he preferred to rely upon voluntary cooperation from industry and the various government agencies. Unsurprisingly, both government bureaus and war industries competed against each other for scarce resources. The resulting chaos threatened to cripple the national mobilization. Consequently, Wilson asserted more authority by seizing control over the railroads; and initiating government reorganizations. Bernard Baruch’s appointment to the War Industries Board signaled a more aggressive management of priorities.<br> <br> Despite the late start, American industry, working in conjunction with the Army and Navy, made some impressive accomplishments, often with groundbreaking techniques. Shipyards developed mass production techniques so that a single shipyard at Hog Island, Pennsylvania, launched more ships in October 1918 than the entire United States did in 1916. New arrangements for government-owned, contractor-operated ammunition factories were just starting to produce impressive numbers by the end of the war. Some innovations included standardized construction procedures at new shipyards, or coating cotton fabric for aircraft to replace scarce linens. By autumn 1918, the United States was showing indications of the munitions juggernaut it would become in later decades.<br> <br> In Europe, contracting and acquisition became a vital component of the logistical support to the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). Given the constant shortages of cargo ships, the United States relied heavily upon local goods and labor to supplement the support available from home. In addition, the United States relied upon France and Britain to compensate for the lag in retooling American industry for munitions production.<br> <br> As the War Department bureaus became operational in Europe, they began to function with their customary independence by competing against each other, thus driving up prices. The result not only hurt the Americans but raised concerns about inflation among the French. In August 1917, a board appointed to study the problem recommended no action because of the independence granted to the bureaus under existing laws. Not satisfied with the recommendation, the American commander General John J. Pershing created a General Purchasing Board, with his old friend (and future Vice President) Charles Dawes as the General Purchasing Agent. The board reviewed all requirements to search for duplicate requirements and to see where purchases might be consolidated to obtain the best price. As an additional precaution against inflation, a French representative reviewed all agreements and employed their government’s right to requisition supplies in the event of excessive pricing. Once established, the board’s responsibilities grew steadily to include such areas as labor and electrical supply. To stay within the law, the bureaus executed the contracts.<br> <br> Success from the General Purchasing Board led Charles Dawes to recommend a similar approach at the coalition level. Pershing endorsed the idea and received support from the other Allied governments. In June 1918, the Military Board of Allied Supply convened its first meeting, with Dawes representing the United States. Although the board’s authorities were limited by a requirement for unanimous consent and other restrictions, it proved to be an invaluable forum for coordination of logistical requirements, especially during the final battles of autumn 1918.<br> <br> In addition to purchasing supplies, the U.S. Army contracted for large numbers of European workers, for the same reasons that the American military still employs local labor. It reduced the logistical demands upon Americans. In France, however, women formed a disproportionate share of the workforce. That required compliance with French laws regulating the women’s working conditions, such as paid leave when their husbands were home on furlough. French women worked in a wide variety of tasks, such as warehousing, baking, clothing repair and even manufacturing candy.<br> <br> The United States also reached out to neutral nations as a means of reducing the burden on trans-Atlantic shipping. Items unavailable in France, such as food or timber, could be purchased in Europe or North Africa, and transported in shallow draft vessels. These ships could use ports not suitable for oceanic ships, which was a substantial advantage given the limited supply of deep-water facilities.<br> <br> As the Allied victory approached in November 1918, acquisition systems for both the Army and Navy were functioning impressively. Building the contracting structure proved to be a matter of learning through mistakes both in America and in Europe—but the emphasis was on learning. At home, defense production began to look like the arsenal of democracy later seen in World War II. Purchases in Europe helped to meet the critical gap caused by the shipping shortages. These achievements allowed the AEF to reach its strength of approximately 2 million soldiers with thousands more arriving daily. Quite probably the prospect of endless American reinforcements played a critical role in the German decision to accept an Armistice on Allied terms.<br> <img alt="" src="/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/DAU_Defense%20ATL_Contracting%20and%20Acquisition%20in%20WWI%20Shipping%20Port_20180706.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <em>The US Army constructed new port facilities adjacent to the existing French port of Bassens. This became known as American Bassens. Once operational, American ships dominated the scenery. Photo courtesy of US Army Quartermaster Museum.</em><br> <br> After the Armistice, most of the wartime contracts required termination. This presented an entirely new set of problems. Before 1917, War Department contracting was marked by a scrupulous adherence to every detail. As the pressures of the war mounted, the culture changed to carelessness. In the rush to supply, the Army contracts were executed without the proper signatures, or sometimes merely upon verbal assurances that the paperwork would follow. Shortly after the Armistice, the Comptroller of the Treasury ruled that the government could not pay for approximately $1.5 billion worth of contracts due to some irregularity, despite any good faith by the contractor. The ruling applied in the United States and Europe, with the predictable damage to the American reputation in Europe. In May 1919, Congress resolved the issue with the Dent Act that authorized the Secretary of War to pay for the contracts on an equitable basis, provided the claims were filed by June 30 of that year.<br> <br> Another problem developed from the absence of standardized clauses in the contracts until September 1918. Among other deficiencies, most contracts did not contain provisions for termination in the event of peace. In theory, any contractor could have sued for full execution of the contract; but in practice, the delays in the legal procedure would leave the business bankrupt. Therefore, it was in the interest of both parties to negotiate a settlement. In the absence of any guidance, the government developed a set of principles that included payment for capital investments plus a 10 percent profit, but not anticipatory profits. Additionally, the War Department agreed to advance payments of 75 percent of undisputed costs, and gradual termination of contracts where sudden termination might result in undue hardship to the community. In some cases, the contracts were continued to completion when considered in the best interest of the government. With all parties eager for quick resolution, the negotiations proceeded quickly.<br> <br> In Europe, the Army used the members of the General Purchasing Board to create the nucleus of a liquidation commission. Termination proceeded along the same principles as in the United States, but effect upon the French economy was not a consideration. A parallel commission considered European contracts within the United States, and the claims were balanced against each other.<br> <br> Rapid resolution of the outstanding contracts required a cultural shift from monitoring every penny, to accepting rounded numbers in the belief that time lost on careful audits would be more damaging to the nation in the long run. This approach might have been correct, but it did little to ease the perception of grotesque defense industry profits.<br> <br> In fact, the question of excessive profits became a bitter legacy of World War I. Modern scholarship has concluded that the accusations either were greatly exaggerated or unfounded. Many of the costs were attributable to the lack of planning that required rushed production, or else expensive capital investments for a war of uncertain duration. Much of the ammunition profits came from sales to Britain before the United States entered the war. Nevertheless, the charges persisted and received added attention in the 1930s when isolationist Sen. Gerald Nye held sensational hearings describing munitions production as the “merchants of death.”<br> <br> Other military and political leaders gave serious consideration to the lessons of World War I. Creation of the Army Industrial College to study the problems of industrial mobilization was one of the visible legacies of the war. Today this is the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy and is part of the National Defense University (formerly the Industrial College of the Armed Forces). In August 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a partial mobilization of national resources to reduce the chaos created by waiting until a declaration of war. He quickly grasped the concept for a War Production Board to prioritize resources and industrial production. The World War I experiences greatly assisted the United States in fighting the next war.<br> <br> World War I transformed the U.S. Army from an insignificant force into a world-class power. The maturation of contracting and acquisition was essential part of the process. The process was rough and full of learning through mistakes; but ultimately successful. <hr /><em>Dr. Leo Hirrel is the former historian of the U.S. Army Quartermaster School and command historian of the U.S. Joint Forces Command. He retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel after 28 years with the U.S. Army Reserve, specializing in logistics. He holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in History from the University of Virginia, a bachelor’s degree in History from Loyola College in Baltimore and a Master of Library Science from The Catholic University of America.<br> <br> The author can be contacted at <strong><a class="ak-cke-href" href="mailto:leohirrel@aol.com">leohirrel@aol.com</a></strong>.<br> <br> His work, "<strong><a href="https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/combat-studies-institute/csi-books/Supporting-the-Doughboys-%28Web%29.pdf">Supporting the Doughboys</a></strong>" is available free of charge from the Army University Press.</em></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Contracting-and-Acquisition-During-World-War-I