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U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer Policy Implementationhttps://www.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=38U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer Policy Implementation2018-07-19T16:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/Services/DAU_Pentagon-2_20170103.jpg, https://www.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/Services/DAU_Pentagon-2_20170103.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/Services/DAU_Pentagon-2_20170103.jpg<div class="ExternalClass3230D2049ED24F1F8700579A069D0DCF">The U.S. Department of State announced on July 16<sup>th</sup> that the White House has approved a Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy Implementation Plan. For those “inquiring minds” that would like to know more about this, here’s a brief summary based on the <a href="https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/07/284097.htm"><strong>State Department Fact Sheet</strong></a> on this subject currently available on their website.<br> <br> From an overall perspective, USG implementation activities will focus on three broad, mutually supportive lines of effort designed to achieve the objectives outlined in the revised White House CAT Policy issued on April 19, 2018: <ul> <li><em><strong>Prioritizing Strategic Competition</strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>Organizing for Success</strong></em></li> <li><em><strong>Creating Conducive Environments</strong></em></li> </ul> The Implementation Plan will also focus on seven (7) CAT policy implementation “tasks” that the U.S. Government (USG) will pursue with support from allied/friendly nations and U.S. industry. I have summarized these -- plus provided a few of my own thoughts on where such efforts could affect the DoD acquisition workforce (in general) and International Acquisition Career Path (IACP) members (in particular) -- in the months ahead: <ol> <li><em><strong>Working with Partners and Allies on Priorities</strong></em> – One of the biggest challenges the DoD acquisition workforce faces in the International Acquisition & Exportability (IA&E) area is the breadth of enterprise-wide activities which includes thousands of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases, hundreds of International Cooperative Program (ICP) agreements, hundreds of Building Partner Capacity (BPC) transactions, and tens of thousands of State and Commerce export approvals that require DoD inputs. Finding a better way within the USG – a big and diverse operation -- to identify and expedite the most critical allied/friendly nation capability requirements is a laudable CAT Policy objective. How to best accomplish this, however, will likely be a challenge since USG interagency players in the IA&E area have historically used an organizational interest-based, positional bargaining approach to set priorities and allocate resources. Clearly there must be a better way, but what alternatives should be considered, and will key USG organizations agree to fundamental changes to the status quo?</li> <li><em><strong>Improving our Ability to Compete with Adversaries</strong></em> – The CAT Policy objective in this area is clearly defined – finding ways to more effectively compete against systems offered for sale by our “adversaries” (list not provided). See 3. through 7. below for details on the “how to” aspects of potentially achieving this highly desirable outcome.</li> <li><em><strong>Increasing the Competitiveness of U.S.-Made Systems </strong></em>– Making U.S systems more competitive in the global defense marketplace – whether they are competing against those offered by “adversaries,” friendly nations, or allies – is clearly one of the main focus areas of the revised CAT Policy. The Fact Sheet mentions three promising areas where improvements may be possible: a) working with industry to design and build exportability into our systems; b) expanding USG support for sale of Non-Program of Record (POR) -- think “industry customized” rather than “standard DoD” -- systems; and, c) incentivizing increased DoD/industry production capacity and timely delivery. Spoiler Alert … the <u>DoD acquisition workforce</u> – through our contracts with U.S. industry -- is the <u>key USG player responsible</u> for achieving all three of these!</li> <li><em><strong>Updating the Policy and Regulatory Framework</strong></em> – Well, at least they didn’t use the word “reform” again this time! However, it looks like the “usual suspects” – including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and the Missile Technology Control Regime – are going to be scrutinized yet again. While the banks of the Potomac are (metaphorically) littered with the bones of the previous reformers in these areas, hopefully those involved in the CAT Policy-related efforts to improve status quo performance in this area can take comfort that in the broad sweep of history, occasionally things really do change. Fortunately, it’s likely that the DoD acquisition workforce will only play a supporting role since other USG organizations, most notably the State and Commerce Departments, are responsible for these policy and regulatory frameworks.</li> <li><em><strong>Expanding and Enhancing USG Advocacy and Trade Promotion </strong></em>– From a DoD acquisition workforce perspective, we’ve been supporting U.S. industry in the global defense marketplace for many years in traditional IA&E areas such as “standard” FMS, ICPs, and BPC. However, it appears that the Implementation Plan will ask the DoD acquisition workforce (among others in the USG) to “up their game” by helping support U.S. industry Non-Standard FMS, Non-POR FMS, and Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) advocacy and trade promotion in the future as well. Potential DoD acquisition workforce and IACP resource issues/constraints could arise depending on the breadth and depth of support to industry that’s envisioned … something worth monitoring.</li> <li><em><strong>Working to Ensure Barriers to U.S. Entry are Reduced </strong></em>– The barriers mentioned here are ones established and used by other countries – even allied and friendly nations – that cause U.S. industry problems in the FMS and DCS areas (ICP and BPC much less so). The most well-known (and often vexing) barrier – other countries’ offset requirements – has been the subject of many bilateral USG-foreign government moral suasion discussions over the years. A few DoD IACP personnel are involved in offset policy debates at policy level, but many others have to deal with program-level offset impacts on a daily basis, especially those in DoD Program Management Offices and Contracting Organizations responsible for FMS contracting. In view of the problems they often cause, it would make sense for the DoD acquisition workforce to support further USG policy and practice changes to help minimize the adverse impact of foreign offset requirements in FMS and FMS/DCS hybrid programs.</li> <li><strong><em>Continuing to Improve our Arms Transfer Processes</em></strong> – Most informed observers believe that additional improvements in key USG arms transfer processes are needed and can be achieved. While IA&E contracting and procurement processes are mentioned in the Fact Sheet, there are others – most notably the set of thirteen (13) <strong><a href="/cop/iam/DAU%20Sponsored%20Documents/TSFD%20Pipes%20Chart%20(.pdf%20version).pdf?Web=1">USG/DoD Technology Security and Foreign Disclosure (TSFD) processes</a></strong> and how they work together (or not) to identify and implement defense exportability requirements in U.S. systems – that deserve further attention.</li> </ol> The State Department’s Fact Sheet appears to indicate that there are additional CAT Policy Implementation Plan documents circulating within the USG. If so, these could provide additional insights and further details into the specific activities that are envisioned on a task-by-task basis. If/when these documents become available, we will do our best to keep DoD acquisition workforce and IACP members apprised of future efforts intended to improve International Acquisition & Exportability outcomes for the U.S. and allied/friendly nations around the globe.<br> <br> Until next time … Prof K</div>string;#/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/blog/U-S--Conventional-Arms-Transfer-Policy-Implementation
The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) II Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)https://www.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=37The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) II Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)2018-06-03T16:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/TTCP Super Small.jpg, https://www.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/TTCP Super Small.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/TTCP Super Small.jpg<div class="ExternalClass7E327D0F27A2473889C911F5A4B69960">The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) is a DoD-wide international cooperative Science & Technology (S&T) effort that involves the defense S&T organizations of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, U.K. and U.S. While TTCP was originally established in the 1950s it remains a viable and vibrant cooperative S&T engagement program in today's 21st century global defense S&T environment.<br> <br> A new TTCP II MOU entered into effect in April 2018 replacing an earlier version TTCP MOU from the mid-1990s. This new TTCP MOU provides a legal framework for international cooperative efforts by the five TTCP Participants across the full spectrum of defense S&T activities including​: <ul> <li>Establishment of a five-nation TTCP Steering Committee that focuses on information sharing and alignment the S&T activities of all TTCP Participants through a TTCP group structure supported by all five nations' S&T subject matter experts.</li> <li>Conducting specific cooperative TTCP Activities authorized by the TTCP Steering Committee under mutually acceptableTerms of Reference (TORs) among two or more TTCP Participants.</li> <li>S&T Equipment and Material Transfers (loans) among two or more TTCP Participants in furtherance of their national S&T objectives and program of work.</li> <li>Formal International Cooperative Program (ICP) S&T Project Arrangements entered into among two or more TTCP Participants.</li> </ul> The new TTCP II MOU provides a basis for continuing international S&T cooperation over the next twenty-five years that will harmonize and employ the defense technology bases of these longstanding allies in support their national defense objectives and future coalition operations. Consult your national TTCP points of contact listed on the <strong><a href="https://www.acq.osd.mil/ttcp/index.html">TTCP website </a></strong>for further details.<br> <br> Until next time ...<br> Prof K</div>string;#/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/blog/The-Technical-Cooperation-Program-(TTCP)-II-Memorandum-of-Understanding-(MOU)
Revised U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer Policyhttps://www.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=36Revised U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer Policy2018-05-17T16:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/MQ-9 Reaper.jpg, https://www.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/MQ-9 Reaper.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/MQ-9 Reaper.jpg<div class="ExternalClass89F31C2452B44F83A5F5FB6EFEDB9E3A">For those of you who may have missed the defense media reports, the President recently issued a major update to the U.S. Government’s Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy on April 19, 2018. When new policies like this are published, DAU learners often ask “how will this policy affect me (if at all)?” Great question! Having worked in the DoD International Acquisition and Exportability (IA&E) area for over 25 years, here are a few thoughts that may help you assess the updated CAT policy’s potential impact now and in the future.<br> <br> Probably the most important reason to be mindful of this policy’s potential impact is that research has shown that over 80% of DoD system development, production, and sustainment programs engage in one or more of the following aspects of IA&E during their life-cycle: <ul> <li><strong><em>IA&E Planning and Analysis</em></strong> -- The conduct of program-level IA&E Assessments and development of Acquisition Strategy - International Considerations sections by Program Managers is now required by Title 10 and the DoD 5000 series.</li> <li><strong><em>International Cooperative Programs (ICPs)</em></strong> – International defense government-to-government partnership agreements include programs such as NATO SeaSparrow, Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) and many more.</li> <li><strong><em>Sales and Transfers</em></strong> – Foreign Military Sales (FMS), Direct Commercial Sales (DCS), Building Partner Capacity (BPC), and hybrid program activities are widespread and include most of DoD major programs as well smaller-scale acquisition programs and projects.</li> <li><strong><em>Technology Security and Foreign Disclosure (TSFD) & Export Control</em></strong> – All of DoD’s international acquisition efforts require various types of U.S. Government (USG) approval(s) in these legally required areas.</li> <li><strong><em>Defense Exportability Integration</em></strong> – This ‘new kid on the block’ effort – established in Title 10 beginning in 2011 – is critically important to the achievement of the new U.S. National Security Strategy and U.S. Government Security Cooperation goals and objectives.</li> <li><strong><em>International Contracting</em></strong> – Both “domestic” and international acquisition programs rely on international sources of supply from the global defense marketplace from the prime contractor to supplier level.</li> </ul> <br> Each and every one of the IA&E activities will be governed by the recently revised CAT policy to some greater or lesser degree. That said, the key question knowledgeable observers are asking is “how does the new policy differ from its predecessor?” Here are a few key (and potential) changes between the 2014 and 2018 version CAT policies that DoD acquisition workforce members should keep in mind as they plan and implement ongoing and future IA&E activities: <ul> <li><strong><em>Industry Support</em></strong>: One of the policy’s most significant changes is the markedly increased emphasis on supporting industry’s international efforts. <em>“When a proposed transfer is in the national security interest … the executive branch will advocate strongly on behalf of United States companies.”</em> It appears that the Administration – through the National Security Council, State, Defense, and Commerce – has high expectations regarding “deckplate level” changes in workforce attitude and actions in this area.</li> <li><strong><em>Streamlining Philosophy</em></strong>: The Administration has also signaled its willingness to engage in and support IA&E and acquisition-related business process changes in support of industry. <em>“The executive branch will also streamline procedures, clarify regulations, increase contracting predictability and flexibility, and maximize the ability of the United States industry to grow and support allies and partners.”</em> Note that this statement focuses on U.S. Government streamlining efforts that will support industry’s international defense activities rather than emphasizing the need for business process improvements across the full spectrum of USG Security Cooperation activities.</li> <li><strong><em>Streamlining Specifics</em></strong>: What is less clear is how this emphasis on streamlining in the U.S. Government and DoD IA&E processes to support industry’s international defense activities will actually play out in practice. <em>“Within 60 days of the date of this memorandum [the executive branch] shall submit to the President … a proposed action plan to implement the policy set forth in … this memorandum.”</em> Hmmm … since “the devil is usually found in the details,” stay tuned!</li> <li><strong><em>Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Policy</em></strong>: The policy also mentions the need for significant changes in UAS sales and transfers decision making. <em>“Within 60 days of the date of this memorandum, the [executive branch] shall submit to the President … a proposed initiative to align our unmanned aerial systems (UAS) export policy more closely with our national and economic security interests. The initiative should address the status of, and recommend next steps for, [Military Technology Control Regime] MTCR adoption of revised controls for MTCR Category I UAS, consistent with the UAS export policy.”</em> Notably, the State Department issued a new “<a href="https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/04/280619.htm">U.S. Policy on the Export of Unmanned Aerial Systems</a>” in parallel with the White House publication of the revised CAT policy on April 19th. However, there are media reports about more potential U.S. Government policy changes to make exports of U.S.-origin MTCR Category I UAS ‘easier’ so stay tuned on this as well.</li> </ul> <br> From an overall standpoint, it’s clear that the Administration wants the executive branch to ‘lean forward’ on future U.S defense sales. What is less clear is the mechanics of how achieving this objective will actually be accomplished by key players in the U.S. Government – especially in State, Defense, and Commerce – under the National Security Council’s leadership and guidance.<br> <br> Moreover, the National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAAs) in recent years have contained several provisions intended to improve – “streamline” if you will -- the U.S. Government’s overall Security Cooperation performance, particularly in the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) area. Perhaps some synergies will occur as both the NDAA and CAT policy changes begin to effect the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS), and other DoD policy directives and instructions that govern DoD’s IA&E and Security Cooperation activities.<br> <br> We will continue to do our best here at DAU to monitor future CAT policy implementation activities -- and make you aware of key developments – in the coming months.<br> <br> Until next time … Prof K</div>string;#/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/blog/Revised-U-S--Conventional-Arms-Transfer-Policy
Critical Thinking and Acquisition Improvementshttps://www.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=35Critical Thinking and Acquisition Improvements2018-03-19T16:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/Career%20Fields/DAU_Logistics%20Defense%20ATL%20Hand%20%20May%20June%202015_20170209.jpg, https://www.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/Career Fields/DAU_Logistics Defense ATL Hand May June 2015_20170209.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/PublishingImages/Career%20Fields/DAU_Logistics%20Defense%20ATL%20Hand%20%20May%20June%202015_20170209.jpg<div class="ExternalClassBA2BF9F0D3F64198A5F7A8E4FDB3389A">One of the most enjoyable aspects of supporting the DoD Acquisition Workforce as a DAU professor is being asked to help respond to thought-provoking questions from members who are grappling with tough challenges. I was recently asked to participate in a discussion of the advantages – and potential pitfalls – of using acquisition Best Practices in the workplace as part of a DAU Mission Assistance (MA) effort.<br> <br> I provided a few thoughts based on my work in the International Acquisition and Exportability (IA&E) area during DAU’s meeting with the MA customer organization, specifically in the area of IA&E Best Practices. However, I found the overall discussion fascinating from an applied critical thinking perspective. Perhaps you will as well.<br> <br> <strong>Thank You for Arguing … </strong><br> <br> The fun began immediately since the DAU faculty members involved in the discussion with the MA customer had divergent views on the topic from the beginning: <ul> <li>Some believed <strong><em>Best Practices</em></strong> were inherently beneficial and useful</li> <li>Others noted that <strong><em>Tailoring</em></strong> (which is generally considered part of the overall set of Best Practices) could be beneficial in many circumstances</li> <li>Someone else highlighted the potential utility of <strong><em>Lessons Learned</em></strong> (put another way, historical Best Practices and Worst Practices)</li> <li>One individual argued strongly that excessive focus on the use Best Practices could actually stifle <strong><em>Creativity and Innovation</em></strong> within the acquisition workforce (clearly an undesirable outcome)</li> </ul> <br> Rather than just shrugging our shoulders and leaving it with the classic DAU answer – “it depends” – we pressed on …<br> <br> <strong>Hegel’s Dialectic</strong><br> <br> Some of you may vaguely remember this philosophical construct, which is a critical thinking approach still used to address challenging issues today. Using the dialectic approach helped everyone better understand their divergent points of view: <ul> <li><strong><em>Thesis</em></strong>: Use of Best Practices – including Tailoring and Lessons Learned -- leads to optimal acquisition outcomes.</li> <li><strong><em>Antithesis</em></strong>: Creativity and Innovation implemented through cultural change leads to optimal acquisition outcomes.</li> <li><strong><em>Synthesis</em></strong>: Read on … (spoiler alert) you’ll find this at the end of this blog …</li> </ul> <br> <strong>Storming and Norming</strong><br> <br> As the discussion continued, various faculty members argued on behalf of their perspectives on the matter. However, as the group transitioned into the “norming” phase of group dynamics, a few key concepts that hadn’t previously considered started to emerge and mature. One of the most useful was an adaptation of Colin Powell’s staff guidance to tell him:<br> <br> <strong>1)</strong> What you know.<br> <strong>2)</strong> What you think you know.<br> <strong>3)</strong> What you don’t know (but you think someone else might).<br> <strong>4)</strong> What is unknowable (at least from your perspective).<br> <br> Once General Powell and his staff discussed and agreed on areas 1) through 4), they were both in a much better position to seek assistance, if necessary, then develop solutions to the problems they were facing.<br> <br> When you combine General Powell’s approach with the typical methods used to tackle complex acquisition challenges it appears that: <ul> <li><strong><em>Best Practices</em></strong> should be used to help address challenging situations if you believe you are somewhere in areas 1) through 3); while,</li> <li><strong><em>Creativity and Innovation</em></strong>, while useful in all areas, should be primarily used to develop solutions in areas 3) and 4).</li> </ul> <br> While this is a useful construct, it’s still pretty abstract. How do I know whether my program (or set of programs) is in areas 1), 2), 3), or 4)? What approach should I use to evaluate the acquisition challenges inherent in my program (or portfolio of programs)?<br> <br> According to Daniel Levitin, the author of <em>The Organized Mind – Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload</em>, the “primary mission of teachers must shift from the dissemination of raw information to training a cluster of mental skills that revolve around critical thinking.” Accordingly, here are few ideas we hope will help you more effectively and efficiently assess the acquisition program challenges you’re facing.<br> <br> <strong>The Acquisition OODA Loop</strong><br> <br> One of the most famous decision analysis tools around is Colonel John Boyd’s <strong>OODA</strong> loop: <strong>O</strong>bserve, <strong>O</strong>rient, <strong>D</strong>ecide, <strong>A</strong>ct. In my experience, acquisition professionals don’t always spend enough time on the <strong>O</strong>bserve and <strong>O</strong>rient steps due to a mix of time constraints and over-reliance on assumptions rooted in “conventional wisdom.” This can lead to elegant solutions to the wrong problem. Happens a lot – more often than it should, really.<br> <br> We recognize that you don’t have infinite time and resources to analyze the wide variety of acquisition challenges you face in your workplace environment – far from it! However, as Levitin points out, there is a way to conduct an Observe/Orient assessment of complex problems not often mentioned in critical thinking literature. How? Start by establishing reasonable boundary conditions, then generate an initial set of “imperfect answers” to assess the breadth and depth of challenges you’re facing. You can do this using knowledge and expertise that is locally available, then use your initial Observe/Orient results to seek help (if needed) and ultimately form the basis of future Decide/Act activities. Let’s explore how you could approach such an effort …<br> <br> <strong>Acquisition Improvements – Observing & Orienting</strong><br> <br> Since DoD acquisition programs vary widely, here’s a simple “rule of three’ Observing/Orienting approach our discussion group came up:<br> <br> <strong><em>Key Acquisition Factors</em></strong>: <u>Importance</u>, <u>Complexity</u>, and <u>Risk</u> (ICR)<br> <br> <strong><em>Analytical Approach</em></strong>: Conduct a group analysis of these factors as they apply to your program or – for higher level managers – your portfolio of programs (small or large). Use the group members’ expertise to assign subjective Likert scale (1-5 or 1-10) values leading to a summary level High-Medium-Low-Unknown (HMLU) determination for each factor. If a more fine-grained analysis is desired, your group could even assign weighting values to each factor to emphasize which factors are most and least important to the desired acquisition outcome.<br> <br> <strong>Typical Analytical Results</strong>:<br> <br> <strong><em>Single Program</em></strong>:<br> <br> For an evaluation of an individual acquisition program, here’s a potential Program Manager (PM)-level Observe/Orient analytical outcome that one could envision in an ACAT I or ACAT II Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) phase program about halfway through the phase:<br> <br> <em><u>Importance</u></em>: The user has demonstrated a willingness to accept trade-offs in JCIDS KPP requirements to achieve the desired Initial Operational Capability (IOC) date.<br> <br> <em><u>Complexity</u></em>: There are a substantial number of programmatic and technical challenges that markedly exceed legacy and benchmark programs of a similar nature.<br> <br> <em><u>Risk</u></em>: While it appears that TMRR phase schedule Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) performance, cost, and schedule objectives are more or less achievable, the potential Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) and Production & Deployment (P&D) phase risks are effectively unknown at this point due to the large number of Complexity challenges being addressed during TMRR.<br> <br> <u>ICR Observe/Orient Assessment</u>: MHU<br> <br> <strong><em>Portfolio of Programs</em></strong><br> <br> A Program Executive Officer (PEO) level Observe/Orient evaluation of his/her portfolio of acquisition programs at any given time would normally be conducted at a less detailed level. As a result, one would expect to see initial analysis results for the portfolio of programs along these Importance/Complexity/Risk (ICR) lines: <ul> <li>LLL – A group of simple, routine programs that PMs within the PEO are managing effectively</li> <li>LMH – A group of programs with some functional areas that require extra PM management efforts and PEO-level monitoring</li> <li>MHM – A small group of challenging, high profile programs* that require intensive PM-level management and PEO-level oversight</li> <li>UUH – One or two unprecedented programs that, at least at this point, are beyond the ability of the PM and PEO staff to effectively evaluate due to lack of expertise and experience</li> </ul> <br> * Note that in this example, the PEO assessed the PM’s TMRR phase program as “MHH” (rather than "MHU") based on the PEO’s experience with other similar programs.<br> <br> <strong>Typical Observations & Findings</strong><br> <br> As you can see from the proceeding examples, the “where you stand depends upon where you sit” principle normally applies to these types of initial Observe/Orient analyses. PM-level analyses typically focus on the more detailed set of activities within their span of control and knowledge, while the PEO-level analyses generally focus on higher levels of abstraction based the comparison and contrasting of the various programs within the PEO’s portfolio.<br> <br> Despite these differences, the PM and PEO – and their supporting Integrated Product Team (IPT) and PEO staff experts – should strive to use the same overall Observe/Orient analytical approach in their respective assessments. Using the same Observe/Orient approach helps facilitate “crucial conversations” at all levels regarding the most critical acquisition challenges that deserve the most PM and PEO-level management attention.<br> <br> Once their Observe/Orient analyses are completed, PMs and PEOs should be in a much better position to organize and plan future efforts -- and allocate the scare resources they can control (or obtain) – to tackle the acquisition challenges in their domain that have the highest payoff.<br> <br> <strong>Acquisition Improvements – Deciding and Acting</strong><br> <br> So here’s the promised Synthesis of our discussion regarding how to more effectively and efficiently tacke challenging acquisition problems: <ol> <li><strong>Avoid</strong> the “Ready – Fire – Aim” syndrome by conducting an OODA Loop Observe/Orient analyses first to identify the most important challenges out there in your acquisition environment. <ol> <li>Start out by using local knowledge/expertise and online but …</li> <li>Don’t hesitate to seek out external advice from higher levels in the chain-of command, peer organizations, and other subject matter experts (DAU comes to mind!) to resolve General Colin Powell’s “level of knowledge” questions.</li> </ol> </li> <li><strong>Conduct</strong> Observe/Orient analyses to help pick the right “Tool(s)” to help solve the challenge(s) you’re facing: <ol> <li>Use of <strong>Best Practices</strong> – including Tailoring** and Lessons Learned – for programs facing typical, known acquisition problems other have tackled (and successfully resolved.</li> <li>Use of <strong>Creativity and Innovation</strong> – which often requires cultural change as well as “permission to fail” – to address unknown or unprecedented acquisition challenges beyond known Best Practice boundaries.</li> </ol> </li> <li><strong>Decide</strong> where you are going to focus top-level management attention – and allocate the “time, talent, and treasure” problem-solving resources within your span of control (or beyond) – on the most important, toughest problems.</li> <li><strong>Act</strong> decisively to pursue your desired Course(s) of Action (COA(s)), but always remember that Colonel Boyd called it an <strong><em>OODA Loop</em></strong> for a reason. No plan ever survives contact with the enemy – in our community of practice “acquisition friction” – so continue to Observe and (if necessary) Re-Orient to achieve optimal acquisition outcomes.</li> </ol> <br> Until next time … Prof K<br> <br> ** There is an great article in the March-April 2018 <strong><em>Defense AT&L Magazine</em></strong> by DAU Professor Brian Schultz entitled “Please Tailor Your Acquisition Strategy!” that addresses Tailoring in this important area – check it out!</div>string;#/training/career-development/intl-acq-mgmt/blog/Critical-Thinking-and-Acquisition-Improvements