Official Encourages Dialogue Between Pentagon
Official Encourages Dialogue
Between Pentagon, Industry
By Amaani Lyle, American Forces
Arlington, Virginia – (AFPS)
– March 5, 2014 – To ensure on-time, on-cost delivery of quality products and
services to the warfighter, a Pentagon official encouraged clear and ongoing
dialog between Defense Department decision-makers and industry leaders in a
conference here yesterday.
James Russell, acting director of the Defense Contract
Management Agency, told participants in Aviation Week’s Defense Technologies and
Requirements conference that finessing the supply chain and deliverable
war-product process is relatively easy to accomplish on a programmatic basis,
but is more challenging on a broader scale for industry.
“[We want] to be able to understand what’s going on within
that industrial base, take the information back [to] the decision-makers and
figure out ways jointly to drive out cost, improve reliability and incentivize [everyone],”
said Russell, whose organization oversees quality assurance, cost, schedule and
supply chain predictability while managing about 335,000 contracts totaling more
than $1.65 trillion.
Defense Contract Management Agency officials set up sector
groups across industrial areas such as rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, naval sea
systems, and ground Army combat systems to get a pulse on cost-saving avenues,
Russell explained. “We have a group focused on industrial-based capabilities and
fragility at lower levels within industry,” he said, adding that some
discoveries were surprising, particularly in less-prominent industries. “What
appear to be rather mundane but important systems [aren’t] getting the
flashlight view and investment dollars in a downturned economy,” Russell said.
“This is causing a real fear that some of the engineering talent, and research
and development things that go on, just don’t have the opportunity to exist.”
As a result, DOD officials are trying to better understand
where there may be risk, particularly in losing a capability that might no
longer be replicable in an uncertain budgetary environment. “We want to look for
ways that we can incentivize [industry] to have that communication back and
forth so we know the risks and what the impacts will be,” he said.
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