Better Buying Power 3
Better Buying Power 3.0
Focuses on Technology, Innovation
By Amaani Lyle, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. – (DoD
News) – December 5, 2014 – In remarks at the Women in Aerospace-hosted
luncheon here today, the under secretary for acquisition, logistics and
technology announced that Better Buying Power 3.0 builds on previous iterations
of the efficiency initiative with a focus on technology and innovation.
Acknowledging a budget drop to $65 billion in research and
development, Frank Kendall said BBP 3.0 directs achieving dominant capabilities
through technical excellence and innovation in a culture of cost-consciousness,
professionalism and technical excellence.
Better Buying Power 3.0 is the culmination of U.S. defense
technology’s evolution since the first Gulf War some 23 years ago.
Lessons from history, focus on future
“We demonstrated at that time a dramatic improvement in our
ability to wage war [through] equipment, systems and capabilities: precision
munitions, stealthy aircraft, network systems,” Kendall said. “We dominated in a
way no one expected [and] China in particular very seriously studied what we’d
Kendall, who about 15 years ago was the director of tactical
warfare programs at the Pentagon, recalled annual threat assessments,
particularly in weapons systems around the world. “For years we focused on
Soviets … and a few other countries,” he said.
But Russia and China, Kendall noted, “did not stand still”
and designed systems to defeat or in some cases emulate some of the capabilities
the United States had demonstrated.
When he returned to Pentagon five years ago, Kendall said, he
noticed China’s rapid development and strategic investment in systems like
electronic warfare capabilities, cruise and ballistic missiles, and the ability
to attack U.S. high-value assets such as airfields, aircraft carriers, and ships.
China’s actions, he explained, were part of that nation’s
plan to militarily dominate that region of the world. “It’s a serious threat to
our capabilities, particularly if we get close to China,” he said.
But because precision munitions among other technologies are
now widely available, Better Buying Power 3.0 can help ensure the United States
cost-consciously stays on the cutting edge of innovation, Kendall explained.
He said the department has tried to cut spending in the
shadow of sequestration, a Congressional decision Kendall said failed at its
“[Sequestration] was put in place as a tool to force people
to do what they need to do politically [and] fund our government at a reasonable
amount,” he said. “ … It was not designed to be [a] budget-management tool or a
cost-cutting tool itself.”
And the impact, he emphasized, was stronger than it appeared
with “distributed damage,” as evidenced in 80 percent cuts to research,
development and procurement and other cuts in readiness and training.
With the recent presidential nomination of Ash Carter as
defense secretary, Kendall said the two will continue to analyze and implement
Better Buying Power 3.0, distinctive in its shifted emphasis on products, the
quality of those products and innovation.
“It’s about technical excellence, it’s about staying ahead
and ensuring that the United States continues to be the dominant military power
in the world,” he said.
Kendall said he plans to change the culture of starting
programs that aren’t affordable and therefore remain incomplete, adding, “In
general, we shouldn’t start things we can’t afford to finish.”
He said the latest BBP will also call for achieving dominant
capabilities while ensuring life-cycle costs.
“Our people should figure out what their products or services
they’re buying should cost and they should try to make sure they do cost that,”
Intel, industry collaboration
New elements such as greater collaboration with the
intelligence community and industry also distinguish BBP 3.0 from its earlier
versions, he said.
“We have to be thinking much more carefully about what the
other guys are doing and what the other guys are going to do because of what
we’re doing,” Kendall said.
Ultimately, Kendall maintains there are no silver bullets in
“It’s an incredibly complicated endeavor and you have to look
at all aspects of it and try to get them all right if you’re going to have
success,” Kendall said. “Continuous improvement and continuous self-examination
using data as much as possible to inform policies is the way to go.”
(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleDODNews)
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Better Buying Power 3.0 Shifts Emphasis to Innovation