Joint Chiefs to 'Throw Away' Rumsfeld-Era Acquisition Process

4/14/2011
By Stew Magnuson

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Joint Capabilities Integration Development System -- a lengthy evaluation process to set requirements for future weapon systems -- has to go, Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters here at the Space Symposium.
Instituted under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, JCIDS has outlived its usefulness, he said. "It has been gamed to death," he said in a speech. "We're going to throw it away."
JCIDS was envisioned as a new way to validate requirements for proposed technologies. Rumsfeld sought to address the services' tendencies to field new systems without considering how they would integrate with each other. It would also ensure that they were not overlapping in their efforts and purchasing redundant systems. JCIDS was to also make sure that a new program had the stamp of approval from Joint Forces Command and that new programs were truly delivering what commanders in the field needed.
But JCIDS in fact has been used to obstruct the fielding of some technologies, said Cartwright. "If you don't want to get something done, you can just burden it down with studies," he said after the speech.
Now is the time to clean it up, he added. He suggested that the revamped system will support a rapid acquisition process rather than big programs that take several years. It will be a process "that allows me to build a truck in less than 14 years," he said in a dig at the Army-Marine Corps joint light tactical vehicle program to replace the Humvee.
It should be a system that allows for more commercial off-the-shelf solutions, he added. With Joint Forces Command headed for closure, the process will move to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Cartwright said. The Joint Staff also will cut down on the bureaucracy. Instead of two program managers in charge of each new proposed system, there will only be one, he said.
The J-8 (plans and programs) directorate of the Joint Staff will oversee the material solutions and J-7 will handle the non-material solutions that follow, he said. J-7 generally will oversee the training and integration of the technology into the battlefield. The two components will work together and be overseen by the vice chairman, the position Cartwright currently holds.
Cartwright said the Air Force's new long-range bomber is an example of a program that will not be part of a new process because it will be a long, multi-year program. "It is a mismatch, because you don't want that kind of program in rapid acquisition."

Topics: Procurement, Acquisition Reform, Defense Department

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