This week I expand upon my response to 2Slugbaits’ comments to the excellent post Army navy air force Marines Budget; Peace in our Times
by Robert Waldmann
2Slugbaits’ comment revolves around the fact that the Army, a situation common to the other services, is in a contractor trap. The result is despite spending huge, budget busting, sums for contractor support the weapons are not meeting the readiness nor reliability needs of the soldiers.
Check a couple of GAO reports:
The GAO 04-715 was about enhancing implementaion of Performance Based Logistics.
The second, DoD needs to show any benefit from Performance Based Logistic (PBL) contracts.
To my knowledge GAO stopped looking after 2005, the results are too dismal. The two reports said:
PBL does not deliver required support outcomes and is always far more expensive than planned. Does the thought they “buy in” come to mind?
PBL is a product management concept, including a design and system engineering approach, which requires that an integrated support “package” be designed to minimize long term support costs while delivering specified levels of reliability and weapon system capabilities. For PBL to be delivered you had to have a “quality” design. A design which delivered a reliable product with resources, a “package” to provide repairs in the operating world to keep the equipment running to do the job for the soldiers depending on it.
The problem with PBL is the “package”. Traditionally, the “package” was soldier support in the field and governemnt arsenals or depots in the US or rear arears. The “package” created by the acquisition manager included not only designing and producing the system with qualities like reliability and maintenance, but delivering efficient repair instructions, supply lists, tools, trained manpower and facilities to repair things. Often in the acquisition wars the “package” is not bought because cost over runs elsewhere take the programmed money. Redoing shoddy work in one area always is more important than delivering the “package” to sustain the weapons..
From my observations contractor supplied PBL was a band-aid developed because weapons bought during the Reagan build up, and the few in the Clinton administration, were poor quality, failed to meet their reliability and no one had any money left to develop the “package”. It does not appear to be any better in this build up.
PBL, as criticized by GAO, was used to give the consequences of living with the trashy “package” back to the prime contractor. This reflects the trend toward using the contractor rather than the government’s sustainment systems, as reflected in 2Slugbaits comment.
The band-aid failed as the contractors who did not develop the “package” in the first place were attempting to provide the “package” and profiting from their shoddy work. The underlying problem is that the contractors did not have workable “packages” in their pockets when they signed up for PBL. With no “packages” GAO found they failed to deliver cost savings or weapons that worked in the field.
A further cause of this waste was the drawdown in the 90’s meant fewer weapons were going to be built so the contractor facilities would become vacant and should be used for repairs.
Wrongfully, DoD expected to save money by not developing repair processes and avoiding acquiring government repair facilities and depots.
The cost of those savings were…..
Lost capability and huge overruns for the shoddy work.
May as well hire whittlers to sustain the Army.
This one by ilsm