Targeting Inefficient Buying
Some years back, the Department of Defense (DOD) decided to convert tens-of-thousands of stockpiled, "dumb," free-fall bombs into "smart" bombs that could be aimed accurately at high-value targets. The question: how to do this efficiently and effectively? The answer: hire contractors to develop a kit to be attached to each bomb that would enable the bomb to follow Global Positioning System (GPS) guidance. In short, the system would guide the bombs to preprogrammed coordinates.
DOD Gets Smarter
To be sure, "smart bomb" technology is not entirely new, but creating all-weather "smart" bombs represented a technical tall order for DOD. The project also gave DOD the opportunity to try a "smart" performance-based procurement process (dictating the deliverable, not the process of delivery), and replace military specifications with specifications like those used in innovative, commercial practices. In addition, DOD made another "smart" choice by selecting a program manager who was determined to break cultural stereotypes and develop practices that would deliver products faster, better, and cheaper. These were tough changes for an organization that has often personified bureaucracy.
Did smart procurement, smart program management, and performance-based requirements make a difference? Indeed. These reforms helped the contractor and DOD deliver the desired result: a kit to convert a "dumb" bomb to a "smart" bomb, known as the Joint Defense Attack Munition (JDAM), that operated almost flawlessly in Kosovo. These reforms also helped DOD and the contractor reduce the costs of each JDAM kit from approximately $36,000.00 to under $20,000.00. These successes are now providing a roadmap for future procurement innovation in other DOD programs.
For more information, visit the Direct Attack Munition Program Office's Internet site, or contact Roy Handsel, Joint Direct Attack Munition Program Office, at (850) 882-4261 [extension 3194].
Email Me |