Troubled missile embodies failures of acquisition reforms.[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
Air Force officials are considering ending a $6 billion missile program that was once the poster child of the Pentagon's acquisition reform efforts.
A final decision on whether to continue funding production of the joint air-to-surface standoff stand·off
1. A tie or draw, as in a contest.
2. A situation in which one force neutralizes or counterbalances the other.
3. A standoff insulator.
Standoffish. missile (JASSM JASSM Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile ) is not expected until next spring. No matter the outcome, the troubles in the decade-long program speak volumes about the unintended consequences For the "Law of unintended consequences", see Unintended consequence
Unintended Consequences is a novel by author John Ross, first published in 1996 by Accurate Press. of procurement The fancy word for "purchasing." The procurement department within an organization manages all the major purchases. reforms that were supposed to save the Pentagon billions of dollars but have ended up costing dearly.
The Air Force so far has bought 600 of the $700,000 missiles from the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin For the former company, see .
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is a leading multinational aerospace manufacturer and advanced technology company formed in 1995 by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta. Corp. Although the company started low-rate production in 2001, the missiles still don't perform as expected, said Maj. Gen. Mark D. Shackelford, director of global power programs at the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.
Another bugbear is an 18 percent rise in the cost of JASSM, which landed the program in the dreaded "Nunn McCurdy" list of Pentagon acquisitions that Congress says it will terminate unless the Air Force can successfully make a case that the technology is critical to military operations This is a list of missions, operations, and projects. Missions in support of other missions are not listed independently. World War I
''See also List of military engagements of World War I
The Pentagon estimated that JASSM costs increased by $882.3 million--from $4.9 billion to $5.7 billion. Some of the added cost was attributed to upgraded features, but most of the increase, about $600 million, was to fund a "reliability improvement program" to address the performance shortfalls.
The Air Force is seeking $200 million for JASSM in the fiscal year 2008 budget, but Congress is expected to cut the request by up to 20 percent, as a result of the latest performance failures.
Shackelford characterized the current JASSM woes as "fallout fallout, minute particles of radioactive material produced by nuclear explosions (see atomic bomb; hydrogen bomb; Chernobyl) or by discharge from nuclear-power or atomic installations and scattered throughout the earth's atmosphere by winds and convection currents. from the age of acquisition reform." The design of the missile was "sound," he said in an interview. But the weapon was rushed to production, and that was when the problems started. "Not fully understanding the configuration of the fully built system has been a weakness," Shackelford said.
A Lockheed Martin spokesperson said the company's agreement to work with the Air Force to improve the reliability of the missile "acknowledges the responsibility of both parties."
When the JASSM program got under way in 1996, it was hailed as a model procurement effort because it did away with many of the traditional tests and technical specifications in order to expedite ex·pe·dite
tr.v. ex·pe·dit·ed, ex·pe·dit·ing, ex·pe·dites
1. To speed up the progress of; accelerate.
2. the development. The project went from "proposal receipt to contract" in 47 days, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Air Force charts presented at a 2003 industry conference. In those charts, the JASSM program manager noted that relaxing the standards was "controversial but effective."
The Air Force acquisition chief back then, Marvin Sambur, nominated JASSM for the David Packard David Packard (September 7, 1912 – March 26, 1996) was a cofounder of Hewlett-Packard. Born in Pueblo, Colorado, he received his B.A. from Stanford University in 1934. Afterwards he worked for the General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York. Excellence in Acquisition Awards for 2003. Sambur praised the program for producing a cruise missile cruise missile, low-flying, continuously powered offensive missile designed to evade defense systems. Although the German V-1 (1944) was a simple cruise missile, the cruise missile did not realize its potential until the 1970s, when the United States sought to "in record time" and for challenging "all processes, rules and regulations ... to eliminate non-value added processes."
That optimism has diminished considerably. Air Force officials will not predict whether the program can be salvaged, but the lessons from JASSM most certainly will be applied to future weapon systems, Shackelford said. The missile will undergo several tests after which Air Force evaluators will determine if the weapon is reliable. Top procurement officials will decide in March 2008 whether the Air Force should make the case to Congress that JASSM ought to remain in production.
The manufacturing process has to be reevaluated, said Shackelford. "It's important that we step back and look at the configuration control," he said. The contractor is not the only culprit here, he added. "It's attention to detail, government involvement--more so than we've had so far--and the realization that we as a customer have an expectation of a reliable product."
Email your comments to Serwin@ndia.org