Special procurement lessons
Special operations forces are able to procure equipment and vehicles much faster than using the regular procurement route. They have shown that the time it takes to develop a requirement, secure funding and get a vehicle into service is vastly quicker.
Can lessons be learned from this?
In this ever-changing post-Cold War world, militaries need equipment much faster – possibly in months instead of years. Therefore it would not be amiss to suggest that procurement executives could look to SOF acquisition procedures and follow their model to get kit into service.
It is unlikely that regular army acquisition will be able to get to the rapid levels of equipment introduction into service that Special Forces achieve. This is because SF works in a much faster changing environment and they are more likely to require smaller amounts of lighter equipment as opposed to large numbers of heavier vehicles that the army needs. This means that the amount of funds requested will be less in comparison.
However, it does all comes down to the money. There has to be a way of releasing the cash to allow acquisition programmes to move forwards. Right now there is little flexibility in the system and therefore companies draw out the work in each phase to fit the budget cycle which regulates the procurement schedule rather than have a priority to get equipment into service.
Acquisition organisations need to be more streamlined to suit the requirements of the user and this means reducing bureaucracy. The mere size of army commands makes them slow and adds to the paperwork and processes that a programme needs to get through. A sprinter is going to get to the finishing line much quicker if he has fewer hurdles to jump. If the military can reform this then as seen with SOF procurement, industry will respond in kind.
See Land Warfare International for more