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Acquisition Process Must Change

August 4, 2010
By Rita Boland
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The Army needs to fix its acquisition process and move good ideas to top leaders, according to Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, USA, vice chief of staff, U.S. Army. Gen. Chiarelli delivered the morning address of LandWarNet today via teleconference, stating that he wants the ideas people have to make Army tools better. He also emphasized repeatedly the need to change acquisitions to keep up with technology changes and the enemy. The general said that because many of the United States' current enemies have no uniform or state sponsorship, people can underestimate their strength. "We don't talk enough about how very, very good the enemy is," he stated. To carry out operations effectively against such threats the Army must push the network out to the tactical edge, meaning the edge where the warfighters are actually out operating. Gen. Chiarelli would like to see the acquisition cycle for systems reduce to four years, and to see that time become even shorter for information technology procurement. Currently, the Army requires systems to meet 41 statutory requirements before putting them into the hands of soldiers. Another key to improving the network, according to the vice chief, is for people developing products and systems to talk to one another. Gen. Chiarelli stated that the words "network" and "integration" are almost interchangeable because when someone says they want to integrate a technology they mean integrate it into the network. "The network must be symbiotic" if it is to function properly, he explained. Though some facets of perfect acquisition are out of human control-such as what technology advances will be made in the future-the Army needs a better way to take advantage of new developments. Gen. Chiarelli said success can only be achieved if all parties work together and remember that individual efforts are all made on behalf of the warfighters. The general wants the people working on projects who know the day-to-day frustrations of developing systems and other technologies to reach out to him and other leaders and explain what they need and how problems can be fixed. By flattening organizations, the Army could bring better solutions to bear more quickly, he said.

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