Defense acquisition: Focus on the requirement document, not the process [Commentary]


This article by GEN John Michael Loh (Ret.) reminds readers of the criticality of the requirements document to the acquisition process.

Every new administration deplores the defense acquisition system it inherits and pledges to reform it aggressively. And every administration, while trying valiantly, fails. Instead, the system becomes more and more complex and lengthy. One big reason is the focus on process, not product.

The most important, yet most overlooked product in the defense acquisition system is a succinct operational requirements document. The operational requirements document, or ORD, is the foundation of the acquisition process from concept development through system development.

However, the Defense Department’s acquisition process is so overloaded with Office of the Secretary of Defense as well as Joint Staff bureaucracy, unqualified personnel, multiple reviews and councils, and duplication of the service’s requirements organizations, the ORD gets lost. That series of processes — the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System, or JCIDS — in place since 2003, adds little value and never focuses on the ORD as the centerpiece.




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