The Defense Acquisition System ( Das ) Essay

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As if it were not complex enough, the Defense Acquisition System (DAS) resides within a complex system. Congress, industry, and national strategy all influence and affect the acquisition process. Mass-producing the effectiveness of the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP) acquisition may tempt the amateur. However, although the unprecedented speed and strategic leader attention afforded the MRAP acquisition resulted in relative success, the process should not be used as a model for future acquisitions. The challenge of acquisition lays in difficult-to-define metrics, shifting policies, short-term leadership, and its position of a complex system within a system. First, measuring success and failure proves elusive, making identifying meaningful change difficult. Perhaps because of this fact, the rules change rapidly. Since its inception in 1971, the Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 5000 series has been “revised more than a dozen times – a change approximately once every three years.” Well-meaning and proactive defense secretaries institute changes and then leave office prior to institutionalization. Finally, due to the complexity of the system of systems involved, no single internal modification possesses the ability to maximize the acquisition process. These three factors alone make acquisition -- and acquisition reform -- a Sisyphean task. Of the three factors discussed above, strategic leadership holds the most potential to effectively influence the
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