DoD News Briefing with Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Mr. Ken Krieg, from the Pentagon
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued March 15, 2007)
BRYAN WHITMAN (Pentagon spokesman): Good afternoon and welcome. It's my privilege to welcome back to the briefing room. He's been gone for about a year, he told me, since the last time he was here to talk to you -- Mr. Ken Krieg, the undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

A lot has happened in the acquisition field since he last had the opportunity to speak to you, and he wants to bring you up to date on some of the initiatives and some of the reform that's been going on in the department.

And I thank him for spending some time with us this afternoon and appreciate it.


MR. KRIEG: Greetings. Welcome. It's great to be down here. I was actually looking in my notes to figure out when I was here last, and I think it was February of last year. We had just rolled out the Quadrennial Defense Review, and for the first time in the Quadrennial Defense Review, there was a section on business process change and what we were going to try to do. And so I wanted to come back down -- and I talked to many of you here and there -- but wanted to come back down and describe for all of you what we've been trying to do in implementing those kinds of changes over the last year or so.

And I'm not sure whether or not you've seen it or whether or not you've picked it up, but we sent -- the deputy secretary sent a report over to the Congress about a month ago, which we tried to use as a reference document for all of you, for ours and others -- and you as well -- to try to show you the range of activities going on. I think we have it in hard copy.

It's actually more interesting -- this is hard for a guy from the paper industry -- it's actually more interesting electronically, because of all the links to additional information, and rather -- so I commend that to you.

I wanted to hit a couple of high points of things we have been working on over the last 12 months and what we've got laid out ahead. I had put out a set of objectives, set of goals, when I started this work about two years ago.

Goal 1: a high-performing, agile, ethical workforce, in particular dealing with those issues of -- you know, we've got about 134,000 -- one of the hard things in government, as you all know, is it depends on how you count -- but about 134,000 people in the acquisition workforce. About 85 percent of them are civilians; the remainder are military. Of the civilians, their average age is about 48 or 49, and so -- and we didn't hire many during the '90s.

So thinking through how one manages a workforce of that scale in a business that's inherently an intellectual property business -- we are; we manage the procurement of incredibly complex activities -- how do you get ready for that when you have the time to get ready for it? And so a lot of work we've been doing in Goal 1 is around that effort. We issued a strategic plan outline a year ago. We'll be issuing the second version of that with more data in it, with more specific initiatives.

And one of the challenges you have at this kind of scale is -- you know, most of the people who are hired into the Department of Defense are hired into the camps, posts and stations around America. In OSD, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics, we don't hire many people. And so how do you set a strategy that federates activity throughout the enterprise in a way that gets work done as you need it?

The second goal is strategic and tactical acquisition excellence. And you'll see a lot in the report we just sent up to the Hill. Because remember, that report was a response to what we were doing about the -- see if I can get my terms of art right -- DAPA, the Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment, yeah. The Defense Science Board, that had done some work over the last couple years, the Center for Strategic and International Studies has done a lot of work on acquisition issues. And then we put out information in the QDR, and the Congress asks us to report on that. What do we think about it? How are we doing it? And that's the nature of the report.

You'll find in the report an awful lot of material on strategic and tactical acquisition excellence.

What's strategic? That's the "what" we buy, the intersection -- and a lot of it is about the intersection of requirements acquisition, which is really schedule and risk management, and resources. And so we talk a lot about -- whether it's concept decision or the tri-chair activity of bringing those three communities together or risk-based source selection or time-defined acquisition, there's a whole bunch of efforts, some of them being experimental, some of them being policy changes, that we've got under way.

The third area in the goals for the department is focus technology to meet warfighter needs. You know, what is it -- if stealth, speed and precision defines the sort of concept of operation vectors of technology that were really framed in the '70s, what are those kinds of vectors for this next year of competition? I can't answer that question today other than to say we've begun work on it.

You see in the '08 budget some additional investments in research in things like biometrics, in things like targeting -- tracking, targeting -- locating, tracking and targeting. We keep changing the order of those acronyms. And so locating, tracking and targeting. A number of investments that we made in this last budget review aimed at the kind of strategic challenges we think we're going to have for capability over this next year of competition.

We also over the last year sponsored a Defense Science Board summer study on that; what are the vectors for this next year of competition. And the reality, much as the reality of the '70s when, you know, one would like to think that Bill Perry sat down one -- woke up one morning and said, "Gee, stealth, speed and precision is what I need to do, and therefore it's all ordered." It was a process of thinking about how you want to operate, what technology was, where did you want to go with concepts, and it was an evolutionary process to get to those kinds of vectors. We've kicked that effort off.

The fourth one is cost-effective joint logistics support for the warfighter, in particular three big chunks. People, again. We have about a million people in the supply chain writ large inside the government. The second area is that whole factory-to-foxhole of the supply chain and bringing the kinds of business process changes and measurement changes and performance changes that we've seen work well in the private sector; how do we apply it to the public sector. And then the fourth (sic) area, which, you know, we're not inventing, which we've been working at for a while, is how do you bring the principles of life-cycle management back into the acquisition and decision-making process so that you're giving birth to programs that are reliable and maintainable over time.

The fifth area is a reliable and cost-effective industrial capability sufficient to meet strategic objectives. Got a lot of data efforts under way trying to understand what are the capabilities of the market and how do we deal with it.

The sixth area: improved governance and decision-making process. A lot of that is taking the work that was birthed out of the QDR. Skip Sharp and I got tagged with responsibility for continuing the implementation of QDR efforts in what was called the IR&G, institutional reform and governance. You know, in this business we -- sometimes we say an acronym enough that we forget what the predecessors to it were. Institutional reform and governance. Skip and I co-chair that effort.

A lot of it is thinking about what is the framework -- how do we organize for thinking in particular strategic decision-making and how we integrate processes to make the kind of choices -- and we can talk about that some if you want to.

And the last one, a goal that we pulled out this year and highlighted because of the immense amount of activity that was going on inside the space was capable, efficient and cost-effective installations. With both BRAC [Base Realignment and Closure] implementation and global basing changes going on at once and really entering a period of five or six years of heavy design -- planning, design and implementation of facility changes, we felt it was important to bring that out in its own right. And so we've highlighted that, not just the implementation of those things, but in particular thinking about that whole area as a portfolio of activity.

We spend -- I guess it was -- it's -- I'm about a year or two out of date on the exact numbers, but when we did a piece of work that was a precursor to this, we spent about $44 billion a year on all the elements of facilities. Whether it's MILCON, military construction; base operating support; sustainment; all those things, taken together, is about $44 billion. It's a pretty sizable chunk of business.

And so how does one think about the numbers for -- the concept of facility health and capability over time in an integrated sense, instead of thinking about the individual elements of investment? That's another part that's inside that goal.

So anyway, I commend all that reading to you. As I said, it cascades down to a lot of information. We're always more than happy to get folks - if you're interested in these areas, to get folks to talk to you about the specifics of implementation.

But with that as a precursor, I throw it open to all of you and let's talk about what you want to talk about. (end of excerpt)


Click here to read the full transcript, including Q&A session, on the Pentagon website.

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