September 27, 2013
Air Force officials are working to develop an “effective” procurement model for buying equipment and services related to activities in the cyber domain, says Richard Lombardi, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition integration.
Too often, technology advances at a pace for cyber tools far faster than the Pentagon’s methodical process to procure traditional weapon systems can accommodate. Aircraft often take a decade or longer to field. “The budget process just doesn’t work for it,” Lombardi told a breakfast group hosted by the Air Force Association in Washington.
This is not a new goal. Military and industry officials have espoused a need for a special, rapid acquisition process for cyber tools for years.
Lombardi says a key will be the ability to “get within the budget cycle” so that service officials can quickly allocate money when needed without having to wait for approvals.
Officials are also looking at incremental deliveries of technologies, or how to “spiral things out” as opposed to a “big bang” delivery, Lombardi says. Spiral acquisition for traditional weapon systems proved problematic. In the case of the Global Hawk, the Air Force’s poster child for spiral acquisition, the program’s requirements and cost grew too big and configuration control became a problem.
Lombardi offered no timeline for this establishment of a new cyber procurement model.