The US Air Force is launching a wave of new initiatives aimed at bringing down the cost and time associated with acquiring new technologies, service secretary Deborah Lee James announced Wednesday.
The initiatives are bundled together under the banner of “Bending the Cost Curve,” a program title that comes with its own logo and the requisite BTCC acronym. The goal is to work more closely with industry in order to find solutions that work for both sides, James said during an event hosted at the Atlantic Council here in Washington.
“We have got to stop spending more and more in order to get less and less, so what we have to do is bend that cost curve,” James said.
As an example of how slowly the acquisition system moves, James noted that the average time to award a sole-source contract is 17 months, something she called a “horrifying fact.”
“We in the Air Force — and I can say this broadly across the Department of Defense as well — we are way too slow in all that we do,” James said.
The BTCC plan is aimed at addressing both those issues. It is divided into three target areas — enhancing interactions with industry, expanding competition for programs among both traditional and non-traditional industry partners, and improving the service’s internal acquisition processes.
James laid out the first big steps being taken in each of those categories during her speech.
In the “enhancing interactions” category, the service is launching a Cost Capability Analyses process, which will facilitate the flow of information back and forth between industry and the service. James held up a hypothetical example where a future jet may have a requirement for a 500 MPH speed, but industry could come back and say if the engine speed goes down to 450 MPH, it can save millions.