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Carter: Premier Acquisition Award Supports World’s Best Fighting Force

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, February 19, 2016 — Three teams that have received David Packard Excellence in Acquisition awards are helping ensure that future defense secretaries will continue to lead the finest fighting force the world has ever known, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said here today.

At the same ceremony, hosted by Carter and Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, two other teams received the department’s Should-Cost and Innovation Award.

The Packard award is the department’s premier acquisition award that recognizes organizations and teams whose programs have achieved acquisition excellence, efficiency and productivity.

The award was first given in 1997 in honor of David Packard, a deputy defense secretary during the Nixon administration, and co-founder and chairman of the Hewlett-Packard Co., a global information technology company based in Palo Alto, California, in an area now known as Silicon Valley.

Better Buying Power

Carter, who worked with Packard, said that when the electrical engineer joined the Defense Department, “he brought with him not only management expertise and creative ideas about cost savings, but also the culture of innovation from which he had come. That spirit is what underpinned our Better Buying Power thinking from the very beginning.”

In 2010, when he was undersecretary of acquisition, technology and logistics, Carter and Kendall, at the time ATL principal deputy undersecretary, launched Better Buying Power to improve the department’s acquisition process. The initiative is now in its third iteration.

Excellence in Acquisition

“Our 2015 Packard Award recipients have done some pretty amazing things,” Carter said, and described the teams’ achievements.

The Space-Based Infrared System Geostationary Earth Orbit 5/6 team saved more than $1 billion in purchasing and modernizing satellites that are critical to U.S. protection from strategic and theater ballistic missile threats, he said.

The Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar team replaced five legacy radar systems with a single solution that better protects Marines in the field, while saving more than $334 million, the secretary said.

And the Joint Program Office’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicles team is delivering tactical vehicles strong enough to meet the Army’s protection requirements and the Marine Corps’ mobility requirements, he said.

Should Cost and Innovation

Carter said he also was honored to recognize the two recipients of the Should-Cost and Innovation Award.

“Should cost is a term I coined with Frank [Kendall] … as a way of highlighting the importance for all program managers –- on the government and industry teams -– to understand thoroughly every single item and … to make sure they know what each part should cost,” the secretary explained.

By doing so, he added, the 2015 Should-Cost Award recipients have saved a tremendous amount of money for the taxpayer.

The Air Force Materiel Command’s Armament Directorate saved $694 million while equipping U.S. warfighters with war-winning airpower capabilities, Carter said.

“They’ve fostered a culture for a 1,800-person organization in which an innovative idea from one program can now be immediately shared and replicated across 83 other programs,” he added.

And the E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office built a software platform in its spare time to manage should-cost initiatives for products that extend the Navy’s eyes, ears and logistics capabilities.

 “Through this tool,” Carter said, “they’ve secured $500 million in savings, with the added benefit of creating the capability to dial out obsolescence before it happens.”

Superior Products, Better Prices

Near the end of the ceremony, Carter thanked all the teams in the audience.

“Thanks for your professionalism, your dedication to our warfighters and our taxpayers, and for your inspirational ingenuity in delivering superior products at better prices -- that’s what it’s all about,” he added.

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinDoDNews)