By Scott WakefieldNovember 1, 2019
The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command's Materiel Systems Organization hosted a three-day Ground Vehicle Cost Working Group Summit at the Detroit Arsenal Oct 29-31.
The fifth annual summit brought together government and industry professionals to promote cost analysis data, policy, and methodology exchanges.
This year's event focused on the status of acquisition policy updates, synthesizing and analyzing data sets, improving software maintenance, support cost data collection and estimating efforts, and industry feedback on cost reporting requirements.
The event also allowed the Army's cost and analysis experts to solicit the help of industry to improve the quality of cost reports and ensure that cost reporting is timely.
MSO continues to sponsor the summit due to the positive feedback in previous years from the community.
David Holm is the director of MSO Cost and Systems Analysis. He said, "the goal [of the summit] is to improve program cost estimates that are underpinning our budgets for [Army] programs so they are more executable, and we can make good affordability decisions."
At the summit, participants discussed cost data collection policies, and demonstrated new data environment and cost estimating tools being used across the Army's ground vehicle programs.
MSO Director, Jennifer Beffrey said, "It's important to be able to share ideas, concepts, policies, regulations, lessons-learned, everything that we're here learning through the community."
"We get to learn from each other and ultimately improve our products, policies, data, and research," said Jennifer Bowles, Director Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation's Land and Naval Systems Cost Analysis Division.
The Deputy Director for Cost Assessment in Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Dr. Richard Burke, discussed upcoming changes in the Department of Defense including, policy, acquisition, and training.
"Our strategy is trying to move toward faster technologies development and fielding of systems," Burke said.
According to Holm, the Army is in the process of pursuing large scale modernization of its weapon systems, so it's important to have accurate and complete cost analysis to help efficiently distribute budget resources across all weapon platforms.
Burke said, "The Army is morphing to try to keep up with those demands by the creation of Futures Command."
Steve Loftus, Director Cost Review Board, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Cost and Economics, weighed in how cost analysis and reporting are important to the Army as a whole.
"The Army is very interested in a standard way of looking at [cost analysis] and what we're doing with the money," he said, "it's about transparency with congress, the more transparent…we'll get less questions."
Loftus also emphasized the importance of the cost analysis community in helping articulate and define the structure of cost reporting to congress.