The Cheese Has Moved: An Interview with Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski
By: Arpi Dilanian and Matthew Howard
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The acquisition and sustainability process is not working. This has been a common refrain along with multiple suggestions, organizations, re-organizations and studies. Unfortunately, the results are not moving fast enough. There are basic guidelines that need to be reviewed and implemented. The first part is the actual requirement, what is needed. The basic requirements are well known to the troops and many times is already in existence (not necessarily for major items). The second part is that the equipment needs to do what is designed to do, work well in an austere environment--with a low failure rate, and be sustainable and able to be fixed with a common tool-set at best or a multi-purpose tool at worst. It also has to be sustainable without field level support. The common refrain is that it would cost too much---only if you let it. Currently, multiple items are released on the market every 12 months--there is no reason that it cannot be done for basic equipment. Lastly, the training should be intuitive or be able to be taught fairly quickly. The utilization of data analytics and standard web base submission process that would incorporate commercially available products and manufactured in the United States. The beta test should be able to be completed within an exercise, incorporate inputs and be ready for a final testing within 90 days--let the troops find the weak points. Another option is to allow trusted organizations (hunting, outdoor, firing ranges as an example) test it out in the mountains, fields, deserts and bayous. Many patriotic Americans (to include veterans) would be glad to contribute their feedback as a service to their country. Many upstart companies can do this if they are allowed. The United States has demonstrated this can be done. We should get out of the way and make it happen.