COMNAVSEA Outlines Sea Basing Prerequisite

Monday, March 28, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Vice Adm. Phillip Balisle, Commander Naval Sea Systems Command, outlined prerequisites for acquiring a sea base during a panel discussion Wednesday at the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space Expo.

The discussion, entitled "Ensuring Access Through Focused Acquisition," also featured comments by The Honorable John J. Young, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition; Vice Adm. Walter B. Massenburg, Commander, Naval Air Systems Command; and Brig. Gen. William D. Catto, Commanding General, Marine Corps Systems Command.

Noting that naval access in the 21st century will depend heavily on the sea base, Balisle listed five prerequisites that he said were "critical to allow us to focus our acquisition efforts to efficiently and effectively deliver the force that will assume access in a most unpredictable world."

The first prerequisite he identified was thoroughly articulating the requirement. "Not in general terms, but in the granular detail that permits program managers to establish meaningful specifications, translate them into effective contracts, and make appropriate program trade-offs to support desired objectives," he said. Balisle advised caution when tempted by evolving technologies. "Chasing the rainbow is an expensive, time-consuming lifestyle. Moreover, perilous few rainbows are ever caught," he said.

Articulation of the requirement is critical in order to achieve program stability, which Balisle named as the second prerequisite. "This experienced audience knows all too well the consequences of program instability due to budget reprogramming, requirements creep, and the unrelenting desire to continuously chase that latest technological bell or whistle," he said. "Many noteworthy efforts to incorporate business efficiencies can be offset by the high cost of program instability," he added.

Contracting was the third prerequisite. It involves contracting in creative, innovative ways that serve the combined interests of the government, the taxpayer, and the industrial partners that provide the products.

Balisle noted an urgent need to dramatically reduce procurement timelines in his fourth prerequisite. "The modus operandi of an opponent who relies on the purchase in the commercial marketplace of off-the-shelf, high tech, asymmetric capabilities, necessitates we make rapid, measurable progress in reducing the overhead and time to execute our program deliveries," he said.

The last acquisition prerequisite he identified was cost-effective delivery of warfighting capabilities while concurrently shaping the industrial base so that it can provide the state-of-the-art tools to the warfighter. "This cannot be left to chance and must be integral to our acquisition process," he said. Sea-Air-Space 2005 was held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. March 22 through March 25. The Navy League-sponsored event was billed as the largest maritime exposition in the world.

(Source: Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs)

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