Defense Department Releases Major Revision to Acquisition Policy
Revised Instruction Enforces Corrosion Prevention Provisions
On December 2, 2008, John J. Young, Jr., Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, approved a major revision to the DoD acquisition policy intended to reduce cost overruns. Young himself spearheaded the policy overhaul.
The new policy affects all defense acquisition programs involving weapon and information systems. It aims to ensure that key decisions about investment and prototypes for new systems are put in place before a program ever gets off the ground.
John J. Young, Jr. noted that “the directive reflects a conviction that our policies must be more disciplined and effective to ensure that results are more predictable and that we are better stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
For the first time, the DoD’s acquisition policy contains enforceable provisions related to corrosion policy and oversight. These provisions give the DoD Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office the authority to require each of the military departments to appoint a corrosion executive. In addition, the DoD Corrosion Office will assign specific responsibilities to all services for managing corrosion programs related to DoD equipment and infrastructure.
“In broad terms, we wanted to make sure that our programs were conceived, designed, and executed more effectively than before,” Senior Acquisition Analyst Skip Hawthorne told Defense Link.
“Now, if a program has not demonstrated key technologies, we will prototype them,” Hawthorne said. “As a result, we’ll have better information about how well we are doing instead of accepting assertions of capability. The key technologies must be demonstrated before we begin the engineering phase of development.”
This revision, which is the first major change to acquisition policy in more than five years, reflects the Defense Department’s determination to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its enterprise-wide acquisition business processes so it can continue to provide war fighters with the best weapons systems and support in the world.
Young noted that “the directive reflects a conviction that our policies must be more disciplined and effective to ensure that results are more predictable and that we are better stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
John G. Grimes, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration who co-signed the policy, stated that “this directive is particularly important because its sets policy guiding early consideration of the radio frequency spectrum to enable better management of competing battlefield requirements that have become a growing concern in theater.”
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Making The Splash Zone Less Vulnerable
As the owner of approximately 816 million square feet of waterfront bulkheads, the Navy is employing a novel technique to protect a particularly vulnerable section of these steel and concrete structures—the splash zone.
Sea water immersion and splash, pollution, and ultraviolet light exposure corrode the steel and concrete bulkheads at Naval Air Station in Pensacola. Photo courtesy of Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC).
Spanning from the lowest tidal mark in a given year to as many as 10 feet above the year's highest tidal mark, the splash zone easily falls prey to corrosion. In fact, the corrosion rate of unprotected steel in this area of bulkhead can exceed 30 mils per year. Not surprisingly, the splash zone frequently requires expensive maintenance or even replacement.
Traditionally, the Navy has protected the splash zone with coating systems comprising either three coats of epoxy-polyamide or two coats of coal tar pitch epoxy-polyamide. Either coating system is applied during the initial painting of steel placed in seawater immersion/splash zones. Between five to eight years of service, the coatings are in need of maintenance. However, because of the high cost and environmental requirements, it is more typical that steel members (sheet pile or support members) are left in place until replacement is required.
When maintenance is carried out, the structures are stripped to bare metal and recoated with a splash zone maintenance coating. This second application is usually good for another three years.
Given the amount of bulkhead under the Navy's purview, one can appreciate the great cost and effort needed to maintain these vital facilities. Notwithstanding these demands on Navy resources, the conventional coating systems also release pollution-generation volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous components during application when coal tar epoxies are used.
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