Fact file: DoD Acquisition Process

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The Department of Defence (DoD) has an intricate acquisition process to vet the need for any given buy, ensure the integrity of the process and carefully scrutinise all contractors.

Taken from a presentation by former Defence Materiel Division chief director of acquisition, Major General Otto Schür, to the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Defence last year, the reports, each of which must be approved by a succession of forums, are a:

  • Required Operational Capability,

  • Preliminary Study,

  • Staff Target,

  • Functional study,

  • Staff Requirement,

  • Project Study, and a

  • Project Study Report leading to a decision to buy off-the-shelf (OTS) or develop a solution.

In the case of a decision to develop a solution, as in the case of Project Acrobat, the acquisition of a new 60mm mortar for the SA Army infantry – currently underway – four more studies follow, namely a:

  • Development Study

  • Development Plan

  • Acquisition Study

  • Acquisition Plan

These reports and studies are vetted by a number of bodies to ensure the product or system selected meets a legitimate strategic or other need, was selected fairly and was properly contracted for.

Forums that take an interest matching need with products are the command councils of each of the services (Army Council, Air Force Council, etc.) as well as the Operational Staff Council of the Joint Operations Division, the Military Council (MC) and the SA National Defence Force’s Defence Staff Council (DSC).

Process integrity is assured by the Armaments Acquisition Control Board chaired by the Chief of the Defence Materiel Division, the Armament Acquisition Steering Board, chaired by the Secretary for Defence and the Armament Acquisition Council (AAC), chaired by the Minister of Defence.

State arms acquisitions agency Armscor has the task of issuing tenders and adjudicating bids received. The bids as well as vendors are scrutinised by several bodies before being approved by the Armscor Board sitting as a tender board. This input, as well as that of the DSC and AAC is then presented to the Council on Defence (CoD) for approval. The DoD’s 2004 Annual Report said the council, created by sections 43 and 44 of the Defence Act of 2002 was its “highest decision-making body”, and is chaired by the minister. The DSC exists in terms of sections 45 and 46 of the Act and is co-chaired by the Chief of the SANDF and the Defence Secretary. The MC deals with “high-level military operational issues” and is chaired by the CSANDF.

“Cardinal” projects graduate from the CoD to Cabinet for decision via an interdepartmental committee of directors general and a ministerial committee. “Cardinal” projects are those deemed to have political repercussions, strategic implications involve substantial numbers or high cost.

In the case of the SA Army, project studies and reports are approved as follows:

DoD acquisition process

Report

SAAAC

AC

OSC

MC

AACB

AASB

AAC

IDC/Mincom

Cabinet

ROC

PS

?

ST

FS

?

SR

PSt

?

PSR

DS

?

DP

AS

?

AP

PPCR

FPCR

Colour code:

  • Red: All projects

  • Blue: Cardinal projects

SAAAC SA Army Acquisition Council

AC Army Council

OSC Operational Staff Council (Joint Operations Division)

MC Military Council (SANDF)

AACB Armaments Acquisition Control Board

AASB Armaments Acquisition Steering Board

AAC Armaments Acquisition Council

IDC Interdepartmental Committee (Directors General)

Mincom Minister’s Committee

ROC Required Operational Capability

PS Preliminary Study

ST Staff Target

FS Functional Study

SR Staff Requirement

PSt Project Study

PSR Project Study Report

DS Development Study

DP Development Plan

AS Acquisition Study

AP Acquisition Plan

PPCR ?

FPCR ?

System complexity

Level

System

Responsible

Party

Explanation

1

Materials/processes

Industry

Raw materials, etc.

2

Components

Industry

Chips, cogs, etc.

3

Product sub-system

Industry

Turrets, radars, engines, etc.

4

Product

Industry

Ships, aircraft, etc.

5

Product system

Armscor

e.g. frigate with ASW helicopter

6

User system

SANDF

e.g. above with crew, support and training institutions

7

Combat Grouping

SANDF

e.g. an air-naval task force

8

Operational force

SANDF



e.g. a joint force