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By Scott R. Gourley

“Specifically we reduced the number of waveforms from 32 down to 9. We reduced the number of form factor radios from 26 down to 13. And in some of the form factor radios we reduced the number of channels.”

The US Department of Defense has made a number of significant revisions in its acquisition strategy for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS). The new strategy was unveiled on 3 May by Mr. Dennis Bauman, Joint Program Executive Officer for JTRS.

Previewed as a discussion of “the program’s way ahead strategy to realistically deliver JTRS communications capabilities to the warfighter at lower cost, on schedule and within acceptable performance risk,” Bauman’s briefing broke a year-long public silence in JTRS program briefings.

“We have been not giving interviews since I became involved in the program, which was about a year ago,” he noted. “And the reason is because we have been assessing and evaluating various options and strategies going forward. So anything prior to today would have really been ‘pre-decisional’. And, as such, it would have led to lots of speculation, which may not have turned out to be how it actually came down. So I’m in a position today to be able to give you this interview and to openly share information.”

According to Bauman, the program assessment and evaluation process was waiting on “key alignment of three elements.”

“And those three things are: Clearly defined initial requirement, which we are now calling ‘Increment 1′ of JTRS; Budget alignment that would effectively support the development of that initial requirement; and Acquisition Direction in the form of an Acquisition Decision Memorandum(ADM),” he said.

The final element, the ADM, was reportedly signed on 31 March.

Bauman noted that the first JTRS “stakeholders’ meeting” was held approximately two weeks later “to openly and publicly engage all of the stakeholders within the DoD on JTRS and to give them a very firm idea on the direction of where we are going and where JTRS is executing as an enterprise.”

According to Bauman, establishment of the office of JTRS JPEO was prompted by several events over the last two years, including program review reports prepared by the General Accountability Office (GAO) and resulting Congressional language.

“And based on reports and Congressional language, DoD was told to centralize the management of JTRS and make it more effective. And up to that point it lacked a strong centralized management structure. It was composed of five very service-centric ‘Clusters,’ programs called ‘Clusters,’ and they were producing the hardware upon which we would port software waveforms to instantiate a working radio,” he said.

As a result of that guidance, then Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics USD AT&L) Michael Wynne signed out an

Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) that stood up the Joint PEO in February 2005. All services were invited to nominate candidates for the new office. Bauman, who was the Navy’s nomination, also serves as the Navy’s Program Executive Officer for C4I and Space.

“The bottom line is that it was widely recognized, both in Congress and DoD, that a strengthening and centralization of the management and an enterprise approach was required to effectively move forward with JTRS,” Bauman said.

The ADM signed in February 2005 provided the JPEO with full directive authority over all five hardware Clusters as well as the Joint Program Office that was developing the waveforms.

“And there were some specific deliverables out of that ADM, including a very narrow timeframe for me to assess the Clusters; beginning with Cluster 1, which was the one that was perceived to be most difficult and most troubled,” Bauman added.

Bauman said that the JPEO stood up with four strategic goals: Assessing the status of the total program; Developing and gaining approval for realistic set of requirem

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