Army advances Better Buying Power

WASHINGTON (Jan. 27, 2013) -- The U.S. Army has achieved significant cost savings and cost avoidance as result of its implementation of Better Buying Power, an initiative led by the Office of the Secretary of Defense aimed at improving the management of acquisition programs, incentivizing competition, eliminating redundancy and achieving the maximum amount of savings, senior service officials explained. 

In place since 2010, Better Buying Power, or BBP, is also geared toward incentivizing innovation and productivity while improving the capabilities of the acquisition workforce and strengthening the tradecraft of acquisition services, among other things. 

"Better Buying Power has produced large savings. We're continuously looking to optimize the use of the Army's money," said Tom Mullins, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Plans, Programs and Resources. 

Some of the key tenets of the program include specific efforts to craft and implement policies which build affordability and competitive procurement strategies into the structure of acquisition programs, said Wimpy Pybus, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition Policy and Logistics. 

An integral part of the achieved savings can be directly attributed to a portion of BBP referred to as the Should-Cost/Will-Cost program; this effort encourages program managers to explore enterprising and innovative program management methods and strategies designed to gain the maximum value from dollars invested, officials said.

The "Will-Cost" is the initial baseline or expected cost of a given program or technological development, whereas the "Should-Cost" is, in essence, a lower cost achieved through successful implementation of efforts designed to improve developmental efficiency. 

The available data from the Army's Should Cost fiscal year 2012 Closeout highlight substantial successes with the BBP program since its inception. For instance, the Army achieved millions of dollars in savings with the procurement of the Enhanced Performance Round, by lowering the production unit cost of the M855A1/M856A1 lead-free 5.56mm ammunition. 

"For years we built 5.56mm ammo with a lead core with brass wrapped around the outside. It will have less impact on the environment than lead in the long run, lower cost material than lead and an improvement in performance of the round," Mullins explained. 

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