It is well known that over 70% of the costs of major defense systems are sustainment costs. With platforms lasting longer than planned for or expected, the military services and their contractor partners are continually looking for replacement parts that are no longer in production.
This problem of obsolescence—referred to in DoD as Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages—is a chronic problem that program managers deal with everyday. Whether it is looking for alternative suppliers or reverse engineering parts to restart production, this is a major and costly challenge for DoD systems. According to one DoD estimate highlighted in the 2017-2018 whole of government review of the defense industrial base, 70% of the electronics installed in DoD systems are obsolete prior to system fielding.
Given this tremendous challenge, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Ms. Ellen Lord, signed out DoD Instruction (DoDI) 4245.15, DoD DMSMS Management Instruction, on November 5, 2020. This is first DoD-wide policy on obsolescence/DMSMS since 1974 (!) and looks to “establish and implement risk-based, proactive DMSMS management throughout the life cycle of all DoD items.” Join us a timely discussion about the new DoDI and its implications for the entire government contracting community!