December 1, 2012  

Designed to sell

To DoD’sacquisition policymakers, who are launching the latest in a long series of reforms meant to bring costs down. Dubbed Better Buying Power 2.0, the package contains one particularly interesting facet: Arms and defense systems should be engineered with exports in mind.

This means designing systems that can be easily altered to, say, conform to International Traffic in Arms Regulations or to replace U.S.-only cryptography systems with those of the purchasing government. The marginal cost of adding this design parameter should more than be justified by the time, effort and money saved when it comes time to retrofit systems for export. This should help the Foreign Military Sales effort, which seeks to promote interoperability with allies and potential coalition members, and, to the extent that it boosts sales, provide economies of scale to the Pentagon’s own purchases.