Good-bye, LSI?

The House version of the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 1585), Section 806, abolishes contracts for lead system integrators (LSIs) commencing Oct. 1, 2011. An LSI is “a prime contractor for the development or production of a major system,” and they have figured prominently on large projects such as the Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) and the Navy’s littoral combat ship. The argument is that the services have had and can rebuild a cadre of acquisition professionals who can provide program oversight and system integration. Not so, challenges one retired senior officer familiar with the issue. He says the LSI came from the “demonstrated lack of ability of the government to effectively manage increasingly complex weapons programs.” He notes that DoD learned this from the space program. He also says it is unlikely the government will ever “possess the numbers of skilled technical personnel of the caliber required to effectively manage” such complex and costly programs. No such language appears in the Senate mark-up. Sources say current LSI contracts, such as the one for FCS, should not be affected.

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