COTS: We Can't Afford to Do It Any Other Way
By Captain Gibson Kerr, U.S. Navy
Little did the submarine force know when it introduced commercial off the shelf (COTS) technology into its sonar systems that it was revolutionizing the way to afford, maintain, and sustain modern combat system electronics. What began as a quest for lost databases has evolved into the Navy's poster child for acquisition reform and Fleet support. But if the approach is so great, why is it not contagious? A survey of the acquisition and industry communities provides a different set of perspectives:
* "We've been doing the same thing for the past decade."
* "It's a great approach for sonar, but it doesn't apply to my program."
* "We can't afford to change our equipment that frequently."
* "COTS is not a panacea. Wait until the logistical tail catches up with their plan."