Friday, June 26, 2009

Interview: Mr. Byun Moo-keun, Commissioner of Defense Acquisition Program Administration

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) was launched on January 1st, 2006 in order to perform more transparent and systematical tasks in defense capability improvement programs, defense industry promotion and defense material procurement. Since its establishment the execution of defense programs in Korea has become more transparent, credible and predictable by the law of the defense program.
I recently interviewed Mr. Byun Moo-keun, Commissioner of DAPA. The following are excerpts:

One of the main objectives of establishing the administration is defense industry product export. DAPA will be the forerunner for the economic rescue and the green growth policy. It will improve the systems in all areas by regulation reformation, expanding investment in the national defense R&D, nurturing and supporting advanced small/middle sized defense companies, and maximizing defense industry exports.
“DAPA plans to foster pan-governmental international cooperation along with a market expansion system to increase export. It will also support the export marketing departments of each defense industry enterprise as well as promote association with the KOTRA. The National Assembly, the government, the armed forces, and industry will concentrate all their efforts and seek distinctive export revitalization methods for each country.”
To promote an effective defense industry, DAPA operates the Integrated Project Team (IPT) which is meant to manage projects efficiently through centralized planning, budgeting, quality assurance, and technology management. A project manager is responsible for all the processes after a decision on a particular requirement until the completion of the program.
DAPA manages contract related business by making a matrix of check lists for procedures and steps from the beginning of a project as well as reinforce a follow-up management system on domestic and international acquisition to ensure the supply of quality products in an appropriate time period.
He noted that the existing test and evaluation system had inadequate legal regulations, had a vague locus of responsibility on test and evaluation for each acquisition step, and voluntarily performed test and evaluation jobs based on standards set by subjective. Therefore, it was not possible to test and evaluate all major projects in the acquisition process.
DAPA is seeking to efficiently promote the defense industry by strengthening the test and evaluation procedures for each acquisition. By establishing related statutes and support so that projects can be smoothly carried out DAPA will strengthen the objectivity and reliability of tests and evaluations.
“We operate an appointment qualification system in order to ensure the expertise of defense acquisition personnel. This system ensures that only experts find their way to each position,” he said.
"In order to sustain economic growth and develop our country's national competitiveness in this ever competing world, we should develop domestic technology first. Therefore, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, to effectively perform industry creation, production, and acquisition, will first adopt civil standards when there are two different standards between national defense and civil groups and find a way to use national defense and civil technologies in a cooperative fashion."
“What is more, by pursuing the development of joint technology of national defense and civil groups at a pan-government level, it will maximize the synergistic effect of research and development and raise the effectiveness of technology investment,” he said.
Because of recent changes in the domestic and international defense industry environment, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration will abolish it policy of defense industry protection and nurturing, he said.
“This policy weakens the competitiveness of the existing defense industry and abolishing it will help develop a reasonable defense industry based on competition.”
However, in the event that the current system becomes extremely competitive, DAPA will encourage the industry not to hoard their know-how and invested facilities. In that situation, DAPA will also establish a system that will protect small and medium enterprises with relatively weak competitiveness and duplicated investment due to over-heated competition.
He said the basic direction of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration regarding information-orientation is: to create a foundation for information-orientation to achieve the mission and vision of the Administration, to pursue the information-orientation plan of the Administration in relation to electronic government roadmap promotion, and to build a systematic and effective information system.

The full interview can be read here.