Process and Communication Serving as Catalysts

for Successful Capability Management in the Department of Defence



By Maj Jason Povey, SANDF
ARMSCOR, South Africa

Prof. André Watkins. D.Phil., D.Com., Ph.D
Cranefield College, South Africa

Prof Jan A. Meyer, PhD
North West University: Business School, South Africa



Given the current economic conditions in the world and, specifically, in South Africa, all organisations are trying to focus on saving costs and  particularly getting more for less with decreasing budgets. The way to start achieving this difficult task is to streamline processes and communication within organisations so as not to have unnecessary or fruitless expenditure. The prominent research question that has been investigated is, “Can the current process for acquiring, integrating and implementing new weapon systems be streamlined and communication improved in order to ensure effective operational capabilities, thus allowing the DOD to fulfil its mandate successfully?” The research conducted is focused on an applied research paradigm; it has been designed to apply its findings to solving a specific, existing problem. Applied research, furthermore, involves the application of existing knowledge to improve management practices and policies. While the research is empirical by nature, the phenomenological paradigm serves as a basis for the research. As a result, the type of data, which is used to support the research findings, is qualitative. Action research serves as the research method. A total of 11 questionnaires was distributed, all of which were returned. The following main recommendations were made, based on the research:

  • Lack of Capability Manager – A capability manager will be responsible for the main activities:
  • The Need for a Capability Centre of Excellence – This centre of excellence would allow for central command and control over all activities relating to capability management, and, in this way, would improve communication and the consolidation of effort.

Keywords: Process, communication, capability management, Military, centre of excellence


For the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to carry out its functions, the availability of appropriate armaments is essential. On a governmental level, the national security strategy and the defence review amongst other things provides guidelines to the Department of Defence (DOD) to develop policy, doctrine and strategy to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. The applicable strategies developed will require possible re-structuring and re-planning within the DOD.

Armaments are obtained through a process of armaments acquisition. The acquisition projects are managed and executed by the Defence Matériel Division (DMD) with the view to improving the battle preparedness of the DOD by way of the addition of new main equipment or by upgrading existing main equipment.

Together with the applicable DOD project officers appointed to execute the acquisition projects for the DOD, the DOD makes use of Armscor as its acquisition agent, ultimately to assist in providing a level 5 product system to satisfy the operational need as defined. This product system must, however, be delivered and integrated into the level 6 user environment for use in addressing the following areas (commonly known as “POSTEDFITB”):

  • Personnel (all people within the Arms of Service, both military and civilian, responsible for operation, maintenance and repair of the product system);
  • Organisation (flexible functional groupings with an appropriate balance of competency, structure and command and control to support the product system);
  • Supply and support (the supply of commodities and products as required for the execution of military operations, which includes warehousing of items of supply, infrastructure and support services required to ensure the availability of equipment, wherever deployed and employed);
  • Training (technical and operational training to users to ensure the effective use of the product system);
  • Equipment (the physical equipment designated to enhance military power);
  • Doctrine (encapsulating regulatory framework, strategies, policies and procedures, principles and other related prescripts justifying the existence of Arms of Service capabilities and readiness);
  • Facilities (encapsulating buildings, structures, property, equipment, training areas, civil engineering works through life support infrastructure and utilities necessary to support capabilities, both at static and operationally deployed locations);
  • Information technology (encapsulating defence intelligence, information, data and data processing systems, including computer applications, manual information systems, data and information content, timeliness, presentation, format, reliability and validity, data correlation and fusion);
  • Technology (encapsulating commercial and/or military technologies required, including research and development, technology growth paths, cycles and trends, technology reliability, affordability, cost effectiveness, technical opportunities and risks); and
  • Budget (encapsulating and relating to the planning, identification and allocation of funds to finance acquisition and operations during the life cycle).

The process of identifying, developing, acquiring and using the weapon systems involves various role players who work somewhat in isolation and where each has his/her own roles and responsibilities. DMD develops and acquires the specific capability determined as a shortcoming or new requirement by the applicable user, while the User System Manager (USM) is the person responsible for the effective utilization of the weapon system through its life cycle once it has been delivered. Product System Management (PSM) aids the USM in mastering the systems management approach to SANDF equipment over the total life cycle of the equipment.


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How to cite this paper: Povey, J., Watkins, A., Meyer, J. A. (2018). Process and Communication Serving as Catalysts for Successful Capability Management in the Department of Defence; PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue IX – September.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/pmwj74-Sep2018-Povey-Watkins-Meyer-process-and-communication-featured-paper.pdf

About the Authors

Maj Jason Povey, SANDF

ARMSCOR, South Africa



Jason Povey, MComPM, is currently a project officer in the Defence Matériel Division where he is responsible for the execution of 2 Acquisition Projects within the South African Department of Defence since 2007, and holds the military rank of Major. He started his military career in 1992 where he completed his National Service. He then enrolled in an apprenticeship in 1995 and qualified as a Radar Artisan in 1998. He later was appointed as the Squadron Commander at 3 Electronic Workshop in the SA Army Signal Formation, looking at the technical maintenance and repair functions for all Radio and Electrical products and systems.  He holds a MComPM from Cranefield College of Project and Programme Management in Pretoria (2014), and a National Diploma in Engineering Studies at the Tshwane South College in Pretoria (2006). Jason can be contacted at [email protected]


Prof. André Watkins. D.Phil., D.Com., Ph.D

Cranefield College, South Africa



Professor André Watkins holds major tertiary qualifications in Applied Mathematics, Engineering, Computer Science and Economics. Most of his working life was spent in the USA, where he served as technical operations director for a number of American institutions. Since 2009 he serves as head of research for a large German tertiary institution and holds the title Professor for Operations Management and Information Technology. In addition, on an ongoing basis, he serves as technical director and as consultant to the European technology industry. He can be contacted at [email protected].


Prof Jan A. Meyer, PhD

North West University: Business School
South Africa



 Jan Meyer is an Associate Professor and the Deputy Director of the NWU Business School; North West University, responsible for coordinating Teaching and Learning for the School. He completed his South African Air Force career (21 years) as the Logistics Coordinator, AFB Swartkop with the rank of Colonel. He then joined Xcel IT as a Project Manager on logistics projects for a period of 7 years moving on to the academia as a Senior Lecturer at Monash (SA) School of IT. After and moving to Milpark Business School and the IIE, finally taking up a position at North West University GSB&GL in 2012. He was Acting Director of the GSB&GL until the unitary school (NWU Business School) came about and appointed the Deputy Director in April 2018.

He holds a PhD from the University of Pretoria (2002), Masters in Business Leadership from UNISA (1995), Certificate in Logistics Management from the University of Pretoria (1991) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science (UNISA, 1990). He also completed the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education at Monash (Melbourne, 2006). His research interests include the Project Management, Supply Chain Management and Data Security. Other fields of interest centre on ICT4D, Information Knowledge Management, e-Governance and e-Government as well as issues in the public sector.  Prof Meyer has published in peer reviewed journals in the above fields. Prof Meyer is also on the editorial committee of accredited journals and conferences.

Prof Meyer can be contacted at [email protected]