DOD acquisition process 'fails the mission,' congressional panel says

Defense Acquisition Reform body calls current DOD acquisitions system unacceptable

A panel convened to examine the Defense Department’s acquisition processes has finalized its recommendations for overhauling the system after concluding a yearlong investigation that uncovered major problems in DOD procurement.

The Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform, established by the House Armed Services Committee in March 2009, said in its report that DOD’s mishandling of acquisitions and procurement fails to fulfill the military’s current mission needs and contributes to massive cost overruns. The final report largely tracks an interim document released March 11.

“The panel found that while the nature of defense acquisition has substantially changed, the defense acquisition process has not kept pace,” the report stated. “As a result, the Department’s formal acquisition policy has limited application to the majority of [its] acquisitions.”

Releated story

Panel says DOD needs 'significant improvement' in managing the acquisition process

To successfully reform its approach to acquiring weapons, services and other goods, the panel recommended “significant improvements” in managing the acquisition process, developing and incentivizing the highest quality workforce, improving financial management, and maximizing the industrial base.

Other recommendations included expanding the Office of Performance Management and Root Cause Analysis, which would track acquisition workforce performance based on predetermined benchmarks and “would promote real consequences,” according to the report.

The report included recommendations for new regulations for fair and transparent acquisition workforce hiring, assignments and performance appraisal. An extension of the Acquisition Workforce Demonstration Program, which aims to improve personnel management and policies and is set to expire in 2012, was urged as well.

The panel called on DOD to reform its financial management system, and said that without improvements here, true acquisition reform throughout the department may not be possible.

Also, the panel advised that DOD get more from the industrial base by improving contracting and competitive practices, pushing for better innovation and making use of small and mid-tier bases. Panelists also moved to repeal of a rule that allows agencies to withhold 3 percent of contract payments in anticipation of taxes owed to the Treasury Department.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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Reader comments

Wed, Apr 14, 2010 Danny Sterling, VA

You are right. Government does hates small business. What they say is not what they deliver. Contract Bundling is a problem and is growing. In my industry (Office and Computer Supplies) lazy contracting officers are awarding contracts to large business to ease their work load. Politicians are worried that if they offend large business they will not get funding for the next election. Office and Computer Supplies is not rocket science. Large business funnel their business through various small companies and some of them are their own upfornt companies. Nobody is policing them and they are enjoying!!!. Nothing is going to change and government credit card buyers are being threatned to loose their card or jobs if they do not follow the rules. We as a small business are supportive of the health care our president is working hard on. If there is no small business left due to contract bundling then what is the health care going to do. President should call all the agency chiefs and let them unbundle all those contracts. Every small business shuts down means a loss of jobs for 5 people. I am ready to explain and testify to any committee and explain what is going on which everyone in politics and government knows but are in a denial mode or don't care. Our economy cannot improve and will go downwards if we do not unbundle contracts and open doors for small business to do business with the government. Few contracts out on the street and some awarded, ARMY (W9124D-09-T-0009. Only 20 companies are going to be awarded when there are 500 companies in this business. WOW!!. GSA FSSI BPA # 2QSAB-10-Q-0002. Only 12 companies --why??? again 500 companies in the business. DHS ---1st Source already awarded is good for IT Products like printers,modems, scanners, monitors, etc (which is no rocket science. DHS --Office supplies Contract awarded to 4 companies only ---why???. Air Force has a BPA for Computer and Office Supplies. Any agency you look at has an award for office and computer supplies and IT Products contract. They have mandated to a few companies (99%) large business. It is a shame at these government policies. They have named it as "STRATEGIC SOURCING" or "BEST VALUE". They should name it as "GET RID OF SMALL BUSINESS". or "NEXT ELECTION CAMPAIGN MONEY" Contract. I am sick and tired of all this. A furstrated small business and with me there are many who have no guts to open their mouth in the hope that they will get a "doggy bone" sometimes. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. I have written on your comments section and not got any response. You want me to feature on an interview ---I can do so and explain what is going on.

Mon, Apr 5, 2010

I can see retirement on the horizon!!

Thu, Apr 1, 2010

Without NETCENTS and other IDIQs, instead of cutting a task order that is competed among all IDIQ holders that specialize in DoD IT, I would have to issue a formal solicitation wit large, with an RFP suspense at least twice as long and end the end, likely receive the "due protest" and the warfighter gets squat and gets it late. Maybe more SB IDIQs are the answer.

Mon, Mar 29, 2010

Until the DoD figures out how to eliminate the mentality that dictates concern only about what happens on one's watch rather than long term objectives, money will continue to be wasted. This is not an easy problem to resolve because it requires long term, yet adaptable, planning with well-defined objectives whose dependencies and accountabilities are enforceable when the mission is constantly changing and technological advancement is virtually random. To make matters even more interesting, if the approach to fixing acquisition problems is the same as that used to roll out the new health care system - throw out the baby, the water and the tub, including the sources of the latter two items - this is going to be a very challenging experience.

Mon, Mar 29, 2010

As a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned and HUBZone Certified Small Business owner I am amazed at the lack of support DoD gives these programs (this is a generalization...there are some DoD programs that are huge supportors however they are the exception and not the rule). Like many other SDVO and/or small businesses, we do NOT want the small business programs to be treated as welfare programs however when an SDVO or Small Business reflects the best value (and often times the lowest price) and is removed from consideration or forced to partner with a large prime contractor it is clear that the system is broken. As long as DoD leadership allows for the bundling of requirements into Mandatory Use IDIQ contracts such as NETCENTS and ITES waste and abuse will continue. Three simple, logical questions need to be asked: Is this in the best interest of the deployed warfigher? Is this in the best interest of DoD? Is this in the best interest of the US Taxpayer and the US economy? When the answer to any of these questions is "no" another aquisition method needs to be considered without the need to request a waiver. Waivers should be required if the answer to any of these questions is "no" yet the contracting community and/or DoD leadership wants to continue down that path.

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