Deskbook should be living document

The Defense Department has the start of a good idea with its Defense Acquisition Deskbook.~

~The deskbook is an on-line compendium of DOD and federal acquisition regulations coupled with a repository of "discretionary" guidance: lessons learned document templates and other wisdom from the front lines of procurement.~

This deskbook has the potential to play a important role in DOD acquisition. As one of its central tenets acquisition reform puts a lot of stock in the judgment and innovation of individual contracting officers. The deskbook provides the means of capturing for everyone's benefit the knowledge gained from successes and mistakes.~

In time this information could emerge as a new form of institutional knowledge. The problem with relying upon the gumption of individuals is that individuals come and go. That is one reason why the government created so many rules in the first place: to ensure consistency in procurement practices as the names and faces changed.~

The deskbook can play that same role perhaps even improve on it because it will be a dynamic document that allows procurement practices to evolve. But the concept will not work if DOD allows its deskbook to stagnate - to become just a slimmer more user-friendly rule book.~

As institutional knowledge in the form of retiring DOD contracting troops continues to walk out the front door DOD needs to take the time to provide the resources to populate the deskbook and to use the information it contains.

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