Pentagon commands commercial solutions

DOD's new acquisition policy documents

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The Defense Department has rewritten an acquisition regulation to speed

up procurements of weapons and information systems and make them meet warfighter

needs more effectively, DOD officials announced Monday.

The two documents — DOD Directive 5000.1 and DOD Instruction 5000.2 — and the memorandum that accompanies them urge procurement officials to

look first at commercial products for purchase and ensure that there are

commercial applications for DOD systems.

On their face, the documents released Monday by undersecretary of Defense

Jacques Gansler are a belated official announcement that DOD is primarily

a technology user and not a leading technology developer.

The three documents also show the influence of the Clinger-Cohen Act

of 1996 on the oversight of the major automated information systems (MAIS)

acquisition program: The memorandum calls on procurement officials to evaluate

the requirements for each major information technology systems based on

commercial market potential.

Program managers "shall avoid imposing government-unique requirements

that significantly increase industry compliance costs," the memo states.

"Preference shall be given to the use of commercial items first and

non-developmental items second," the memo states. "The overriding concern

is to use the most cost-effective source of supply throughout a system's

life cycle."

The 5000 series memo also calls for program managers to:

* Consider leasing systems when it makes sense.

* Give incentives through performance-based contracting and the fostering

of competition between contractors.

* Conduct cost/performance tradeoff analyses as early on as possible

because the "best time" for reducing life cycle costs is early in the procurement

process.

* Review the underlying management control processes that will operate

during the procurement within six months of contract award.

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