Letter: National Defense Authorization Act offers no acquisition solution

Regarding "Military to turn more officers into acquisition": Military acquisition is definitely in crisis. But the new National Defense Authorization Act offers no solution. Here are the facts as I see them everyday:

1. Every military agency seems to be operating or standing up its own little acquisition office and/or IDIQ for routine acquisition. This proliferation needs to stop and get rolled back because it has depleted the acquisition force pool. Somehow, the Defense Department and congressional staffers seem to think that more money and more skilled people are always attainable. Outsourcing and consolidating with General Services Administration services and in-place vehicles will allow consolidation of existing resources and better use of the limited new resources that can be generated.

2. The federal acquisition line of business simply does not exploit Internet technology. It abuses it! There are too many systems and for not one good reason. This will not be corrected until the routine acquisition line of business is consolidated under a single agency.

3. Congressional meddling results in so many layers of rules that result in so many varied interpretations that no acquisition official can ever be sure they won't be ultimately "disgraced" by any given signature. On top of that, every new degree of self-preservatory process that acquisition offices implement results in new costs in time and money for everyone involved. Earth to Congress: We have no more money, and time is money — and in war, sometimes it's blood. The fix for this is less congressional oversight and a mild dose of executive branch leadership and management to reorganize and rationalize the regulations.

Federal acquisition is a national disgrace. The causes exhibit the whole spectrum of sin from ineptitude to bureaucratic politics to corrupt culture. And I am afraid the solutions are in the rear-view mirror getting smaller. Anyone care to start turning this big ocean liner around before it hits the ice?

Anonymous


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