Army program signals future of recent acquisition reforms, official says

Government overseers question whether Army officials will sucessfully carry out the reforms on buying weapons systems.

An official of the Government Accountability Official today pinned future of recent acquisition reform laws and policies on how the Army applies them to an innovative combat vehicle program.

The Army is preparing to start a new acquisition program by evaluating contractor proposals for technology developments for a new ground combat vehicle (GCV). Army officials appear to be embarking on a more knowledge-based program than previously planned. And they intend to concentrate on costs and technical maturity, according to testimony from GAO.

How they put those principles into operation may reflect the quality of acquisition reforms from the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act and other laws and policies, Michael Sullivan, director of acquisition and sourcing management at GAO, told the House Armed Services Committee’s Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. (Watch the hearing)


Related stories:

Defense acquisition: Lost in the fog of war?

Air Force to treat networks as weapons systems in cyber warfare


“If GCV does not measure up to the standards in law and in policy, yet is approved and wins funding, it will be a setback to acquisition reform,” Sullivan said.

So far, GAO overseers have questions on whether the Army has clearly defined the internal roles and responsibilities for the managers for the program, he said.

“The decisions made on the program will be symbolic from that standpoint,” Sullivan said.

Army officials have to ask if they need for such a program and if they can get contractors to fulfill the program requirements before the technologies are outdated. Officials also need to ask whether the vehicle can be built to specifications based only on mature technology and thereby avoiding risky, uncertain innovations to build the machine, he said.

Sullivan suggested Army officials have another important decision regarding the development phases of producing new technology — a key part of the acquisition reforms. Officials must decide if they can learn enough through the technology development phase to build the vehicle in the Milestone B, the phase in which the vehicle is engineered and manufactured.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group