Public-private group envisions 'acquisition of the future'

Kymm McCabe

ASI Government CEO Kymm McCabe says Acquisition of the Future wants to start a conversation in the acquisition community.

A group of industry and government procurement officials looking to build a new technological and procedural path for the acquisition community is spreading a wider net for participants.  

In a FOSE panel presentation on Acquisition of the Future’s aspirations, one of the drivers of the movement, ASI Government CEO Kymm McCabe, said the effort is aimed not at finding a specific solution, but in starting a conversation. For it to gain traction, the conversation that has been taking place for the last few months among a relatively small number of CIOs and industry officials has to spread more widely among the tens of thousands of government acquisition professionals.

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The group wants to come up with a common vision, terminology and developmental framework for the fragmented acquisition community at the dawn of a new operating environment. Social networking, application program interfaces, Google Glass and modular IT technologies, according to McCabe, are pushing out paper and even many Internet-based capabilities. The disruptive technologies  short-circuit more traditional paths to acquisition's future.

Innovative online services such as and technologies such as Google Glass have rippled through private industry, altering the way they do business. They have the same potential for government procurement, said McCabe. Google Glass, for example, could allow for speedier, more informed request-for-proposal writing by offering instant access to information.

She said, however, AOF isn't pushing specific technologies, but looking to gauge how they might affect acquisition  and the upcoming influx of new "digital natives" into the federal acquisition workforce. The constant influx of new technologies and a growing workforce that's familiar with them requires a new approach, she said.

"You can't reform our way through this with incremental improvements. It's an entirely new way of doing things," said McCabe. 

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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