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DOD Acquisition Officials Call for Private Sector-Style Procurement Strategy

Agile acquisition model

DOD Acquisition Officials Call for Private Sector-Style Procurement Strategy

Ranking acquisition officials at the Department of Defense have expressed hopes that future procurement strategies can be patterned after private industry, which deploys new technologies faster. Christopher O’Donnell, who is performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, said that the highly successful middle-tier acquisition pathway programs reflect the more dynamic approach to government buying, GovernmentCIO reported Monday.

The DOD currently has 86 active MTA programs. Of these, more than 20 are considered “major capability” and at least 71 are rapid prototyping efforts, O’Donnel said.

The official said that the Pentagon must continue to acquire software faster and with greater agility. He explained that the software pathway is very much different from Pentagon’s way of doing business since it was designed to cope with uncertainty. “The pathway is built on commercial principles like continual innovation and swift delivery,” he added.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Scott Martin, the Air Force’s mobilization assistant for acquisition integration, said the USAF has about 40 active MTA programs ranging from electronic warfare to re-engineering. The Air Force loves MTAs because they allow the department to innovate with “speed and discipline,” he added.

Martin cited as an example the new Boeing F-15EX, which made its maiden flight less than two years after development approval. The aircraft relies on open systems architecture, which allows for enhanced interoperability and a “plug-in-play of systems” to allow industry and DOD to modernize the aircraft continually.

For his part, Bradley Goodrich, deputy director for NavalX, an innovation unit serving the Navy, said that his organization’s goal is to encourage the service to solve its own problems. He said that the Navy must learn to procure new technologies faster by using the authorities given to it by Congress over the last 20 to 30 years.

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Tags: acquisition system Bradley Goodrich Christopher O'Donnell Department of Defense GovernmentCIO Media & Research middle tier acquisition NavalX Scott Martin Speaker News US Air Force US Navy