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DoD Officially Unveils New Software Procurement Policy

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DoD Officially Unveils New Software Procurement Policy

The Department of Defense has officially introduced its new software policy designed to provide more flexibility in acquiring different kinds of goods and services. 

The new Adaptive Acquisition Framework will put an emphasis on buying iterative software instead of waiting for the launch of fully developed custom code. Officials said the policy will allow faster delivery of capabilities to warfighters. 

DoD Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord, a past Potomac Officers Club event speaker and a 2020 Wash100 awardee, said the new procurement tools will let contracting officers focus on full development and sustainment of programs. 

“By removing procedural bottlenecks, programs are pushed to deliver with much faster cycle time," Lord said. She noted that the Air Force's Ground Based Strategic Deterrence system has already implemented the new software pathway. 

Prior to the update, DoD used a general model for acquisition that reportedly restricted how officials can procure software

Buying software previously required senior-leader approval, often leading to long wait times that delayed digital modernization efforts by years. 

The new policy is a partial implementation of the recommendations included in the Defense Innovation Board's study on software acquisition.

Congressional approval is required for some recommendations, including the “color of money” concept currently being pilot-tested. 

Stacy Cummings, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for acquisition enablers, said her office will closely help contracting officers adopt new practices as the department implements the new policy. 

Authorities to Operate will also be more quickly achieved as more parts of the military adopt similar technology development stacks, Cummings added.   

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Tags: acquisition policy Adaptive Acquisition Framework Authority to Operate code color of money Defense Innovation Board Department of Defense digital modernization Ellen Lord FedScoop POC speaker Popular Voices procurement recommendation software acquisition Stacy Cummings Wash100