DoD components’ fragmented SATCOM purchases needlessly increase costs, says GAO

Defense Department components are breaking rules by independently buying commercial bandwidth for satellite communications, which is costing the DoD money, according to a July 17 Government Accountability Office report.

GAO-GovernmentAccountabilityOffice-SealIn the report, GAO says that historically, commercial satellite communications, or SATCOM, were used only to augment military capability, but DoD has become increasingly reliant on commercial SATCOM to support military operations.

The DoD requires that all of its components procure commercial SATCOM through the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, but GAO found that some components are independently procuring SATCOM to meet their individual needs.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/dod-components-fragmented-satcom-purchases-needlessly-increase-costs-says-g/2015-07-21

3 ways to make government a smarter shopper

It is time to rethink federal acquisition, particularly as we move into a new era of governing—one that is focused on delivering public service for the future. 

There is a groundswell of energy around making procurement a more efficient and outcomes-driven process.

American Flag 2Forward-looking agencies are not simply improving the acquisitions function, they are strategically aligning acquisitions with the organizational strategy, creating holistic business units focused on a highly engaged workforce, total cost of ownership and predictable outcomes.

Taking three major steps can help agencies fundamentally transform federal acquisition.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2015/06/3-ways-make-government-smarter-shopper/115798/

White House objects to Defense bill contracting provision empowering service chiefs

In a Tuesday (June 2, 2015) statement threatening a veto of the Senate Defense authorization bill, the White House objected chiefly to off-budget war funding and the continuing of sequestration.  But it also took aim at lawmakers’ plans to empower the military service chiefs in weapons acquisition and at smaller provisions affecting the contractor community.

US Capital 2As both chambers of Congress begin floor consideration of the $612 billion fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the veto threat “strongly” objected to a Senate provision in section 843 designed to alleviate procurement delays prompted, as the Armed Services Committee report put it, by “multiple, duplicative reviews within the Office of the Secretary of Defense and services.” The bill would decentralize decision making on weapons system milestones for service-unique programs and limit documentation of approvals.

The administration called that plan “inconsistent with the secretary of Defense’s exercise of authority, direction, and control over all of the DoD programs and activities.  Since DoD’s founding, the secretary of Defense has served as the principal assistant to the president in all matters relating to DoD and subordinated the departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to the secretary’s authority.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2015/06/white-house-objects-defense-bill-contracting-provision-empowering-service-chiefs/114382

Top Army contracting official says oversight is too burdensome to promote cutting edge technology

The Defense Department acquisition process has become burdensome, leaving the Army behind in technology development, said Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology at an April 21 Center for Strategic and International Studies event.

Heidi Shyu,  Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology
Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology

Since 2011, the Army research, development and acquisition account declined at a rate twice as fast the Army budget declined, Shyu said. RDA makes up 18 percent of Army topline budget. That’s $23.1 billion of the total $126.5 billion budget. About four years ago, RDA made up 23 percent of the topline, Shyu said.

“We’ve definitely taken our hit,” she said.

But even with that, the DoD and Congress could do more to help promote development of the most advanced technology, Shyu said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/top-army-contracting-official-says-oversight-too-burdensome-promote-cutting/2015-05-04

DoD stresses cybersecurity in acquisition reform update

The Defense Department is focusing part of its acquisition overhaul on cybersecurity, according to new guidance.

Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall on Thursday issued instructions for implementing Better Buying Power 3.0, the third version of an efficiency directive originally introduced in 2010. The directive aims to increase productivity and reduce costs in DOD technology and logistics. Specific strategies include using commercial technology and encouraging more prototyping and experimentation, among other approaches.

Better Buying Power (BBP) is based on the principle that continuous improvement is the best approach to improving the performance of the defense acquisition enterprise. The evolution from BBP 1.0 to BBP 2.0 was based on the premise that emphasis would shift as initiatives were put in place, experience was accumulated, data was collected and analyzed, and conditions changed. BBP 3.0 continues that approach with a shift in emphasis toward achieving dominant capabilities through innovation and technical excellence.
Better Buying Power (BBP) is based on the principle that continuous improvement is the best approach to improving the performance of the defense acquisition enterprise. The evolution from BBP 1.0 to BBP 2.0 was based on the premise that emphasis would shift as initiatives were put in place, experience was accumulated, data was collected and analyzed, and conditions changed. BBP 3.0 continues that approach with a shift in emphasis toward achieving dominant capabilities through innovation and technical excellence.

The update includes specific plans to strengthen cybersecurity. Though DOD is already working to improve military system cybersecurity, “from concept development to disposal,” the instructions added, “much more needs to be done.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/defense/2015/04/dod-stresses-cyber-acquisition-mandate/109885