Current and former DoD execs rally against NDAA amendment decentralizing DoD acquisition power

Current and former Defense Department officials have taken issue with a provision in the Senate’s defense authorization proposal that shifts power away from Pentagon’s acquisition chief.

US DoD logoThe Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2016 includes a provision that would shift decision-making power on acquisition matters from the assistant defense secretary for acquisition and logistics – currently Frank Kendall – to the service chiefs.

At a July 17 Center for Strategic and International Studies panel discussion, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Alan Estevez said the shift of power will cut off the assistant defense secretary at the knees.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/current-and-former-dod-execs-rally-against-ndaa-amendment-decentralizing-do/2015-07-21

House bill makes incremental acquisition reform, Senate version makes sweeping changes

While acquisition reform provisions in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) are a first step in a multi-year transformation, the Senate’s version is much more sweeping, says a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report.

Congressional Research ServiceThe acquisition reform sections of the House and Senate versions of the fiscal 2016 NDAA have many similarities, with more than half of the provisions in the Senate bill addressing the same issues found in the House bill.

But the overall scope of the two bills is very different, says the CRS report posted by open government expert Stephen Aftergood on his Secrecy News blog.

“Taken as a whole, the House bill was not intended to be a panacea for what ails defense acquisitions,” the report says.

The CRS says it is intended to serve as an initial step in a multi-year, collaborative effort to improve acquisitions.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/crs-house-ndaa-makes-incremental-acquisition-reform-while-senate-bill-makes/2015-07-08

No more charging strippers to Uncle Sam’s plastic

Federal employees who want to gamble or frequent strip clubs for an evening of fun will have to use their own credit cards to pay for it.

PcardAn amendment included in the House-passed fiscal 2016 Defense spending bill prohibits Defense civilian workers and military personnel from using government charge cards for expenses related to “gaming, or for entertainment that includes topless or nude entertainers or participants.”

The language specifically prohibits gaming, rather than any expenses at a casino, so lodging and meals, for example, would be exempt.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., sponsored the amendment, which was adopted on voice vote. The House on Thursday passed the fiscal 2016 Defense spending bill. The full Senate has not yet considered its fiscal 2016 Defense appropriations legislation.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/management/2015/06/no-more-charging-strippers-uncle-sams-plastic/115174

See related story at: Senators Want GSA to Catch Feds Who Use Plastic at Strip Clubs

Military chiefs say they’re often blindsided by acquisition problems

Interviews with 12 current and former military service chiefs reveal strong dissatisfaction with their Pentagon acquisition colleagues, who too often change the requirements for weapons systems or demand additional capability, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

pentagon-seal“Some current and former service chiefs said that because they lack visibility into programs, they are unable to influence trade-offs between requirements and resources,” said the watchdog in a report released Thursday. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps chiefs said they are “frequently caught by surprise when cost, schedule, and performance problems emerge in programs.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/defense/2015/06/military-chiefs-say-theyre-often-blindsided-acquisition-problems/115177

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