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

Senators push to reform federal program management

A bipartisan pair of Senators have introduced legislation that aims to improve how the federal government manages projects and to cut wasteful spending on poorly managed programs.

Seal_of_the_United_States_SenateSenators Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., introduced the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act, which would create a formal job series and career path for program managers in the federal government in order to improve how agencies manage projects.

The bill also requires that the Office of Management and Budget develop and adopt governmentwide standards, policies and guidelines for program and project management at federal agencies, as well as chair an interagency council on program management.

OMB would also conduct annual reviews of agency projects and programs to see if they were being managed correctly, including addressing issues identified as high risk by the Government Accountability Office.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/management/agency/2015/06/11/programs/71081260/

White House wants to build digital-savvy contracting corps

The Obama administration is building a special squad of digital-savvy contracting officers to help agencies procure technology more effectively.

U.S. Digital ServiceThe new team will be modeled on the U.S. Digital Service, a similar effort to get more technologists into the ranks of government but will be staffed by existing agency contracting officers who undergo specialized training, Anne Rung, the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing this week.

Agency contracting offices often write exhaustively detailed statements of work that are often hundreds of pages long — and ask the same of companies when they submit proposals, Rung said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2015/06/white-house-wants-build-digital-savvy-contracting-corps/115183

Learn more about the U.S. Digital Service at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/digital/united-states-digital-service 

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

4 tips for getting the most out of procurement

Public sector procurement is more complex than it was even five years ago.

Sourcing has gone global, exposing the supply chain to a greater variety of risks than what was previously imagined—conflict minerals, cybersecurity threats, international regulations and more—and the standards for spending transparency have risen tremendously, as evidenced by the adoption of the DATA Act last year.

DATA ActThe expectations for procurement have been set high. In order to meet these expectations, procurement organizations will have to break away from what they’ve always done and reconsider how they measure success. The technology, people and processes in place largely determine the success of such a transformation. Here are four actions that government agencies can take immediately to unlock the full potential of their purchasing activities:

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2015/06/4-tips-getting-most-out-procurement/114988