Pentagon officials are “very close” to finishing their work on an overhaul of the official guidebook to DoD’s byzantine acquisition system, and the process led them to the conclusion that they need Congress’ help to help unwind a cumbersome maze of laws that have been layered on through decades of well-intentioned reform efforts.
The document in question is officially known as DoD Instruction 5000.02 — the key collection of guidance that describes the military acquisition process. Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, logistics and technology, has been working on a revamped version for months.
“I’ll be out very soon,” he said Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s going to emphasize tailoring even more than previous editions did. And we show people multiple models of how you can structure an acquisition program depending upon what the product is. You know, at the end of the day, the way you structure the program to develop, produce and field the product depends on what the product is and what it takes to get that job done. There’s a logic and a flow that has to be consistent with what you’re trying to accomplish. And it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all business. We do a large range of different types of things.”
That tailored approach to acquisition is consistent with the messages in the current Better Buying Power effort Kendall’s office has been leading in DoD, emphasizing that the department’s own professionals need to use their judgment to structure the right acquisition vehicle and contract type for the right job. The latest version came with the tagline: “A guide to help you think.”
Kendall says the rewrite of the instructions was needed, in part, because of several recent laws Congress has passed imposing new requirements on DoD acquisition managers. And reworking the document from scratch led his office to the conclusion that those recent legislative changes were just one more layer on a system that’s been growing in complexity for decades.
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