The Air Force is kicking off a series of targeted acquisition initiatives that its leaders hope will bring in more competition, cut out internal bureaucracy and ultimately lead to faster, cheaper procurements.
Deborah Lee James, the secretary of the Air Force, announced the plans under an overall banner she dubbed “Bending the Cost Curve.” She described the initiative as a series of actions that are complementary to DoD’s Better Buying Power initiative — but more specific and tailored than the DoD-wide project.
James said the changes, which the service developed after a months-long series of roundtables with industry groups, will help the Air Force do a better job of communicating with its existing vendor base, welcoming new firms into the fold and removing bureaucratic processes that seem to serve little purpose other than to slow things down.
“We are simply too slow in all that we do,” she told the Atlantic Council Wednesday evening. “Here’s one horrifying factoid: We currently average 17 months to award a contract in situations where we already know there’s only one supplier who can do the work.”
To tackle costs on its major systems, the Air Force will institutionalize a new program that will attempt to make price more of an independent variable in the service’s decisions about precisely what it wants its weapons systems to do.
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