As the current administration heads to the finish line, political appointees are focusing on leaving a legacy in concrete accomplishments from their agendas.
But what can the acquisition community expect for the remainder of this presidential term?
We know that acquisition change will semi-repeat through authority transfers between users and membership due to legislative mandates under the National Defense Authorization Act, the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, and individual agency authorizations. The administration’s acquisition legacy will likely include initiatives in workforce professionalism, such as wider use of the Federal Acquisition Regulation’s entire tool kit and longstanding supply-chain practices, such as strategic sourcing and category management. It will also include the partial restoration of restrictive common-sense communications between government and industry, and a “nuts and bolts,” back-to-basics education policy that redevelops fundamental skills in analysis and judgment with the ultimate elusive goal to ensure “critical-thinking skills” throughout the process.
However, finding measurable improvements in significant acquisition program performance indicators or long-lasting cultural progress is difficult for sure. The acquisition workforce faces the continued reality of a risk-averse culture encouraged by multiple levels of post-game quarterbacking; a political climate fixated on punishment; lack of or challenging hiring processes; the incredibly dispersed and uncertain nature of government budgets, oversight, and management execution; and several new Executive Orders affecting socioeconomic goals.