After spending the last three years trying to revamp the defense acquisition system, Congress is getting some feedback from the military services on how the reforms are faring in action. The answer is “pretty well.”
The military service acquisition chiefs headed for Capitol Hill March 7 with a report card for House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who has introduced major changes to the acquisition system ranging from reducing paperwork for program managers to creating an online marketplace for commercial items.
“We have enacted literally hundreds of changes to the law designed to improve agility, streamline processes, remove cumbersome statutory requirements, and foster greater commercial industry participation in the defense sector. We have also augmented authorities to support rapid prototyping and fielding, the use of Other Transaction Authority, as well as engagement with non-traditional contractors, all intended to accelerate innovation during a time when, as Secretary Mattis testified last month, ‘our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare – air, land, sea, space, and cyber,” Thornberry said during his opening remarks.
A lot of the reforms have taken authority from the top tiers of the Defense Department and pushed decision making down closer to the warfighter.