The Defense Department just took another step toward its goal of modernizing its acquisition system.
“That, along with 5000.02, which was already signed out, really gives us the framework for how to move forward. We have a much more flexible way of doing business now codified in policy,” Ellen Lord, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment, said during the Sept. 9 Defense News Conference. “We’ve put in place middle tier acquisition where we got statute a couple years ago, we now have a way to put working prototypes very, very quickly downrange so that we can practice how to use these new technologies so that we can learn quickly so we can iterate quickly. That along with everything we’re doing in terms of digital engineering and software modernization is really changing how we do business.”
Lord said the coronavirus pandemic shone a spotlight on some of the vulnerabilities of the defense acquisition system, which created an impetus for DoD to work with the administration to fix fragility in the supply chain, like unmanned aerial systems, rare earth metals and aircraft propulsion. While other more typical areas of recent defense spending, like nuclear modernization or hypersonics, haven’t gotten as much attention, Lord said DoD has put out almost $1 billion using Title III of the Defense Production.