Acquisition reform: Increasing competition, cutting costs, and out-innovating the enemy
The Department of Defense (DoD) acquisitions process has been called outdated, under-resourced, and unnecessarily confusing–among other things. Given Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s recent service as DoD’s chief operations officer, the prospects for reform may be promising. Removing barriers to entry in order to foster innovation, as well as specialized approaches like expediting procedures related to information technology are seen as key issues in the time ahead. Early plans for new reforms were recently unveiled by the House Armed Services Committee.
On April 13, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings hosted a discussion on the acquisitions procedures at the Department of Defense and the need for reforms. The event opened with a keynote address by Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics at DoD. Secretary Kendall has been a leader in strengthening best practices while at DoD, managing Better Buying Power–aimed at bettering productivity, eliminating bureaucracy, and promoting competition–among other initiatives. Following Kendall’s remarks, and a short discussion with the audience, a panel will further discuss the ideas for reform. Participants included William Lynn of Finmeccanica, and Brookings Federal Executive Fellow Jason Tama. Michael O’Hanlon, co-director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, moderated the panel.
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