You don’t need to rewrite acquisition regulations to improve DoD buying


Center Executive Director Jerry McGinn wrote a commentary for Defense News, "You Don’t Need to Rewrite Acquisition Regulations to Improve DoD Buying."

The Department of Defense’s increased engagement with commercial companies in recent years clearly demonstrates the critical role these and other technologies will play in future military systems. Unfortunately, DoD has struggled to adopt commercial technology at scale, in large part due to its industrial-age acquisition practices.

Getting to this objective end state requires first and foremost a change in mindset, a paradigm shift. At the Center for Government Contracting, we call this mindset Acquisition Next. Our final report suggests a way to implement the Acquisition Next mindset through a series of “plays” or leading practices in defense acquisition programs.

The first three apply at the total program level:

  • Requirements. Focus on short statements of outcomes to increase flexibility in solution design and create a stakeholder process for requirements iteration over time.
  • Market research. Develop an organizational capability for continuously engaging with industry to identify technologies and vendors that can increase program value.
  • Master the baseline. Determine which system elements are technically separable and pursue traditional contracting approaches for technologies with slower cycle times while faster moving applications receive modular contracts.

These practices enable the second group of three plays, which are suited to contracts with software intensive content:

  • Agile work statements. Separate technical direction from contract requirements and use a living roadmap adjusted to the product backlog and user feedback.
  • Modular Contracts. Start with broad and flexible solicitations, then transition to multiple-award contract vehicles with recurring task orders and streamlined procedures.
  • ·Intellectual Property. Rather than focus on specific standards, influence a microservices architecture with rights to interfaces and operational data.

Rad the commentary at Defense News.

Acquisition Next: A Playbook to Break the Industrial Age Paradigm