Frank Kendall, DoD’s Acquisition Executive, published a preliminary version of Better Buying Power 2.0 on Nov 13 “to ensure affordability and increase productivity in defense spending to deliver better value to the taxpayer and Warfighter”.
Better Buying Power 2.0 encompasses 36 initiatives across seven focus areas:
- Achieve Affordable Programs
- Control Costs Throughout the Product Lifecycle
- Incentivize Productivity and Innovation in Industry and Government
- Eliminate Unproductive Processes and Bureaucracy
- Promote Effective Competition
- Improve Tradecraft in Acquisition of Services
- Improve the Professionalism of the Total Acquisition Workforce
They are soliciting comments from industry and government. What do you think of these 36 initiatives GovLoopers?
These all sound good….like things of this nature always do. Unfortunately, all these great ideas tend to fall apart in practice the further down the chain of command they go. The “real” keys will be how DOD implements these principles, how they encourage/teach their acquisition workforce to follow these principles, and whether or not they “burn” anybody for actually following these principles if procurements go bad or goals are not met, etc. Word travels like lightning in the acquisition workforce and they can sniff out the truth behind their boss’s expectations and how their performance will be measured very quickly. How our DOD leaders take action on these principles will dictate the scope of their success.
My agency suddenly got on the Better Buying Power wagon, but our leadership failed to explain or train its workforce about what they expected to see from these initiatives. The initiatives became yet another checklist to be added to Acquisition Plans and Strategies. The result was total confusion and frustration. Acquisition Strategies and Plans came to a standstill as contract specialists struggled to address each of these initiatives (not just those that applied). As we had multiple layers of review for each action, nothing was approved as each reviewer had a different take of what the initiatives meant. We were advised that contracts that had been written for 5 years could not renewed after 3 years so we could promote competition, the problem with this was that in many cases we had no ability to meet requirements while we attempted to craft new strategies and contracts. I imagine Mr. Kendall’s expectation was that Acquisition Leadership would apply common sense and use these initiatives as guidelines, not mandates or regulations. In my agency this did not occur.