Department of Defense Shapes “IT Box” to Speed Acquisition

While the civilian agencies wrestle with improving their IT procurement—and watch as legislation like the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) makes the slow march through Congress—the Department of Defense is moving ahead with its own plans to streamline the process. The problems with defense acquisition are known and many: Cost overruns, schedule slippage, etc.

The Department of Defense announced last week the introduction of something called the “IT Box,” which Katrina McFarland, DOD assistant secretary for acquisition, outlined during a Feb. 26 hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on readiness and management support.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has modified the Department’s Joint Capability Integration and Development System (JCIDS) by instituting a major change for Information System (IS) requirements development which introduces the “Information Technology (IT) Box,” enabling the delegation of authorities to specifically support the more rapid timelines necessary for IT capabilities through the Defense Acquisition System processes. The four sides of the “IT Box” include the organization that will provide oversight and management of the product; the capabilities required; the cost for application and system development; and the costs for sustainment and operations. Under this construct, upon approval of an IS- Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) or IS- Capabilities Development Document (CDD) by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC), requirements management is delegated by the JROC to an appropriate body in the sponsor’s organization. The delegation of authorities and defined parameters enable faster timelines for IT programs, because the organization is not required to return to the JROC for requirements approval unless the IT Box parameters are exceeded by prescribed thresholds.

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