New 2 Gov: What’s The Deal With Acquisition?


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Alright first off thank you guys for the responses to the last post. Your input and knowledge is totally what I’m looking for out of this.

Writing this blog I kind of feel like a bad comedian who just asks random questions like: What’s the deal with airplane peanuts? We’ll actually I get airline peanuts, I mean they are absolutely delicious but what I don’t get is acquisition.

I mean I get acquisition but not necessarily in the government. By definition acquistion is:

“A corporate action in which a company buys most, if not all, of the target company’s ownership stakes in order to assume control of the
target firm. Acquisitions are often made as part of a company’s growth strategy whereby it is more beneficial to take over an existing firm’s operations and niche compared to expanding on its own.”

So why does the government need to do this? Aren’t they technically supposed to be hands off? I know all this probably sound completely ridiculous to everyone in the Acquisition 2.0 group but to me this is a head scratcher. I know the government needs stuff just like anyone else but I don’t get why they have to buy the whole company rather than just the good or service they need (that might not even be the case but I’m going solely off what I know which is pretty much nothing).

I know that’s an almost laughable question for this audience but who better to explain it to me. I’m sure it’s legit I just want to know why we do it they way we do it. Also I’d love to hear about real life acquisitions that are happening now and what makes them essential to government success.

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Sterling Whitehead

Acquisition is a federal-only term. I think it was established in 1984 with the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation), our industry’s Bible.

Acquisition refers to anything involved in acquiring goods for the government, so it’s more than just buying. It’s getting real estate. It’s developing new products and weapons. It’s producing them. It’s sustaining them throughout their lives. It’s also disposal. Considering all these phases (and there are wayyyyyy more), acquisition is a catch-all phrase.

Noel Dickover

As Sterling mentioned, your definition above has no bearing on the government term, “acquisition”. Acquisition is often used because for many things the government purchases, you simply canno “procure” it. A good example is an Air Craft Carrier – Wal Mart doesn’t carry those. So in practice, Acquisition implies a requirements process, a funding process a detailed RFP process, testing, evaluation, program management, system engineering, etc.