Reforming Acquisition: This Time Must Be Different
By: Jacques Gansler, William Lucyshyn, Ryan Ouimette, Bryn Woollacott
The Department of Defense (DoD) has pursued acquisition reform for decades in an effort to address persistent cost and schedule growth across major programs. Although countless reforms have been proposed and implemented, headline-grabbing incidences of waste, fraud, and abuse continue to attract the attention of Congress and the American public. In light of emerging threats and increased budgetary pressure, problems within the defense acquisition system may grow deeper. The time to act is now. Failure to make needed changes will have lasting negative impacts on our armed forces and national security policies.
Defense acquisition can be viewed from four distinct perspectives: 1) what goods and services that are acquired, 2) how these goods and services are acquired, 3) who acquires them, and 4) from whom the goods and services are acquired. Over the course of several decades, reform efforts have been concentrated in one area, often to the exclusion of the others. While some reforms have had a meaningful impact, many others have proven transient. The fact remains that significant reforms must be made in each of these areas if the DoD is to achieve its objective: the rapid, affordable acquisition of systems, capable of meeting current and future challenges.