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Acquisition Reform

As the Acquisition Reform Advocate, I have been asked by several people if there is a "list" of acquisition reforms available somewhere for quick reference. The answer is NOT REALLY. Several top level officials have their own "lists" of initiatives however. What follows is a representative sampling of the myriad of initiatives that are currently being promoted at various levels within the acquisition community. This list is in no way all inclusive, but it is representative of the wide array of initiatives that are currently underway:

Integrated Product Teams (IPT)

  • Represents a change in the way DoD does business
  • Multidisciplined teams with common goals
  • They have both responsibility and authority to act
  • Assure balanced program and sound business decisions

Integrated Concept Teams (ICT)

  • Cross functional teams for acquisition support and decision
  • Develop and follow to completion Acquisition Requirements Packages (ARP)
  • Leverages all disciplines to support an Integrated Product buy

Commercial Contracting and Market Research

  • FASA 1994 change to Part 12 of FAR
  • Maximize use of commercial items and market research techniques
  • Award IDIQ contracts whenever possible to support
  • Promotes FFP on FFP with equitable price adjustments
  • Promotes use of credit card for less then $2500 commercial buys
  • Object is to capitalize on the potential of the commercial marketplace for better application of shrinking military budgets

Reduced Cycle Times (old ALT/PALT concept)

  • Real time measurements of ARP to award
  • Focus on "real path" - i.e. replace stovepipe (sequential) with parallel processing where possible
  • Streamline through reduced management oversight and increased C.O./C.S. impowerment
  • USAMRAA use of SAAB for oversight/advice is an example

Best Value Acquisition

  • Heavy consideration of "other factors" in addition to price
  • Adds flexibility to consider innovation/individual solutions
  • Exercise business judgment through cost/tech tradeoffs
  • Identification and evaluation of risk is the key to evaluation

Oral Presentations

  • Used in lieu of, or in addition to, written proposals
  • Improves the quality of the proposal
  • Focus is on presenting task rather than repeating SOW
  • Open Book - task ahead - provide thoughtful approach
  • Closed Book - task on site - provide immediate response
  • Video - task ahead - asked for video to evaluate

Omnibus Contracts (master contracts approach)

  • Consolidate like needs for large (competitive) awards
  • Reduces number of individual contracts awarded
  • T.O. contracting can be utilized here
  • Minimize award times/maximize flexibility

IMPAC (Credit Card) Programs

  • Promote efficiency/turnaround time less than $2500
  • Streamlines both purchase and payment processes
  • Innovative expansions to contract payments
  • Acquisition tool - saving thousands of dollars per month at the buying activity level

New Cost/Price Rules - Electronic Audits

  • DCAA now on line to receive/provide electronic audits
  • Software/hardware infrastructure is in place
  • Minimizes request and response time
  • Byproduct is reduced procurement cycle time

Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP)

  • Direct result of FASA 1994 change to part 13 FAR
  • Increased thresholds to less than $100,000 for use
  • Reduces number of small contracts needed
  • Reduces administrative lead time
  • Promotes use of EC/EDI procedures

Past Performance Evaluation Techniques

  • Utilizes performance risk assessments during evaluation
  • Assesses "degrees of risk" based on track records
  • Emphasis is on recent and relevant performance
  • New term PRAG (performance risk assessment groups)
  • Promotes dialog with potential offerors for response

NDI/COTS

  • Promotes Non Developmental Items usage of Commercial Off The Shelf items
  • NDI philosophy improves efficiencies by adopting existing commercial practices/products
  • Emphasizes meeting of performance specifications
  • Promotes "market based systems"

Cost As an Independent Variable (CAIV concept)

  • CAIV promotes purchase of affordable systems through the use of aggressive cost objectives
  • Cost objectives should balance with mission needs
  • Use of IPTs in acquisition promotes this balance
  • CAIV are most effective tools when used in best value buys

Earned Value Management

  • Purpose is to support program management by integrating work scopes, delivery schedules, and cost elements
  • Key processes include: planning programs integration of efforts assessment of accomplishments analyzing variances briefing management for decisions used in conjunction with CAIV techniques

Increased Use of Ordering Officers

  • Empower "inventory managers" to order under DO contracts
  • Reduces administrative lead time
  • Increases flexibility in ID/IQ contracting
  • Ordering officer courses developed for certification

LOGCAP - Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program

  • Commonly known as "Contingency Contracting"
  • Maximizes support systems throughout the world
  • "Umbrella" contract awarded to DynCorp Aerospace

Government/Industry Partnering

  • Mutual commitment toward cooperative problem solving
  • Looks beyond traditional contract boundaries
  • Keys - high quality, on time, reasonable cost
  • Based on - cooperation, communication, mutual trust/respect, we-vs-they (out) win/win (in)
  • AMC partnering guide due out April/May 1997

Paperless Procurements Work Directives (PWD)

  • Reduces administrative lead time
  • Promotes full automation of Procurement Work Directives
  • Initial success in supporting weapon system teams
  • Eventual use in Logistics and Readiness Centers

Single Process Initiatives (SPI)

  • Voluntary program partnering sister services of DCMC, and participating contractors
  • Proposals from contractors evaluated for whether one process, management or manufacturing can replace several different processes/cost savings

Modernization through Spares (MTS) Program

  • Key to success is getting the latest technology to the soldier when and where he needs it while also reducing the DOD burden on cost of sustainment
  • AR toolbox here includes value engineering, intelligent product data, cost reduction, performance based specifications and several other integrated initiatives

Specifications and Standards Acquisition Reforms

  • Emphasis being placed heavily on use of conventional specifications and standards
  • Major focus is to obtain best value results through the use of commercial industrial standards...and providing for performance based specification whenever appropriate
  • Government/industry teaming will be stressed in an attempt to pick the best standards at the most reasonable price
  • Metric here will be increased return on investment dollar

Battle Lab Concepts

  • Battle lab teams are designed to bring together combat developers, materiel developers, industry and various "testers" to experiment with ideas designed to focus R&D; projects and sources
  • Refinement of user requirements and streamlining the acquisition process (through teaming)
  • Reduces technical risk and enhances rapid fielding of the technology to the warfighter

Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations (ACTD)

  • ACTDs are high level integration efforts to assemble and demonstrate significant, new military capabilities - based on maturing technologies and utilized in real time operations.
  • Hailed as the "cornerstone" of the Army's procurement strategy it relies on prototyping and demonstrating programs designed to maintain the military technological edge in spite of declining procurement budgets.
These are only a few of the various initiatives now underway in the acquisition arena. What we find in the AR area is that we are limited only by our imagination and willingness to take a risk. Watch this site for additional AR news and information.