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Acquisition Reform Plays Key Role in Pentagon's Cost Savings (AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE) ^ | July 15, 2010 | Lisa Daniel

Posted on 07/16/2010 12:16:12 AM PDT by Cindy

NOTE The following text is a quote:

Acquisition Reform Plays Key Role in Pentagon’s Cost Savings

By Lisa Daniel American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2010 – The Defense Department has the opportunity to save billions of taxpayer dollars through acquisitions reform, but only if it grows its workforce with the right federal workers in place to oversee contracts, a senior Pentagon official said today.

“There is a significant opportunity to save billions of dollars, but only if we have a well-trained and sufficient workforce,” Shay Assad, the acting director of the department’s procurement and acquisition policy, said during a Senate Budget Committee hearing.

Assad called acquisitions reform and improved efficiencies a top priority of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, with a goal of $100 billion in savings over five years, starting in fiscal 2012. He said the secretary ordered his staff to consider two questions with regard to old-style contracting procedures: Is this respectful of the American taxpayer at a time of economic and fiscal duress? And, is this the best use of limited dollars?

With cost savings derived from better efficiencies, Assad said, department officials hope to attain 2 to 3 percent net growth in warfighting capabilities without a mirrored budget increase.

Earlier this month, Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for logistics, “directed all echelons of the department to take a hard look” at ways to cut costs, Assad said. Carter’s directive, he said, “really was about increasing the buying power of the department and in getting a better deal for taxpayers.”

“We need to examine not only what we acquiring, but how we are acquiring it,” Assad added.

The department procured three million contracts in fiscal 2009, amounting to $375 billion, Assad said. It spent $372 billion in contracts last year, he said. About 53 percent of those costs, he said, go to contracted services, while 47 percent go to products, such as equipment.

Overall, the entire federal government, including defense, spent $560 billion in fiscal 2009, according to Daniel I. Gordon, administrator of federal procurement policy in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, who testified alongside Assad. That compares to $535 billion the government spent in fiscal 2008, Gordon said, adding that this year’s amount would have been much larger without major cost-cutting initiatives.

Agencies are now pooling their purchases, using more fixed-price contracts, having Internet-based “reverse auctions” for contracts, and paying more attention to contract management, Gordon said. The result, he said, is a drop in annual contract growth that averaged 12 percent every year between 2001 and 2008, to an average of 4 percent since then.

During that time, Gordon said, there was no expansion of the federal workforce to oversee the “tsunami” of contracts coming through. Over the next several years, the Obama administration is investing in hiring thousands of new federal procurement officers, the “lifeblood” of acquisition reform, he said.

To improve the procurement of services, Assad said, the defense department also must expand competition, move away from longstanding “incumbent” contractors, ensure that work statements are understood, and use proper contracts.

With regard to weapons systems, Assad said, “It’s all about properly defining the requirements.” Contractors now are “spending a lot of time up front” to ensure that contracts are realistic to avoid future add-on costs, he said.

In the past, defense procurement officials spent too much time measuring processes rather than outcomes, Assad said. And that, he said, is where expanding the workforce with highly trained acquisition professionals comes in.

The Pentagon plans to add 20,000 federal procurement workers over the next five years, Assad said. Among other things, he said, the additional workers are needed to properly oversee contracts “from an arm’s length.” The department is making good progress, having already hired 4,600 acquisitions and procurement workers, Assad said. Many of the workers, he said, are former servicemembers who’d used the equipment and services they will now help to procure.

Biographies: Mr. Shay Assad

Related Articles: Gates: Overhead Savings Would Benefit Warfighters Carter Promotes Pentagon Procurement Efficiency

TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans; Reference
KEYWORDS: acquisition; assad; carter; dod; federal; federalemployees; federalworkers; gates; gordon; internet; obama; procurement; procurementofficers; reform

1 posted on 07/16/2010 12:16:17 AM PDT by Cindy
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To: All
SNIPPET from post no. 1:

"Over the next several years, the Obama administration is investing in hiring thousands of new federal procurement officers, the “lifeblood” of acquisition reform, he said."

2 posted on 07/16/2010 12:18:44 AM PDT by Cindy
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To: Cindy

Assad?? Relation, friend, fellow traveller, habib or other of luminaries like Hafez and Bashar?

And this gentleman is in the US defense establishment??

You guys are *so* done for...

3 posted on 07/16/2010 1:29:13 AM PDT by Hardraade (I want gigaton warheads now!!)
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To: Cindy
Acquisition Reform in the DOD?

I have heard this over and over again for the last two decades.

There is virtually NO possibility of reform until the following two changes take place:

Internal to DOD - program managers are not allowed to make changes to the program unless they are willing to be DEMOTED. Every time a change is made you do two things - you add to the costs since everything associated with that change has to be reworked; to add months or years to the program's delivery schedule.

External to DOD - Congress critters are NOT ALLOWED to treat acquisition programs as job programs for their districts or shake down contractors.

If you held DOD acquisition “Professionals” to delivering a product, large or small, on time, on budget, and with the required capabilities they would ALWAYS receive referral efficiency reports and no end of tour decorations.

Since 1980 I have seen no “white” programs achieve any one of the goals listed above; much less two; and don't even dream of all three. The last program which did achieve those goals was the C-141 because Lockheed was able to convince everyone to keep their hands off.

A fail system can not be fixed by adding more people; it can only be fixed by changing the ethos.

BTW the “on time, on budget, and with the required capabilities” phrase from above aren't my words - they appear in the AF acquisition managers handbook. They, the “professional” “career” acquisition managers fail but are rewarded. And more such people are going to correct this?

MRA they will!

4 posted on 07/16/2010 6:05:37 AM PDT by Nip (Islam - a religion of piece (your head and life). Truth depends on the spelling)
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To: Cindy
Important post! From my experience, we need don't need more acquisition folks but less. Most importantly though, those in the jobs need to be capable and empowered to run their programs. Kelly Johnson's rules apply here. Boring but critical as are many conservative causes.
5 posted on 07/16/2010 10:37:32 AM PDT by Shark24
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