Last year HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry lead an effort to reform Defense Acquisition which culminated in the first set of reforms in the FY16 NDAA.

“In an era of unprecedented threats, uncertainty, and technological change, the legislation ensures America’s Armed Forces are agile, efficient, ready, and lethal. Acquisition Reforms: Our defense must adopt new technologies and new ways of thinking to bring capabilities to bear more quickly than our adversaries. If we lose our technological edge, our warfighters will lose on the battlefield.” Key sections of the FY16 NDAA include:

  • SEC. 216. Re-authorization of Defense Research and Development Rapid Innovation Program
  • SEC. 218. DoD Technology Offset Program to Build and Maintain the Military Technological Superiority of the US
  • SEC. 803. Expansion of Rapid Acquisition Authority
  • SEC. 804. Middle Tier of Acquisition for Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Fielding
  • SEC. 805. Use of Alternative Acquisition Paths to Acquire Critical National Security Capabilities
  • SEC. 810. Review of Time-Based Requirements Process and Budgeting and Acquisition Systems

Chairman Thornberry is poised to issue the second round of acquisition reforms in the FY17 NDAA.

Thornberry has said the current effort in the House is geared toward making the lumbering acquisition system more agile, so that the US maintains its edge in the face of rapid technological advances.

Last year’s NDAA shifted some accountability for acquisitions programs onto the chiefs of the armed services and included bureaucracy-streamlining measures. Thornberry said he expected the bill to encourage more experimentation and prototyping earlier in the weapons development process, so that cutting-edge technologies are proven before they are included in a formalized and hard-to-kill program of record.

Thornberry said the committee is seeking to shorten and simplify the acquisition system to avoid programs that start in an unstable position by assuming too much risk and producing delays and cost overruns.


Exponential Organizations – 10X Better, Faster, and Cheaper

A great book I’ve discovered is Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail, Michael S. Malone, Yuri van Geest, with forward by Peter H. Diamandis. Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it). They highlight many examples of how the price of major technologies have dropped radically and the pace of change is growing exponential. Most companies plan for linear growth, but a few exceptional companies are positioned for exponential growth – and world domination!

Highly recommend buying Exponential Organizations for you and your colleagues, especially if you work in the Pentagon.

Digital Pentagon – Defense AT&L Magazine

Thanks to DAU for publishing Digital Pentagon in the Nov/Dec edition of Defense AT&L Magazine.

Digital PentagonThe time has come for the Pentagon to retire its Industrial Age management model and invent a radically new approach for the Digital Age. The Department of Defense (DoD) faces an increasingly complex operational environment at a time of decreasing defense budgets. The DoD would yield better results if it harnessed its strategic initiatives to enabling innovation instead of strict cost-cutting measures. The enterprise that more than 40 years ago helped invent the Internet for research and development collaboration must leverage the Web as a platform to network its acquisition workforce. See the full article in Defense AT&L Magazine.

The Transparency of the Networked Age

 Don Tapscott (CEO of the Tapscott Group) speaks of how we are moving from a business model of opacity to transparency which allows companies to turn customers into prosumers and cooperate in vast networks allowing for a new way of developing products. These networks are becoming material and a huge force in building a better world.

DEPSECDEF on Transitioning DoD

As we draw down from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our force needs to make a very difficult transition from a large, rotational, counterinsurgency-based force to a leaner, more agile, more flexible, and ready force for the future.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Ashton Carter

See Dr. Carter’s full remarks at the National Press Club on May 7, 2013.