FY16 NDAA – AGILE. EFFICIENT. READY. LETHAL.

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.

Acquisition Reforms

There are two absolutely conflicting priorities in acquisition reform: maximizing efficiency — which requires giving acquisition officials more freedom and minimizing mistakes — which requires imposing tighter control.
Almost always the second trumps the first.  

It’s the only enterprise in the world that would spend millions
to prevent the fraud of pennies.

-Former DoD Undersecretary for Acquisitions Ken Krieg

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