What's up with DOD procurement?

Kevin Carroll, head of the Army's Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems, has been in the government for 30 years, including 24 in the information systems arena. Carroll, whose office runs several multibillion-dollar multiple-award contracts, recently spoke at an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association-Washington, D.C. chapter luncheon and outlined several market trends.

The good...
DOD transformation: The ongoing effort is helping all parts of the department work better together. Carroll said he sees it especially in the systems area.

IT security: DOD is paying more attention to it than ever and has improved security.

Acquisition process: There is pressure for the acquisition workforce to perform more efficiently, and the system is working better, as organizations take advantage of tools such as the Enterprise Risk Assessment Model.

...And not so good at DOD

Protests: All procurements are experiencing backups and protests. Carroll gave two reasons: the size of the contracts and the length of time procurements take. He also said DOD's use of its own contracts instead of the General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service schedules also is leading to protests. 'We have to start planning for [protests] again as part of the contract time.'

Retirements: While this is a trend across government, DOD is feeling the retirement pinch among acquisition professionals and is having a tough time replacing them. 'We can't get people to apply,' he said.

Procurement lead times: Protests and the lack of contracting officers are doubling the time it takes to award the average contract, Carroll said.

Future IT systems: Certain programs, such as the Army's General Fund Enterprise Business System and its Logistics Modernization Program, are feeling the budget squeeze, especially in the area of new investments and R&D. The budget cut is caused by money being shifted to the war on terror. Carroll said these programs still are important but will take more time to complete.

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