DOD aims to add speed, flexibility to acquisition policies

DOD aims to add speed, flexibility to acquisition policies

By Kevin McCaney

GCN Staff

NOV. 7—The Defense Department is revamping the way it buys weapons and technology, with added emphasis on the performance and interoperability of products and the speed of their procurement.

In a departmentwide directive announced yesterday, DOD streamlined the chain of command in making acquisitions and set policies that give managers more say in purchasing decisions.

'These new policies are a critical step forward in acquisition reform because they provide the program manager with far more flexibility than ever before,' said Jacques Gansler, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

The directive, for instance, allows room for making trade-offs between cost and performance, while encouraging managers to find the most cost-effective approach by first considering commercial rather than custom products.

The directive also calls for a streamlined management structure within acquisition programs 'characterized by short, clearly defined lines of responsibility, authority and accountability.' The management structure starts with a program manager and program executive officer and leads to the assistant secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence. The policy calls for no more than two levels of review between a program manager and the executive or group of executives with milestone decision authority.

DOD said the policies, covering all aspects of product development and procurement, will help it keep pace with technology, replacing practices that were based on 15- to 20-year development cycles.

The policies are set out in DOD Directive 5000.1, DOD Instruction 5000.2 and DOD Interim Regulation Memo 5000.2-R. They are posted on the Web at www.acq.osd.mil/ap/index.html

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