Series 5000 firms up acquisition policies

DOD deputy secretary Paul Wolfowitz approved both acquisition directives last month.

The Defense Department last month released a new set of acquisition guidelines for managing all Defense acquisition programs.

Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of Defense, signed DOD Directive 5000.1, the Defense Acquisition System, which outlines overarching acquisition policy, and Instruction 5000.2, the Operation of the Defense Acquisition System, which establishes a framework for integrating mission needs and requirements into well-managed programs.

The guidelines apply to weapons systems and automated information systems.

DOD 5000.2 sets requirements for military agencies to integrate architectures based on a concept called evolutionary acquisition.

A gradual process

'An evolutionary approach delivers capability in increments, recognizing up front the need for future capability improvements,' the guidance states.

Both polices give acquisition managers 'greater authority to tailor program strategies to fit the needs of their program by placing greater emphasis on evolutionary acquisition,' said Air Force Col. Lyndi Balven, director of operations for Defense procurement and acquisition policy.

Acquisition program managers should consider five factors while acquiring products: flexibility, responsiveness, innovation, discipline, and streamlined and effective management.

The policies identify military officials who manage overall acquisition programs as milestone decision authorities. Program mangers report to MDAs.

The Defense Acquisition System exists 'to manage the nation's investments in the technologies, programs and product support necessary for national security strategy and to support the armed forces,' Directive 5000.1 states.

'The investment strategy of the Department of Defense shall be postured to support not only today's force, but also the next force and future forces beyond that.'

The policies also instruct contracting officials to be realistic in their cost proposals.

'Buy-ins shall be discouraged because they may subvert competition or lead to poor contract performance or cost overruns,' according to the guidelines.

Some highlights of the Series 5000 regulations:
  • Each military agency will establish an independent test agency, reporting directly to the service chief, to plan and conduct operational tests, report results and provide evaluations.

  • Acquisition managers will address information assurance requirements for all weapons systems; command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; and IT programs that depend on external information sources or provide information to other DOD systems.

  • Systems, units and forces must be able to exchange data, information, materiel and services with other systems, units and forces, and they should effectively interoperate with other U.S. forces and coalition partners.

  • Program managers will provide information about major aspects of a system at key points in the acquisition process.

  • To maximize competition and add flexibility, acquisition managers should use performance-based strategies for acquiring and sustaining products and services whenever feasible.

  • The undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics will set up training and experience standards for each acquisition position.

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