The defense acquisition landscape is changing. Once known as a constant in the defense community, the acquisition machine is experiencing some significant shifts as a result of impending retirements, new partnerships, re-organizations, and new legislation.
The Changes Ahead for Defense Acquisition
Retirement is Coming Soon for Many Acquisition Officials
When looking at the Federal workforce, many senior members are within five to ten years of retirement. That is a lot of institutional knowledge and experience that will no longer be contributing to the government workforce within the coming decade. This situation will test more junior level acquisition officials as leadership retires. In the coming years, this may prove to cause delays and disruptions as the retirement parties start happening en masse.
The Focus on Public-Private Partnership to Fuel Innovation
For innovation to move forward, more public-private partnerships will need to be formed. Processes and policies will need to be re-architected to make this partnership easier to grow. It will be vital for the government and industry to continue to support each other as both strive to support various missions.
Reorganization within the Community
In February 2018, the Pentagon acquisition system was split into two separate entities: the Undersecretaries of Defense for Research and Engineering (R&E) and Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S). With any major organizational change, there are bound to be some hiccups but the overall mission hasn’t changed, and the hope is that the streamlined focus on these two areas will improve the overall success of these organizations.
The 2019 NDAA: DISA IT Contracting, Acquisition, and Senior Leader Communication Services
Buried in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill is a provision that could cause changes at DISA. Currently, there is much debate regarding “a part of the bill that discusses the transfer of all information technology contracting, acquisition, and senior leader communication services from DISA to other DoD elements.” A policy statement from the Office of Management and Budget states that “this action would increase the cost of acquiring information technology, weaken the Department’s ability to secure its cyber networks, and inhibit DISA’s mission to provide seamless communication to warfighters and senior leaders.” Contracting companies should expect some uncertainty regarding DISA over the next year as these issues are ironed out.
Planning for the Future
The world of defense contracting is changing as personnel, re-organization, technology, and legislation make impacts. For defense contractors, it’s best to stay on top of changes to the defense acquisition community to better plan for new requirements and to make more informed business decisions.
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