Kendall: Better Buying Power 2.0 Aims to Improve Acquisition
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 24, 2013 The new initiatives outlined in the Defense Department’s Better Buying Power 2.0 effort are intended to improve the efficiency of the complicated business of defense acquisition, a senior Pentagon official said yesterday.
Following Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s explanation of the origins of Better Buying Power 1.0, Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, explained there are no simple fixes during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“I don’t believe there are one or two policy changes we can make which are going to fix, if you will, defense acquisition,” he said.
“We’re in a very, very complicated business,” Kendall said. “We had 23 initiatives in Better Buying Power 1.0. There are about 34 here. There are another 100 things, at least, that we’re working on that are not on this chart.”
Kendall said Better Buying Power 2.0 covers a wide range of products and services that defense acquisition requires.
“The way to improve it, I think, is not with one or two policy changes or even five or six,” he said. “It’s with continuous efforts to understand the results that you’re getting, why you’re getting them and where you can make improvements on the margin.”
Kendall said an important feature of Better Buying Power 2.0 is, “A Guide to Help You Think.”
“When Dr. Carter and I put out [version] 1.0 and went around the country talking to the workforce, one of the things we told them was that we really wanted them to think,” he said.
But the guidelines included in the original version, Kendall said, were not hard rules written in stone to be followed on every occasion.
“They had to be applied with judgment, and that’s what the thinking part is about,” he said.
“The range of things that we do is so diverse that each problem has to be approached and assessed on its own rights,” he added.
Kendall also cited a new process in Better Buying Power 2.0 which addresses professionalism in the workforce.
“[It’s] not an easy job,” he said. “It’s takes professionals, and it’s the key to success.”
It’s important, Kendall said, getting those little decisions and acquisition strategies right, and really understanding technology maturity and what incentives make industry perform better for the department.
“So what you see in the guidance that I just put out implementing 2.0 is a combination of some general guidance and then some specific actions that people take,” he said.
“[In] many cases, it’s to provide more thorough and more complete guidance to people to help them through the process of deciding how to actually implement this,” Kendall added.
If the department continues to make improvements on the margin, he said, it will transform its results.
“We’re going in the right direction, but there’s still a lot of room to get better,” he said. “And that’s what this is about -- finding those things on the margin where we can do better.”
During his remarks, Kendall touched on each of these seven areas:
-- Achieve affordable programs;
-- Control costs throughout the product lifecycle;
-- Incentivize productivity and innovation in industry and government;
-- Eliminate unproductive processes and bureaucracy;
-- Promote effective competition;
-- Improve tradecraft in acquisition of services; and
-- Improve the professionalism of the total acquisition workforce.
Noting the current budget climate under sequestration, Kendall said there’s no reason for defense acquisition officials to stop doing their jobs, only “every reason in the world to do it better.”
“We didn’t have a cyclone or hurricane arrive the day sequestration was implemented,” he said. “What happened was the rain started to fall. And it’s still falling, the water’s rising, and that’s what we’re dealing with.”
With the constraints of sequestration, Kendall said the department is essentially being forced to endure a “huge number of inefficient actions,” opposite of what he and his team are striving toward.
Kendall also noted sequestration’s “water” continues to rise.
“I’ve used the word devastating before -- I’m not going to back down from that,” he said. “That’s the sort of impact this is having on the department.”
There is “more pressure than ever on us to get as much value as possible for the money we have,” Kendall said.
“And that’s what our workforce is dedicated to doing, and will continue to do,” he added.