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New DOD Instruction Aims to Streamline Acquisition Process

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2013 – In one of his last acts as deputy defense secretary, Ash Carter signed a memorandum putting in place a DOD instruction designed to streamline the acquisition process, Pentagon officials announced yesterday.

DOD Instruction 5000.02, entitled the Operation of the Defense Acquisition System and signed Nov. 26, is an interim document put in place, “to create an acquisition policy environment that will achieve greater efficiency and productivity in defense spending and effectively implement the department’s Better Buying Power initiatives.”

The interim instruction replaces one signed Dec. 8, 2008.

One purpose of the new instruction is to include a number of statutes and regulations that have been passed and adopted since 2008, said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

The body of law that has developed over the decades since the Goldwater-Nichols Act passed in the mid-1980s places an extraordinary and unnecessarily complex burden on program managers and staffs, he said.

Kendall has tasked Andrew Hunter, the director of the Joint Rapid Acquisition Office, to lead a team to suggest legislation to simplify the existing body of law and replace it with a more coherent and user friendly set of requirements.

“We will work closely with the Congress as we develop this proposal over the next few months,” he said.

The new 5000.02 is organized with the main body describing the steps and decision points in the acquisition process. While the acquisition outline will remain basically the same, the new instruction introduces two new decision points: the requirements decision point, and a development request for proposal release decision point.

The requirements decision point is the starting point for the requirements analysis and allocation system engineering process that culminates at the preliminary design review, Kendall said. This decision is also necessary to inform the request for proposal for the development phase.

The development request for proposal release decision point formalizes what acquisition professionals have already been doing, Kendall said.

“I regard this as the most important single decision point in the entire life cycle because the release of the engineering and manufacturing decision RFP sets in motion everything that will follow in the product’s life cycle,” he said.

Updating 5000.02 also provided an opportunity to integrate several of the Better Buying Power initiatives into the document, Pentagon officials said.

The interim instruction reinforces the importance and primacy of the acquisition chain of command, Kendall said. The bottom line is that acquisition executives, program executive officers and program managers are responsible and accountable for the programs they manage.

“Everyone else has a supporting or advisory role,” he said.

Kendall said the new 5000.02 will be in place in 180 days, but that “continuous improvement never ceases.”

He encourages acquisition professionals with ideas to continue to make the acquisition process as efficient and effective as it can be.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneAFPS)


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Ash Carter
Frank Kendall

Related Sites:
DOD Interim Instruction 5000.02 Memorandum
Memorandum For The Acquisition Workforce

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