By Barbara Kinosky:
Congress’s Section 809 Panel has made their first move on DoD acquisition system reform. The committee is made up of 18 experts in government contracts and is “charged with making recommendations that will shape DoD’s acquisition system into one that is bold, simple, and effective.” Yours truly testified before them. Section 809 Panel has the difficult job of thoroughly reviewing every DoD acquisition regulation ever written, and then conclude which regulations should remain active and which should be eliminated.
After a year of study, the panel has released its first report, containing 73 recommendations for procurement reform. This first volume focuses on commercial buying, contracts audits from DCAA, small business policy, and more. One of the top recommendations is to create a “mission driven” acquisition system to replace the current “process-oriented” system. The idea proposed by the panel is to grant DoD officials the ability to choose from various contracting procedures, so they may choose one that produces the best results for their mission.
A major takeaway from the report is the segmentation of the current acquisition process. The report defines these four “lanes” of procurement:
- Lane 1 – “Readily Available: This lane encompasses existing products and services that require no vendor customization to meet DoD’s needs.”
- Lane 2 – “Minor Customization: The second lane includes products and services that are primarily sold in the private sector, and for which DoD may be one of many potential buyers.”
- Lane 3 – “Major Customization: This lane includes products and services for which DoD may be one of few potential buyers, and for which there may be little or no private‐sector applicability.”
- Lane 4 – “Defense‐Specific Development: In this lane there is no private‐sector applicability, as the products and services are developed exclusively for defense‐related use.”
Major missions outlined by the report:
- Commercial Buying – “Streamline and simplify DoD’s access to the commercial market.”
- Contract Compliance and Audit – “Improve the contract compliance and audit processes by focusing on the needs of contracting officers and acquisition team members.”
- Small Business – “Refocus DoD’s small business policies and programs to prioritize mission and advance warfighting capabilities and capacities.”
The report outlines various other missions as well, and is only the first volume out of three – which will all cover the panels comprehensive examination of acquisition reform.
About the Author:
Barbara Kinosky is the Managing Partner of Centre Law and Consulting and has more than twenty-five years of experience in all aspects of federal government contracting. Barbara is a nationally known expert on GSA and VA Schedules and the Service Contract Act, and she has served as an expert witness for federal government contracting cases.