Congress introduces legislation to overhaul defense acquisition

////Congress introduces legislation to overhaul defense acquisition

Congress introduces legislation to overhaul defense acquisition

This week a bipartisan group of influential House members introduced legislation to overhaul the defense acquisition process.  According to a press release, House Armed Services Committee (HASC) chair Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) and HASC ranking member Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and others co-sponsored the bill to require DoD to begin to comprehensively manage defense acquisition and the acquisition workforce, reform DoD’s financial management, and expand the defense industrial base.  The proposed ‘‘Implementing Management for Performance and Related Reforms to Obtain Value in Every  (IMPROVE) Acquisition Act of 2010’’ follows the recommendations of a report prepared by the HASC Panel on Defense Acquisition (Acquisition reform panel issues final report, Highlights, March 26, 2010).  The bill would build on and enhance the reforms included in the FY2009 Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act, signed into law in May, 2009.  The legislation requires each Service Acquisition Executive (SAE) to set performance metrics for their acquisition systems that “may” include such measures as: cost, quality, and delivery; contractor performance; workforce quality and programs manager tenure; appropriate integrated testing; and consideration of long-term sustainment.  The SAE would establish goals and standards for each metric and performance assessments would be subject to periodic audits.  The bill also directs the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) to give preferential treatment to any component determined to have financial statements that are validated ready for audit earlier than September 30, 2017.  For those components who fail to achieve a financial statement validated as ready for audit by the 2017 date, the bill requires the Secretary of Defense to take corrective measures.  Such measures are to include: 1) developing a remediation plan to ensure the component financial statement can be validated as ready for audit within one year; (2) requiring reports necessary to mitigate financial risk to the component; 3)  delaying the release of appropriated funds; and 4) setting specific consequences for key personnel in order to ensure accountability.  The proposed legislation will be considered by the HASC as it marks up the FY2011 Defense Authorization Bill.

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