DoD issued guidance implementing Better Buying Power (BBP) 2.0, the department’s program to achieve greater efficiency and productivity in defense spending.

BBP 2.0, introduced in November 2012, identifies seven focus areas for improving the way DoD does business:  achieving affordable programs; controlling costs throughout product lifecycles; incentivizing productivity and innovation in both government and industry; eliminating unproductive processes and bureaucracy; promoting effective competition; improving tradecraft in acquisition; and improving professionalism in the acquisition workforce.

The implementing guidance, demonstrating the continuing nature of the acquisition improvement process, requires specific actions and deadlines for each focus area. 

The implementation memo from Frank Kendall, DoD Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L), has special guidance for the DoD acquisition workforce.  Acquisition professionals, Kendall emphasizes, must be cognizant of the “key overarching principles” underlying BBP 2.0 in order to improve acquisition outcomes.

Acquisition professionals must think and apply “education, training, and experience through analysis and creative, informed thought,” Kendall underscores.  The acquisition workforce should not “automatically default to a perceived ‘school solution’ just because it is expected to be approved more easily,” but should apply professional judgment, he says.

The acquisition workforce must be “experienced, trained, and empowered” to apply acquisition policies and processes, Kendall says.  “Qualified people are essential to successful outcomes,” he adds.

Acquisition professionals must apply the fundamentals effectively, he stresses.  These fundamentals, which drive thought processes and judgments, are: competitive pressures; understanding and managing technical risk; demonstrating progress before major commitments; getting big early decisions right; and using the right contracts for the job.

Streamlined processes and oversight are necessary to provide value added, Kendall says. If acquisition managers are to be effective, process alone cannot consume all of their time, he emphasizes.  Managers must find ways to acquire relevant data and to direct differences of opinion to the appropriate decisionmakers.