The Department of Defense (DoD) released a draft of Better Buying Power (BPP) 3.0, the latest step in DoD’s continuing effort to improve its acquisition process.
Frank Kendall, DoD’s Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, made the announcement at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a prominent think tank headed by John J. Hamre, former Deputy Secretary of Defense and DoD Comptroller.
Kendall warned that in the current security environment “our technical superiority is at risk, because we are not making the investment we should be making,” He implied the required cuts to DoD funding (sequestration) are a primary threat to continued technological dominance.
A DoD white paper on BBP 3.0 accompanying the announcement emphasized that the new version does not abandon earlier versions. BBP 1.0 stressed best practices and 2.0 emphasized critical thinking skills and better tools for the decisionmakers.
Many initiatives from 1.0 and 2.0 are “core” concepts of acquisition reform, the paper stressed. Affordability constraints, should-cost management, using data to inform policy development, and competition remain central to acquisition improvement. Along with a summary of BBP 3.0, the paper includes a status of the BBP 2.0 initiatives.
In describing BBP 3.0, Kendall said the new version “emphasizes innovation and technical excellence” and remains true to the concept of continual improvement in acquisition management.
BBP 3.0 is designed to strengthen the capabilities and “professionalism” of the acquisition workforce, Kendall said. It will stress better working relationships with industry by incentivizing innovation and removing barriers, but will still emphasize controlling total lifecycle costs, he added.
In his presentation, Kendal laid out eight focus areas for achieving dominant capabilities: Achieve affordable programs; Achieve dominant capabilities while controlling costs; Incentivize productivity in industry and government; Incentivize 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 acquisition workforce. Some of these areas are “core” initiatives from earlier versions, some are expanded, and some are new. These areas contains over 30 initiatives.
Kendall stressed that BBP 3.0 wants to stimulate research through programs to incentivize innovation. As described in the white paper, DoD is striving to increase the use of prototyping and experimentation to allow the exploration of innovative operational concepts, emphasize technology insertion to keep up with the pace of technology in certain areas, such as digital processing, and use modular open systems to stimulate innovation. DoD also wants to increase the return on Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and provide clear definitions of “best value” to allow industry to make better bids and enable DoD to make wiser decisions.
In the next three months, DoD will consult with industry, academia, Congress, customers, and other stakeholders on the BBP 3.0 draft. The final version should be released in January 2015, Kendall said.
More detailed information is available on the Better Buying Power program website.