Congress Targeting Defense IT Acquisition Reform - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Government // Leadership
News
3/15/2010
02:48 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Congress Targeting Defense IT Acquisition Reform

A House report recommends changes to military IT procurement policies ahead of possible broader reform legislation.

The Department of Defense's IT acquisition processes are poorly equipped for the fast-changing world of technology and quick deployments, according to a House of Representatives panel on defense procurement.

In an interim report issued last week, the House armed services committee's panel on defense acquisition reform found that program requirements are often written so specifically and programs managed in such a "document-intensive," "process-bound" way that defense IT system deployments typically take about 3 to 5 times longer than deployments in the private sector, and can be outdated several times over once they are delivered.

Defense Department officials and observers have been urging reforms to defense procurement for some time, and this year's DoD spending authorization bill looks to the military to implement alternative processes for IT acquisition. The House armed services committee aims to use this panel's report to develop defense acquisition reform legislation, according to panel chairman Rob Andrews, D-N.J.

More broadly, the panel pointed to a number of problems that appear in defense procurement regardless of what the military is buying. Specifically, the panel found that the requirements process isn't collaborative or iterative enough, and that the "analytical basis for establishing requirements is at best insufficient and occasionally non-existent."

In a hearing last Thursday before the panel, Shay Assad, acting deputy undersecretary of defense and director of defense procurement and acquisition policy, highlighted problematic business systems as representative of the problem, both in terms of managing the procurement process and in acquiring those systems themselves. "Our current systems environment is so fragmented, so disaggregated, and we have so much data exchange in a non-standard way that I'm not sure we'll ever get a clean audit," he said.

The House panel recommends the DoD consider a list of nine changes to the way it buys IT. Key to these, the panel found, is the use of clear performance metrics for specific programs and for comparison of programs across the DoD. "The metrics we have been using don't work very well in measuring IT success," deputy assistant secretary of defense Tim Harp told the panel in testimony last summer.

Other recommendations include: an increased and consistent dialogue between acquisition pros, developers, and soldiers; the adoption of open architectures to allow for "modularization" of both hardware and software; and development of a new test and evaluation approach.

The final House report is due this week.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
News
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
Slideshows
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
News
Northwestern Mutual CIO: Riding Out the Pandemic
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/7/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
Slideshows
Flash Poll