Alan Shaffer, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering indicated that the DoD plans to increase R&D collaboration with key US allies, including the UK, Australia, New Zeeland, and Canada. Shaffer expects these efforts would promote interoperability between US allies and reduce US R&D costs, while still enabling the development of key technologies. US R&D costs would be further reduced by the Pentagon’s new acquisition initiative, Better Buying Power (BBP) 3.
Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, developed the BBP 3 to streamline Pentagon acquisitions and reduce development costs. BBP 3 would achieve cost savings by promoting the use of modular open system architectures, quicker delivery of draft requirement to the defense industry, increased use of prototyping, and reduced barriers for commercial purchases. However, even with BBP 3, significant challenges remain with respect to acquisitions from innovative small business with little federal experience.
Sydney Freedburg Jr. details in Pentagon Struggles To Get Small-Biz Tech additional potential DoD practices to improve small business acquisitions – some of which are already in use by the DIA:
“To shortcut that process [six to nine month Request For Proposals or a Broad Area Announcement], DIA set up a website called ‘NeedipeDIA’ to match needs identified by agency personnel with solutions submitted by private companies. ‘We did the normal FAR-compliant Broad Agency Announcements’ Doney said, but instead of specifying what they were looking for, DIA basically inserted ‘see website’ so anything posted on NeedipeDIA would fall under the BAA. That opened the door to some great ideas” – Sydney Freedberg Jr, 2014
DoD efforts to streamline acquisitions and maximize purchasing power face stark challenges from both Congress and the Defense industry. Regardless of the success of the third new offset strategy, cost sharing with allies, and acquisition reforms, new Pentagon initiatives will have a demonstrable impact on major future purchases and investments.
- Opinion: Defense Contractors Need Looser R&D Purse Strings, Joe Anselmo, 2014.
- DoD To Expand Use of Prototyping as Acquisition Budgets Tighten, Marcus Weisgerber , 2014.
- Pentagon Struggles To Get Small-Biz Tech, Sydney Freedberg Jr , 2014.
- International Partners Key To DoD's New R&D Strategy, Zachary Fryer-Bigg, 2014.
- DoD Reshapes R&D, Betting on Future Technology, Zachary Fryer-Bigg, 2014.
- Hagel: Pentagon Seeking To Improve Technological Edge With New ‘Offset Strategy, Dave Majumdar, 2014 http://news.usni.org/2014/09/03/hagel-pentagon-seeking-improve-technological-edge-new-offset-strategy