The Lexington Institute is organizing a Capitol Hill forum on Wednesday, June 24th to discuss ways of streamlining management and procurement at the defense department.
The forum will be a series of back-to-back presentations by subject matter experts. It will be held from 12:00 PM until 3:00 PM, and is designed to bring out useful information quickly from experts and policymakers.
Speakers to date include:
Mr. Byron K. Callan, Managing Director, Capital Alpha Partners
Mr. Scott Chandler, Manager, Military Engines, Pratt & Whitney
Senator John Cornyn, Majority Whip
Mr. Jon Etherton, President, Etherton and Associates, Inc.
The Honorable Christine Fox, former acting Deputy Secretary of Defense
Dr. Daniel Goure, Vice President, Lexington Institute
Mr. Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
Mr. Andrew P. Hunter, Director, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Lieutenant General John D. Johnson, Director, Joint IED Organization
The Honorable Tina Jonas, former Comptroller, Department of Defense
Dr. Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Mr. Steve McCarthy, Minister (Defence Materiel), British Embassy
The Honorable Elizabeth (Beth) McGrath, former Deputy Chief Management Officer, Department of Defense
Dr. Loren Thompson, Chief Operating Officer, Lexington Institute
The timing of this conference could not be better. Leadership in the Pentagon, the House of Representatives, and the Senate have all put forward valuable and courageous ideas to streamline and improve the military’s buying system. These ideas are winding their way through the legislative process, and there appears to be good trade space for a final reform package. Perhaps more importantly, leaders like HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry have a long-term strategy to keep grinding away at this problem until there are real improvements.
Senator John McCain’s reform package summarized the problem nicely:
“Our broken defense acquisition system is a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.” Senate Armed Services Committee Completes Markup of National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, Senate Armed Services Committee, May 14, 2015.
A May 2013 memo by former Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre tells us “fully a third of our procurement dollars are going to ‘overhead,’ much of it dictated by the choking layers of redundant and competitive overseers,” and “we have an accretion of laws, regulations, reporting requirements, and mandated procedures that are choking the system.”
This forum will focus on:
— what the Pentagon can do to make itself a better buyer, increase incentives, and attract a broader spectrum of companies to bid on its work. DoD’s policies on profit, intellectual property, commerciality, long time to contract, constantly changing and burdensome regulations are widely cited as contributing factors to reluctance of commercial suppliers to do business with the defense department
— actions the defense department can take unilaterally to weed out duplicative regulations and requirements. Can cost accounting, testing and earned value management be improved in ways that will speed up procurements, and lower costs?
— the role Congress plays in mandating cost increases on weapons programs. By some calculations half of the mandates the defense department must follow are generated by the legislative branch
— the trade spaces, if any, between the McCain and Thornberry approaches to acquisition reform. Should the defense department welcome the McCain effort to decentralize power back to the military services?
Clearly, there is tremendous potential to achieve significant savings within defense management and acquisition. Unquestionably such changes would be difficult, but we need to keep exploring additional reforms for functions and processes that do not contribute to defense readiness at a time of tremendous fiscal pressures, and growing overseas threats.
You may R.S.V.P. to Constance Baroudos at email@example.com or via telephone 703.522.5828. There is no need to respond unless you are interested in attending.
Defense Acquisition Reform
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(Lunch will be provided)
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