Untitled Accordion

Previous issues of ARP's Weekly Newsletter are archived here.

Click the dates below to see the full content. 

July 31, 2020                                                                                                  Issue 18

Plenty of news in the education section this week, with more efforts from the Navy to improve graduate education, online learning tools on IT acquisition from GSA, and the proposal for a US Digital Service Academy to create needed technical expertise in the federal government. In our top story, Ellen Lord describes how the Trusted Capital Marketplace counters the threat of Chinese investment in critical American technologies. This week’s symposium panel showcases GAO reports on big weapon systems. And a fun discovery from the archives of ARP’s research repository: we happened upon a pair of student papers that explore the logistics of distributing vaccines within the defense community in the case of a pandemic. Written in 2007 and 2009, the papers were responding to the emergence of Avian influenza (H5N1) and Swine Influenza (H1N1), acknowledging the need to prepare for the inevitable pandemic in which we now live.

 

ARP Research: Symposium Spotlight

Panel #13: Lessons Learned in MDAP Reliability, Maintainability and Sustainment

KC-46 Tanker Modernization: Aircraft Delivery Has Begun, but Deficiencies Could Affect Operations and Will Take Time to Correct​
Cheryl Andrew (GAO)

  • Micro-abstract: This report assesses the program’s progress toward meeting cost, schedule, and performance goals. The report also assesses how the program’s contracting and sustainment planning approach could inform other acquisition programs. Read the Paper and Presentation.  

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - What Actions Are Needed to Improve Aircraft Reliability?
Desiree Cunningham (GAO), Justin Jaynes (GAO), Cheryl Andrew (GAO)

  • Micro-abstract: The F-35 program office has estimated that implementing all of the identified improvement projects currently contained in its Reliability & Maintainability (R&M) improvement plan could result in potential life cycle cost savings of over $9.2 billion by improving the F-35’s R&M. Read the Presentation.

Defense Acquisitions: Senior Leaders Should Emphasize Key Practices to Improve Weapon System Reliability ​
Nathan Tranquilli (GAO)

  • Micro-abstract: This report addresses (1) how selected companies in the commercial sector address reliability, (2) how selected DoD acquisition programs addressed reliability, and (3) the extent to which DoD leadership has highlighted key reliability practices. Read the Paper.           

See more research in the full Proceedings of the 17th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium.

 

This Week’s Top Story

Trusted Capital Marketplace Protects DoD Supply Chain
Ellen Lord, National Defense Magazine

 

America’s open investment environment allows the world to invest in our country, promotes the exchange of ideas and grows a dynamic economy.

It also exposes us to economic threats by malign actors. Protecting the U.S. economy and its technological edge is a shared responsibility, requiring a whole-of-nation approach to thwart adversaries.

The Defense Department works intimately with executive-level government leadership, multiple interagency partners and the national security agencies to develop and implement impactful measures to protect critical assets, companies and the U.S. economy writ large.

Understanding our adversaries’ motives and tactics, and identifying U.S. companies’ vulnerabilities are key to comprehensively addressing supply chain threats and developing solutions to counter them. Foremost among U.S. adversaries’ investment targets are foundational, critical and emerging technologies with military or dual-use applications. Such technologies range from hypersonics and unmanned aerial systems to artificial intelligence and semiconductors. They are the lynchpins of the defense industrial base, the compromise of which would imperil national security.

The Defense Department’s office of industrial policy, within Acquisition and Sustainment, works to protect these and other critical assets through its Trusted Capital Marketplace, a funding ecosystem that offers ongoing opportunities for financial institutions and qualifying companies to explore mutually beneficial partnerships in support of national security goals.

Read more.

 

NPS News

Open For Autonomous Business: Largest-Ever Unmanned & Robotics Systems Research Contract Awarded For NPS
Office of University Communications, Naval Postgraduate School

Business Warriors Wanted: NPS Announces New Low-Res Defense-Focused EMBA For High-Tempo Officers
Office of University Communications, Naval Postgraduate School

 

From the ARP Archives: Distribution of Vaccines During a Pandemic

Analysis of the Distribution of Vaccine Using Department of Defense Assets versus Contracts with Private-sector Delivery Companies (11 November 2009)
Capt. Jason E. Latta, USMC

Cold Chain Logistics: A Study of the Department of Defense OCONUS Pre-Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Distribution Network (16 October 2007)
LT Daniel “Travis” Jones, USN and LT Christopher “Craig” Tecmire, USN

 

Acquisition and Innovation

Pentagon planning for the next 25 years of cybersecurity
Billy Mitchell, FedScoop

Procurement Leadership: The OODA Loop for Agile Acquisition
Jamie Gracia, LinkedIn

CMMC board faces ‘passionate’ internal turmoil over new contract with DOD
Jackson Barnett, FedScoop

DHS seeks permanent flexible acquisition authorities
Mark Rockwell, FCW

DOD 'on schedule' for August JEDI announcement
Lauren C. Williams, FCW

Army Future Ops Depend On Cloud – But Not On JEDI
Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense

Frictionless acquisition means changing hearts and minds, not necessarily processes
Jason Miller, Federal News Network

Air Force moves to enact space acquisition reforms, despite hold up of legislative proposals
Nathan Strout, C4ISRNET

Procurement Innovation Lab’s (PIL) Fiscal Year 2019 Yearbook: Coaching Innovation
Beta.sam.gov

 

Events (Upcoming)

USSOCOM AT&L Forecast: Virtual Industry Engagement Event
SOFWERX
11 August 2020

Joint Acquisition Solutions Summit
Defense Acquisition University
19-20 August 2020

OTAs & Everything Else, with Eric Lofgren and Benjamin McMartin
George Mason University Center for Government Contracting
11 August 2020, 1:00 p.m. ET

 

COVID-19 and Contracting

Rookie middlemen muddle the government’s effort to buy coronavirus supplies
Josh Salman, Nick Penzenstadler, and Dak Le, USA Today

Top Challenges Facing the General Services Administration: COVID-19 Emergency Response and Relief Efforts
Office of Inspector General, US GSA

 

Research

The Defense Industrial Base of the Future
Mikhail Grinberg, Center for a New American Security

Climate Resilience: Actions Needed to Ensure DOD Considers Climate Risks to Contractors as Part of Acquisition, Supply, and Risk Assessment
U.S. Government Accountability Office

State of the Space Industrial Base 2020: A Time for Action to Sustain US Economic and Military Leadership in Space
Brigadier General Steven J. Butow, Dr. Thomas Cooley, Colonel Eric Felt, Dr. Joel B. Mozer

 

Defense and Federal Government

Space Force Announces Significant Reorganization
Brian W. Everstine, Air Force Magazine

Navy Autonomy Lab Would Test, Integrate Software Advances to Bring More Capability to Unmanned Fleet
Megan Eckstein, USNI News

DARPA wants to find a better way to secure new code in legacy systems
Andrew Eversden, C4ISRNET

Nominee to lead Space Command voices support for declassifying space
Nathan Strout, C4ISRNET

The Office of Management and Budget: An Insider’s Guide
The White House Transition Project

What the “Defunding the Pentagon” Articles Don’t Tell You
Thomas Spoehr, Real Clear Defense

There’s a Bigger Threat Than Big Tech. It’s Big China
Emily de la Bruyere and Nathan Picarsic, Defense One

 

Policy

Information Collection; Rights in Data and Copyrights
Federal Register

 

Education

Navy Announces New Mid-Career Officer Graduate Education Opportunity
MC1 Mark D. Faram, OPNAV N7 Public Affairs

Proposed US Digital Service Academy Could Funnel Tech Talent to Government
Amanda Miller, Air Force Magazine

GSA Launches IT Acquisition University
U.S. General Services Administration

 

Congress

Senate GOP coronavirus bill includes $29.4B for Pentagon
Rebecca Kheel, The Hill

Inhofe moves to block FCC commissioner’s confirmation over Ligado fight
Aaron Mehta, C4ISRNET

House Democrats hammer the need for billion-dollar TMF injection
Billy Mitchell, FedScoop

Senate Democrats make case for adding $1B to Technology Modernization Fund
Jason Miller, Federal News Network

Senate hearing canceled for controversial Pentagon nominee Anthony Tata
Joe Gould, Defense News

 

July 24, 2020

Noteworthy in Issue #17: The National Defense Authorization Act has passed the House and the Senate. Next step: conferencing to reconcile remaining differences. In the appropriations arena, more conversations about limiting the defense budget, with a specific target on the Overseas Contingency Operations Funding. Here there’s a nice alignment with Abigail Zofchak's symposium paper on the Budget Control Act. A reminder of the new and evolving resource, the Adaptive Acquisition Framework, and a new feature spotlighting the innovative acquisition tool of Commercial Solutions Openings. Cheers, and keep us posted on your news! 

 

ARP Research: Symposium Spotlight 

Panel #12: Persistent Issues in Defense Management

Is the DoD a High-Risk Anomaly? An Analysis of the Government Accountability Office’s High-Risk List’s Persistent Residents​
Danelle Gamble (Sanford School of Public Policy - Duke University), Douglas Brook (Duke University)

  • Micro-abstract:  This research is the first of two phases and compares the longest standing DoD high-risk programs to similar longstanding high-risk civilian federal programs to determine whether the DoD is a high-risk anomaly. Read the paper and presentation

The Budget Control Act: Effects and Unintended Consequences for DoD
Abigail Zofchak (U.S. Air Force)

  • Micro-abstract: To determine how much the BCA impacted the stability and predictability of the DoD’s budget, this project describes and compares the impact of the Budget Enforcement Act (BEA) and the BCA on the DoD’s defensewide budget over time in terms of year-to-year stability and longer-range planning and programming stability  Read the paper and presentation.

Persistent Perspectives on Defense Management Reform​
Douglas Brook (Duke University)

  • Micro-abstract:  This paper explores the types and sources of Defense management reform initiatives to understand better what constitutes Defense management, where management reforms originate, and what aspects of DoD management most attract reformers’ persistent attention.  Read the paper and presentation.

See more research in the full Proceedings of the 17th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium.

 

This Week’s Top Story 

The Adaptive Acquisition Framework
Stacy Cummings and Jim Woolsey, Defense Acquisition University

The Adaptive Acquisition Framework or AAF is a major advancement for modern defense acquisition. It is more than a policy update. It is policy re-envisioned and restructured in a framework that encourages critical thinking by program managers in selecting and tailoring the best-suited approach or pathway for a particular acquisition. It facilitates more rapid delivery to the point of need.

The AAF is a powerful tool the Defense Acquisition Workforce can use to ensure that the Warfighter has the systems and services they need. Given the ever-changing environment, made even more unstable by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that Defense Acquisition Workforce members not only familiarize themselves with the AAF resources available to them—especially the interactive AAF website—but stay current and continuously seek out resources and opportunities to help improve acquisition.

Stacy Cummings—Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Enablers for Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord—spearheaded the AAF effort, and she will be the first to say it was a team effort. The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) was one of the organizations involved in the process—assisting in writing the policy with input from the military Services and developing an interactive AAF website. DAU also assisted in the rollout—conducting a series of roadshows with Ms. Cummings and other AAF subject-matter experts, engaging directly with the Defense Acquisition Workforce, and producing numerous AAF-oriented webcasts to inform Defense Acquisition Workforce members of the sweeping policy changes and the tools and resources available to them.

Recently, Ms. Cummings and DAU President Jim Woolsey met virtually to talk about the AAF rollout and what it means for the future of the AAF and defense acquisition. The following is an excerpt from their conversation.   Read more.

 

NPS News

Virtual Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture with VADM (Ret) Jan Tighe and General (Ret) Keith Alexander (video)
Recorded July 21, 2020

 

Acquisition and Innovation

US Army releases draft RFP for Bradley vehicle replacement
Aaron Mehta, Defense News

What’s industry role in DoD information warfare efforts?
Mark Pomerleau, C4ISRNET

Major Ramp-Up in Use of OTAs
Jon Harper, National Defense

DoD's $7 Billion Military Household Moves Contract Hit with Another Protest
Patricia Kime, Military.com

Pentagon Expects 7,500 Companies CMMC Certified by 2021
Mandy Mayfield, National Defense

Air Force crafts $1B cybersecurity contract for small businesses
Jackson Barnett, FedScoop

 

Events (Upcoming)

Fleet Focus: Agility Summit Seeks Creative Solutions to Naval Challenges
NPS, NWC and MCU student teams can learn about fleet issues and challenges, choose one to address and apply to compete at the Agility Summit. The closing date for student submissions and applications is July 31, and the final 10 teams will be chosen during the week of Aug. 7. Selected teams will receive funding to travel to the NavalX facility in Alexandria, Virginia. Students can also attend virtually.

AFWERX Fusion: Base of the Future Showcase
AFWERX, July 28-30, 2020

 

COVID-19 and Contracting

Memorandum: Additional Guidance on Federal Contracting Resiliency in the Fight Against the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-10)
Office of Management and Budget 

 

Research

Increasing Value and Savings in Shipbuilding with Innovative Technologies
David N. Ford and Tom Housel, Defense Acquisition Research Journal

Studying Acquisition Strategy Formulation of Incremental Development Approaches
COL Robert F. Mortlock, USA (Ret.), Defense Acquisition Research Journal

Air Force Software Sustainment and Maintenance of Weapons Systems
The National Academies of Science, Engineering, Medicine

 

Defense and Federal Government

Huawei 5G dominance threatened in Southeast Asia
Kentaro Iwamoto, Nikkei Asian Review 

It’s official: US Air Force to buy Turkish F-35s
Valerie Insinna, Defense News

US, China may ‘stumble’ into conflict in South China Sea, war game scenarios suggest
Eduardo Baptista, South China Morning Post 

Lockheed Martin May Go Shopping if Defense Budgets Fall Next Year
John A. Tirpak, Air Force Magazine

US Navy to develop drone deployment strategy
David B. Larter, Defense News 

Pentagon AI team sets sights on information warfare
Mark Pomerleau, C4ISRNET

Michael Kratsios, White House CTO, named to top Pentagon tech job
Aaron Mehta, Defense News 

Russia Tests a Satellite That Rams Other Satellites, US Says
Patrick Tucker, Defense One 

 

Policy

Memorandum: Buying for America
Office of Management and Budget

Memorandum: Department of Defense SmartPay 3 Government-wide Commercial Purchasing Card Oversight and Reporting – SP3 Transition Memorandum #12
Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment

Frictionless Acquisition (Cross Agency Priority) Action Plan and Progress Update
Performance.gov

Implementation of the Section 889(a)(1)(B) Prohibition on Contracting with Entities Using Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment
Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment

 

Congress
House defense bill strips Confederate base names, curbs president’s powers in troop deployments
Leo Shane III and Joe Gould

The Top 5 REALLY Important NDAA Policies
Mackenzie Eaglen, Breaking Defense 

Senate clears bill removing Confederate names from military bases, setting up clash with Trump
Connor O’Brien, Politico

Progressives Mount Assault on Defense Spending Ahead of Stimulus Package, Election
Marcus Weisgerber, Government Executive

OCO Must Go
Lauren Sander and Brandon Valeriano, Defense One

Two hearings set on controversial Pentagon policy nominee
Joe Gould, Defense News 

 

Acquisition Tips and Tools, with Larry Asch

This week, we offer a collection of resources on Commercial Solutions Openings. The first article notes that CSOs may become permanent authorities. The second article gives more information about this useful tool in the contracting officer’s tool chest. The third link takes you to a video conversation with John Tenaglia and Victor Deal held in May 2017 discussing how they developed the idea, advanced it and received pilot authority in the FY17 NDAA. 

CSOs are here to stay. What’s next in innovative acquisition?
Lauren Dailey, National Contract Management Association

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s FY21 National Defense Authorization Act markup includes several measures aimed at improving access to commercial and innovative technologies. One of them stood out to me: The committee would make permanent the use of Commercial Solutions Openings, or CSOs, to award FAR-based contracts. This is an incredibly important move as it is yet another tool that increases DoD’s ability to quickly access technologies and innovation from the commercial sector.

CSO's are a relatively new tool, and as such, some confusion exists around their use. Initially, the term CSO was only used to describe a mechanism to award Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs). In 2016, during my time at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (now simply DIU), I created their CSO to award OTAs on a fast, flexible, and collaborative basis, and create a rapid path to production for successful projects. Since the FY17 NDAA’s CSO pilot program, a CSO mechanism can also be used to award FAR-based contracts. This duality – the ability to award both FAR-based contracts and OTAs – can lead to some confusion when the term “CSO” is used. While it’s important for practitioners to clearly state what type of CSO they’re using (and what form of agreement or contract they’re awarding), what’s clear is that either CSO will allow them powerful access to commercial capabilities.

The potential permanence of CSOs for FAR-based contracts leads to another question: What’s next in the world of innovative acquisition? 

Read more in the article.

 

What Commercial Solutions Openings Can Be…If We Dare 
Victor Deal, Contract Management Magazine

Hot Topic - Contracting Innovation with Commercial Solutions Openings
Defense Acquisition University Video with John Tenaglia and Victor Deal

July 10, 2020

 

ARP Research: Symposium Spotlight

Panel #7: Informed Acquisition for an Era of Great Power Competition

Chinese Influence in Federal DoD Contracting Spend - Strategic Peril for United States?
E. Cory Yoder (Naval Postgraduate School)

  • Micro-abstract: This paper highlights major shifts in Chinese policy directed at infiltrating U.S. defense industries through federal contracting and supply chain assimilation and infiltration, and the necessity to enact legislation and regulations to prevent it. Seven of the top 20 DoD spend recipient firms are Chinese. Totaling the amount of spend with Chinese firms from the 2018 data in the 2019 extraction yields more than $92 billion.     Read the Paper and Presentation.       

Beijing’s Innovation Strategy: Threat-informed Acquisition for an Era of Great Power Competition
Emily de La Bruyere (Horizon Advisory)

  • Micro-abstract:  Beijing’s strategic discourse and resource allocations focus on deploying rather than developing cutting-edge capabilities. Tailored to a world of network-defined interaction, this new paradigm is measured by scale and influence, not force and lethality. It de-emphasizes traditional tools and battlefields in favor of controlling networks, standards, and platforms.   Read the Paper.     

Panel #10: Lifecycle Impacts of the Emerging Digital Universe

Investigation of Leading Indicators for Systems Engineering Effectiveness in Model-Centric Programs
Donna Rhodes (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Micro-abstract: Acquisition programs increasingly use model-centric decision-making approaches, generating and using digital assets throughout the life cycle.  The research investigates adaptation and extension of existing systems engineering leading indicators for model-centric programs and how program leaders can use these to proactively assess systems engineering effectiveness in model-centric programs.     Read the Paper and Presentation

See more research in the full Proceedings of the 17th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium.

 

This Week’s Top Story

DoD must modernize infrastructure to support cutting-edge technology research
JihFen Lei, Defense News

If you’re reading this over the internet, you’re using technology developed by the Department of Defense science and technology enterprise. For decades, the DoD has cultivated a wide-ranging ecosystem of technical professionals, research infrastructure and partnerships that has made vast contributions to U.S. national security and economic strength. From microchips to the GPS satellites that enabled a revolution in precision warfare, the department’s S&T enterprise has been central to creating the security and prosperity our nation enjoys today.

Although technology dominance has long been central to the American way of war, U.S. military superiority is increasingly under threat. American adversaries are making rapid technological advancements and incorporating them into newly modernized forces. In response, the department has been working to aggressively position its S&T enterprise to meet the security needs of the 21st century.

Long-term success will require concentration in three fundamental areas: First, we must invest for the future while focusing on the present. This requires investing in foundational research that will create the next generation of military superiority. Second, we must cultivate a workforce of scientists and engineers ready to solve the DoD’s hardest problems. Finally, we must create and maintain world-class defense laboratories and research facilities, enabling us to work with academic and industrial partners to quickly transition technology into capabilities. Each of these elements are critical to nurturing an innovation ecosystem optimized for the department’s needs.

The road to the next great scientific or technological advance starts with basic science and research. Basic research is central to the DoD’s long-term competitive strategy to create and maintain military superiority for the nation. The DoD has a long history of conducting and sponsoring basic research, focusing on understanding how and why things work at a fundamental scientific level.

Read more.

 

Acquisition and Innovation

Army Next-Gen Combat Vehicle Chief Drives Digital Development Strategy
Loren Thompson, Forbes

Federal Industry Leaders 2019 (includes Key Contracting Trends and Market Driving Forces)
Bloomberg Government

Spare Us the F-35 Parts Mismanagement
Dan Grazier, Project on Government Oversight

Mitigating the Pitfalls of Technical Evaluations
Federal Acquisition Institute

Cancellation of Alliant 2 Small Business caps a rough few months for small firms
Jason Miller, Federal News Network

CMMC requirements show up in GSA’s STARS III contract
Jackson Barnett, Fedscoop

GSA challenges developers to speed up end-user license agreement reviews
Dave Nyczepir, Fedscoop

US government’s Huawei ban moving too fast, contractors say
Joe Gould, Defense News

Bath Iron Works lays off some workers during strike
The Associated Press, Defense News

 

Events (Upcoming)

Great Power Competition in the 21st Century Virtual Mini-series
UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation
July 21, July 28, and July 31

SITREP Speaker Series: Featuring James "Hondo" Geurts
United States Navy Memorial
July 14, 2020  3:00-4:00 pm ET

Digital Readiness Webcast Series (multiple dates)
Defense Acquisition University

Agility Prime Teamup Event (R&D opportunities funded by Small Business Technology Transfer contracts)
July 15 & 16, 2020

NavalX New Space Grand Opening Event (Alexandria, VA and online)
July 20-24, 2020

 

Call for Proposals

Naval Integration in Contested Environments (NICE) Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX)
NavalX

NGA looking to academia and industry to boost research efforts (Broad Agency Announcement, Boosting Innovative GEOINT – Research)
Nathan Strout, C4ISRNET

 

COVID-19 and Contracting

Pentagon issues guidance to contract officers to assess COVID-19 costs and impacts
Tony Bertuca, Inside Defense

House panel isn’t giving defense industry all the COVID aid it wants
Joe Gould, Defense News

Urgent Acquisition Effort Provides Safe COVID-19 Patient Transport in 95 Days
C. Todd Lopez, U.S. Department of Defense

 

Research

A Primer on US Civil–Military Relations for National Security Practitioners
Dr. Jessica D. Blankshain, Air University

 

Defense and Federal Government

Navy Publishes Leaders' Handbook for COVID Guidance
Office of the Navy Chief of Information

Harker takes over as acting Pentagon comptroller
Aaron Mehta, Defense News

FBI Opens a New China-Related Counterintelligence Investigation Every 10 Hours, Director Says
Frank Konkel, Nextgov

Britain may further limit Huawei in 5G, a win for Washington and blow to China
William Booth, The Washington Post

Centers of Excellence phase 2 gives HUD a digital transformation booster shot
Jason Miller, Federal News Network

OPM Should Take a Lesson From the Army
Howard Risher, Government Executive

Pentagon reform boss on eliminating entire office: ‘This is a guaranteed failure’
Aaron Mehta, Defense News

DIU wants to bring swarming drones to the DOD
Jackson Barnett, Fedscoop

 

Congress

HAC-D Approves $694.6 Billion FY ‘21 Defense Spending Bill By Voice Vote
Matthew Beinart, Defense Daily

House Appropriators Add 12 F-35s, Boost Weapons Spending, But…
Colin Clark, Breaking Defense

House Appropriations Bill Includes Funding for Second Virginia-Class Submarine
Megan Eckstein, USNI News

Congress Pumps The Brakes On Navy, Demands Answers From OSD
Paul McLeary, Breaking Defense

Measure Requiring Women to Register for Draft Left Out of House Defense Bill
Patricia Kime, Military.com

More lawmakers getting on IT modernization bandwagon as House prepares 10th FITARA scorecard
Jason Miller, Federal News Network

Higher ed leaders warn House committee of financial strain
J. Edward Moreno, The Hill

 

Policy Updates

Procure-to-Pay Standard Operating Procedures for Distributing Receipt Acceptance and Electronic Receipt and Processing of Requests for Payment (“Handshake” 5 & 6)
Defense Pricing and Contracting

July 3, 2020

Noteworthy in Issue #15: The House Armed Services Committee finished its marathon NDAA markup remarkably early on Wednesday (before midnight) and voted to name the bill the “William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.” Thanks for all the reform legislation, Mac! We’ve updated our tracker of Section 809 Panel recommendations as reflected in the latest versions of these committee bills, finding at least 9 recommendations have landed so far. And we continue to bring you more research from the Acquisition Research Program, with the next video in our student research series and the next panel from this year’s Acquisition Research Symposium.

It’s a holiday weekend, when we celebrate the day colonists published the Declaration of Independence to explain why they were fighting for freedom from British rule. Reading this founding document is a great way to celebrate.

 

ARP Research: Symposium Spotlight

Panel #6: Unmanned Vehicles in a Model Based Systems Engineering Universe

Evaluating Current Systems Engineering Models for Applicability to Model-Based Systems Engineering Technical Reviews​
Ronald Carlson (Naval Postgraduate School), Warren Vaneman (Naval Postgraduate School)

  • Micro-abstract: Current technical reviews are based around lengthy evaluations of static, contractually obligated documents. Using data-driven model-based systems engineering technical reviews instead will provide greater insights with faster comprehension for the details across a program’s life cycle.  Read the Paper and Presentation.       

Architecture-Based Security for UxVs
Valdis Berzins (Naval Postgraduate School)

  • Micro-abstract:  Navy acquisition has applied Open Systems Architecture principles to improve affordability of system development, test, evaluation, and upgrade. This paper explores extension of such principles to improve security of unmanned systems within affordable costs.  Read the Paper and Presentation.

The Lightly Manned Autonomous Combat Capability (LMACC)​
Johnathan Mun (Naval Postgraduate School), Shelley Gallup (Naval Postgraduate School)

  • Micro-abstract: The new vessel, called Sea Fighter, would have a crew of 15 and have a single combat mission: to deliver long-range precision weapons and distribute secondary combat functions among the pack of Sea Fighters and Sea Hunters. An analysis of total ship costs is applied in a simulation and comparison to other vessels.  Read the Paper and Presentation.         

See more research in the full Proceedings of the 17th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium.

 

This Week’s Top Story

The Navy Needs a Course Correction: Prototyping with Purpose
Senators Jim Inhofe and Jack Reed, USNI Proceedings

As leaders in the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, and industry come to grips with great power competition with China and Russia, we all agree: We must accelerate innovative research and development, acquire new capabilities faster, and transform the way the U.S. military fights if it is to prevail. This is hardly the first time U.S. national security leaders have felt a sense of urgency and attempted to do so.

Unfortunately, results have been mixed at best, with absurd acquisition debacles that have set back the country tens of billions of dollars and delayed necessary weapon systems for years. While examples abound in each military service, we are particularly concerned with Navy shipbuilding. We believe there is a better way to develop new first-of-class ships.

As the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has documented, lead ships in new classes of naval vessels routinely fail to meet expectations. For the eight most recently delivered lead combatant ships—the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), Zumwalt (DDG-1000), Freedom (LCS-1), Independence (LCS-2), America (LHA-6), San Antonio (LPD-17), Virginia (SSN-774), and Texas (SSN-775)—the GAO found that a total of $8 billion more than the initial cost estimate was required to construct these ships, each lead ship experienced cost growth of at least 10 percent, and three lead ships exceeded their initial budgets by 80 percent or more. Further, each lead ship was delivered to the fleet at least six months late—five were more than two years late—and most lead ships had dozens of uncorrected deficiencies when the Navy accepted them.

GAO experts have continually noted a key step in successful shipbuilding programs is technology development—the maturation of key technologies into subsystem prototypes and demonstration of those subsystem prototypes in a realistic environment prior to the detailed design of the lead ship. This type of technology maturation was not performed effectively, or at all, on the CVN-78, DDG-1000, LCS-1, LCS-2, and LPD-17 programs.

… As an alternative approach, we believe these four principles should guide lead-ship development:

  • Department of Defense (DoD) and Navy leaders should lead on defining the future force architecture and, just as important, personally sign off on realistic system- and subsystem-level plans.
  • New critical subsystems should be proven before building a full-scale platform.
  • Contracting for a full-scale platform prototype should occur only after all critical subsystems have been proven and should focus on system integration.
  • The objective of subsystem and full-scale platform prototyping is to close the government’s technical knowledge gaps.

Read more.

 

News from the Acquisition Research Program at Naval Postgraduate School

Student Research Video. U.S. Naval Shipbuilding Capacity: Is There Enough And What Can Be Done To Improve?

LCDR Rudy Mason presents his team's thesis research on how to expand the nation's shipbuilding capabilities to fulfill the Navy’s 30-year, 355-ship goal.

 

The U.S. Navy Is Making Plans to Replace the F-35 Stealth Fighter
Kris Osborn, The National Interest

Note that this article mentions an ARP-supported thesis:

… This challenge, explored by a Naval Postgraduate School essay called “The 6th-Generation Quandry,” poses the question as to whether it might be equally if not more effective to postpone formal sixth-generation development until truly breakthrough advances emerge, while pursuing advanced variants of current, yet upgradable platforms in the interim. The 2016 paper, from the Naval Postgraduate School Acquisition Research Program, cites a handful of current systems showing significant long-term promise. The paper cites “new models of the F-35 optimized for air combat,” the emerging B-21, drone-launching C-130 “mother ships” and “weapons truck arsenal planes” are positioned to optimize current technological progress.

 

Acquisition and Innovation

Here’s how the Space Force will be organized
Valerie Insinna, Defense News

Use of military contractors shrouds true costs of war. Washington wants it that way, study says.
Alex Horton and Aaron Gregg, The Washington Post

Risk Aversion Impedes Hypersonics Development
Staff Sgt. Todd C. Lopez, DoD News

GSA still must answer supply chain risk questions with e-commerce platforms
Jason Miller, Federal News Network

How the Navy beat its own timeline for its largest cloud migration
Jackson Barnett, Fedscoop

DoD withdraws Defense Production Act small launch contract awards
Sandra Erwin, Space News

A Synopsis of Preaward Reviews of VA Federal Supply Schedule Pharmaceutical Proposals Issued in Fiscal Year 2019
Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General

Alliant 2 Small Business (A2SB) Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) cancelled
Beta.sam.gov

 

Events (Upcoming)

Is Great Power Competition a Constructive Framework for Formulating U.S. Policies in sub-Saharan Africa?
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Tuesday, July 7, 2020 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Decoding the DoD Innovation Alphabet
Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), in collaboration with National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), the Defense Innovation Board (DIB), AFWERX, Army Applications Lab (AAL), and NavalX.
July 9, 2020  3:00-4:00pm ET

 

Research

Acquiring Space Capabilities with Agility and Discipline at the Speed of Relevance
National Security Space Association Studies & Analysis Center

Party on the Bridge: Political Commissars in the Chinese Navy
Jeff Benson and Yi Zang, Center for Strategic & International Studies

 

Defense and Federal Government

Navy ‘Education for Seapower’ Program Under Review by New SECNAV
Sam LaGrone, USNI News

DoD Spotlight: Protecting America's Global Positioning System
U.S. Department of Defense

Why Data Governance is Critical to a Successful JCF
The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center

US Navy’s first 4 littoral combat ships to leave the fleet in 9 months
David B. Larter, Defense News

FCC bars Huawei and ZTE from subsidies, citing national security
Margaret Harding McGill, Axios

Marine Corps creates first ‘Network Battalion’ for cyberdefense and modernization
Jackson Barnett, Fedscoop

Audit of Governance and Protection of Department of Defense Artificial Intelligence Data and Technology
Department of Defense Inspector General

Turkey to Keep Making F-35 Parts Through 2022, Pentagon Says
Anthony Capaccio, Bloomberg

US could buy Turkey’s Russian-made S-400 under Senate proposal
Joe Gould, Defense News

The Navy aims to install cyber baselines aboard 180 ships
Andrew Eversden, C4ISRNET

Upgradeable Birds: AF Taps Hypergiant For ‘Reconfigurable’ Satellites
Theresa Hitchens, Breaking Defense

 

Congress
House panel approves $740.5B defense policy bill
Rebecca Kheel, The Hill

Thornberry talks acquisition reform in 2021 NDAA
Lauren C. Williams, FCW

Pentagon’s chief reform job would be scrapped under House plan
Joe Gould, Defense News

Ligado would be banned from DoD contracts under House plan
Joe Gould, C4ISRNET

Proposals would make extremist activity a military crime, create DOD oversight office for racial issues
Leo Shane III, Military Times

HASC amendments question space acquisition reforms, challenge DoD plans to procure new systems
Sandra Erwin, Space News

Congress Inches Closer to Creating a National Cloud for AI Research
Brandi Vincent, Nextgov

Senators Introduce Deepfake-Focused Amendment to Defense Authorization Act
Brandi Vincent, Nextgov

HASC Wants To Stop Year-End Spending Sprees
Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense

Full Committee Hearing: “Department of Defense Authorities and Roles Related to Civilian Law Enforcement” (Thursday, July 9, 2020)
Witnesses: The Honorable Dr. Mark T. Esper, Secretary of Defense and General Mark A. Milley, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
House Armed Services Committee

 

 

Section 809 Panel Updates

We are watching the NDAA process closely, with an eye for acquisition reforms related to recommendations from the Section 809 Panel. So far, we see several areas influenced by at least 8 panel recommendations.

Sec. 884: Pilot Program Exploring The Use Of Consumption-Based Solutions To Address Software-Intensive Warfighting Capability (Amendment to S. 4049 offered by Mr. Rounds of South Dakota)

  • References panel recommendation #43: Revise acquisition regulations to enable more flexible and effective procurement of consumption-based solutions.

Section 827—Report on Transfer and Consolidation of Certain Defense Acquisition Statutes (H.R. 6395)

  • Continues implementation of panel recommendation #90: Reorganize Title 10 of the U.S. Code to Place All of the Acquisition Provisions in a Single Part, and Update and Move Acquisition-related Note Sections into the Reorganized Acquisition Part of Title 10

Three sections of H.R. 6395 address the need for a more comprehensive planning for weapon system sustainment, showing influence from two panel recommendations.

 

  • Recommendation #41: Establish a sustainment program baseline, implement key enablers of sustainment, elevate sustainment to equal standing with development and procurement, and improve the defense materiel enterprise focus on weapon system readiness.
  • Recommendation #42: Reduce budgetary uncertainty, increase funding flexibility, and enhance the ability to effectively execute sustainment plans and address emergent sustainment requirements.

Item of Interest: Efforts to Streamline the Internal Control Audit Framework Used to Evaluate Contractor Business Systems (H.R. 6395)

  • References panel recommendation #72: Replace 18 system criteria from DFARS 252.242-7006, Accounting System Administration, with an internal control audit to assess the adequacy of contractors’ accounting systems based on seven system criteria.

Sec. 803—Contractor Business Systems (H.R. 6395) and Sec. 845—Definition of Business System Deficiencies for Contractor Business Systems (S. 4049)

  • Implements part of panel recommendation #10: Replace system criteria from DFARS 252.242-7006, Accounting System Administration, with an internal control audit to assess the adequacy of contractors’ accounting systems.

Sec. 826—Assessment of the Requirements Processes of the Military Departments (H.R. 6395)

Sec. 10__. Temporary Authority to Extend Unobligated Operations and Maintenance Funds (Amendment to H.R. 6395 offered by Mr. Thornberry of Texas)

  • Similar to panel recommendation #49: Provide increased flexibility to the time periods within which contract obligations are permitted to occur.

This amendment discussed in the article: HASC Wants To Stop Year-End Spending Sprees
Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense

Selected highlights from the article: Because Operations & Maintenance is over 40 percent of the Pentagon budget, the requirement to obligate every penny of it before Oct. 1 distorts decision-making over billions of dollars, year after year, and one of Congress’s most respected defense reformers has decided to take it on as a last hurrah before retiring. […] Thornberry introduced an amendment this morning to allow DoD to keep 50 percent of unobligated O&M past 1 October – and then immediately withdrew it. […]  “The Section 809 panel referenced this issue in their final report, Volume 3, which may well be what Smith and Thornberry are responding to,” said Andrew Hunter.

June 26, 2020

 

Noteworthy in Issue #14: It’s NDAA season, folks! The Senate Armed Services Committee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 came out this week, as did the summary of the House Armed Services Committee markup. We provide summaries, bill language, and a collection of articles on some key aspects of these bills. DoD leadership is seeing some summer turnover, including the Navy’s inaugural chief learning officer. And in news from the Acquisition Research Program, we bring the next video in our student research series and two more panels from this year’s Acquisition Research Symposium.

ARP Research: Symposium Spotlight

Panel #9: Artificial Intelligence and the Cloud

Acquiring Artificial Intelligence Systems: Development Challenges, Implementation Risks, and Cost/Benefits Opportunities
Johnathan Mun (Naval Postgraduate School), Thomas Housel (Naval Postgraduate School)

  • Micro-abstract: This research identifies, reviews, and proposes advanced quantitative, analytically based methods within the integrated risk management (IRM) and knowledge value added (KVA) methodologies to complement the current EVM approach for artificial intelligence system acquisitions. Read the paper and presentation.

Panel #4: Enabling Rapid Acquisition

Cycle Times and Cycles of Acquisition Reform
Morgan Dwyer (CSIS), Alec Blivas (CSIS), Andrew Hunter (CSIS), Brenen Tidwell (CSIS)

  • Micro-abstract: This paper assesses the relationship between cycles of acquisition reform and cycle-times (i.e., the time to field new capabilities). Read the paper and presentation.

Faster Acquisition: Putting the Priority on Speed
David Riel (Defense Acquisition University)

  • Micro-abstract: This paper addresses the perception of the acquisition workforce on the priority of speed within the PM “iron triangle” of cost, performance, and schedule. Read the paper.

See more research in the full Proceedings of the 17th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium.

 

This Week’s Top Story

US Navy’s chief learning officer announces departure as Pentagon exodus continues
David B. Larter, Defense News

The flood of departing defense officials continues as the U.S. Navy’s chief learning officer — a newly created position championed by former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly — announced he is leaving his post this summer to take positions at a think tank and a venture capital firm.

John Kroger took to LinkedIn this week to announce his departure, eight months after taking the job in September.

“I will be leaving the Department of the Navy and my civil service position as the Chief Learning Officer later this summer,” Kroger wrote. “It has been a great honor to serve as the first joint Navy-Marine Corps CLO and wish all of my colleagues the very best.”

A Navy statement provided to Defense News said the service planned to replace the CLO.

Read more.

 

News from the Acquisition Research Program at Naval Postgraduate School

Student Research: Husbanding Service Providers: Single Award vs. Multiple Award Contracts (video)

NPS student Jesse Kiengsiri discusses his team's research completed with ARP support to determine if there is a statistically significant difference in price for U.S. Navy husbanding port services when using MAC and SAC contracting strategies.

 

Acquisition and Innovation

The DOD wants better cybersecurity for its contractors. The first steps haven’t been easy.
Jackson Barnett, FedScoop

DHS exploring 5 additional blockchain use cases
Dave Nyczepir, FedScoop

In 2020, VA CIO finally received oversight over all IT spending despite 2015 law requiring it
Jason Miller, Federal News Network

NSWC Crane and NIWC Atlantic seek latest technology for ANTX 2021 military demonstration
Sarah K. Miller, NAVSEA

Software development in the Army gets an Agile reboot
Paul McKellips, U.S. Army

GenDyn inks $9.5B deal for first 2 Columbia-class subs
Christen McCurdy, UPI

Production workers strike against major US Navy shipbuilder
David Sharp, The Associated Press

 

Events (Upcoming and Recent Recordings)

“Leadership from the Battlefield to the Boardroom:” Virtual Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture with Admiral William H. McRaven
Naval Postgraduate School, June 23, 2020

Aerospace Nation: A conversation with Gen Jeffery Harrigian, Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, U.S. Air Forces in Africa and Allied Command, Director of Joint Air Power Competence Center in Kalkar, Germany
The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies
June 29, 2020

Russia's Military Posture in the Arctic
Center for Strategic & International Studies
June 30, 2020  9:00 am - 9:45 am ET

Main Street Defense Series - Bringing Innovation and Adaptability to the Fight with General Atomics’ David Alexander
Center for Strategic & International Studies
July 1, 2020  1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET

Think Gov 2020
IBM and Fedscoop
July 1, 2020  11:00 am -3:00 pm ET

 

Defense and Federal Government

Global Futures Report: Alternative Futures of Geopolitical Competition in a Post-COVID-19 World. A Collaborative Analysis with Foresight Practitioners and Experts
Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability (AFWIC) Strategic Foresight and Futures Branch

Pentagon Leaders Have Taken Lead in Crafting Future Fleet from Navy
Megan Eckstein, USNI News

Pentagon’s top tech experts, Griffin and Porter, resign
Aaron Mehta and Joe Gould, Defense News

The government’s top IT leader is leaving government in July.
Aaron Boyd, Nextgov

Galinis Takes Helm as NAVSEA Commander
U.S. Navy

Changes in Tech, Strategy Drive Missile Defense
U.S. Department of Defense

 

COVID-19 and Contracting

DOD Partners With DFC to Protect Industrial Base From Economic Effect of Pandemic
U. S. Department of Defense

HHS changed its business model in building the White House coronavirus system
Dave Nyczepir, FedScoop

Nearly all defense companies have reopened from COVID-19
Aaron Mehta, Defense News

 

Policy Update

Standard Operating Procedure for Records Retention and Destruction in the Procurement Integrated Enterprise Environment
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment

 

Congress
House committee targets Lockheed in probe of F-35 parts problems
Joe Gould and Valeri Insinna, Defense News

 

Special Coverage of the National Defense Authorization Act: SASC

Senate Armed Services Committee Markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021

Executive Summary of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act
Senate Armed Services Committee

Senate Defense bill would eliminate DoD’s chief management officer
Jared Serbu, Federal News Network

SASC Trims Hypersonics & Robot Ships, Boosts Ships & F-35
Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense

Senate moves to eliminate Pentagon’s chief management officer role
Aaron Mehta, Defense News

Congress aims to strip funding for the US Navy’s next-gen large surface combatant
David B. Larter, Defense News

 

Special Coverage of the National Defense Authorization Act: HASC

Summary of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021
House Armed Services Committee

House panel's top Republican backs Democrats' defense bill
Tony Bertuca, Inside Defense

Four ways the House wants military IT to improve
Andrew Eversden, C4ISRNET

Congress has questions about the Air Force’s and Navy’s next-generation fighter programs
Valerie Insinna, Defense News

House bill would elevate Pentagon’s AI hub to the deputy secretary level
Andrew Eversden, C4ISRNET

HASC Floats Modest Modernization, New Sustainment Jobs
Rachel S. Cohen, Air Force Magazine

Smith reveals $3.6B plan to counter China
Joe Gould, Defense News

Key Solarium recommendations find a home in the defense bill
Derek B. Johnson, FCW

June 19, 2020

Noteworthy in Issue #13: The Navy creates a new organization to integrate warfighter operations and education, continuing the trend of a systemic shift in how military professionals are trained and educated. The JEDI contract is back in the news. DoD releases its space strategy and names a new Chief Data Officer. And from the Acquisition Research Program, two items: we launch the first in our series of student research video presentations, and we bid farewell to founding chair Jim Greene. Enjoy, and keep letting us know if you have work we can highlight in future issues. 

 

ARP Research: Symposium Spotlight

Panel #3: Initiatives in Contract Management

Overseas Contingency Operations Contracts After Iraq: Enabling Financial Management Research and Transparency Through Contract Labeling​
Gregory Sanders (Center for Strategic and International Studies)

  • Micro-abstract: Governmental efforts to improve transparency and oversight regarding crisis contract awards have been admirable, but they are limited in their ability to maintain and proliferate lessons learned. This project addresses that problem by creating a crisis-funded contract dataset to test best practices across different domains and enhance data transparency for future practitioners and researchers.  Read the paper and presentation.

Uncovering Value in Knowledge-based Services: Monetizing Latent Service Quality Indicators for Source Selection
Daniel Finkenstadt (Marketing Department KFBS)

  • Micro-abstract: The research provides a way to monetize the trade-off between price and quality using a perceived service quality scale for KBS and a choice-based conjoint methodology in a Department of Defense setting.  Read the paper and presentation.

A Game Theory Approach and Application for Government Acquisition
Kelly Horinek (MITRE), Scott Rosen (MITRE)

  • Micro-abstract: This paper considers the application of game theory to the federal acquisition process to facilitate negotiation strategies and proposes an automated framework and interface for applying game theory to bid negotiation in acquisition.  Read the paper.

See more research in the full Proceedings of the 17th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium.

 

This Week’s Top Story

Navy's New Deputy Chief of Naval Operations on CNO Staff Leading Work on Strategy, Education, Warfighting Development
OPNAV N7 Public Affairs

The Navy published this week the formal announcement of a change to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV). The change, published by Director of Navy Staff (DNS) Andrew Haeuptle, provides for a new 3-star-led organization, currently under the leadership of Vice Adm. Stuart B. Munsch, whose focus is to develop and ensure the Navy’s future warfighting advantage against potential adversaries.

Named the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (DCNO) for Warfighting Development, or OPNAV N7, Munsch leads a directorate of four divisions that pursue lines of effort focused on Navy strategy; organizational learning and analysis of lessons learned from wargames, exercises, experiments, tests, and studies; education policy and the development of warrior-scholars; strategic force-development planning; and alignment of efforts across headquarters, the Navy, government, and industry to solve key operational problems.

“The integration between how we fight and how we learn cannot be underestimated in today’s strategic environment,” said ADM Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “The new N7 organization is improving the way we develop and deliver the Navy’s warfighting advantage to our nation. I have no doubt that it will strengthen our collective military power to out-think and out-fight any adversary.”

Read more.

 

News from the Acquisition Research Program at Naval Postgraduate School

Bravo Zulu! Jim Greene Retires as Chair of the Acquisition Research Program

On June 3, the Acquisition Research Program hosted an online retirement party for Rear Admiral (Ret.) James B. Greene, the program’s founding chair. After 17 years of service, Greene retired on June 6, 2020. He will continue to volunteer with the program, lending expertise to the current staff and the new chair of acquisition in the fall.  Read more.

 

Student Research: Corporate Officers' Political Connection Affects DoD Contractor Profitability (video)

NPS student Dave Couchman discusses his team's capstone research project completed with ARP support. The team used a disciplined, data-driven approach to analyze the effect that political connections have on possible excessive profits of DoD contractors.
 

Acquisition and Innovation

Army releases $1B cyber training request
Mark Pomerleau, Fifth Domain

Cost Estimates Questioned for New Navy Frigate
Jon Harper, National Defense Magazine

Navy’s $7.7B IT Services Contract Clears Three Protests
Aaron Boyd, Nextgov

British MoD shortlists four vendor teams for its multibillion-dollar Skynet satellite program
Andrew Chuter, Defense News

A weapon system ‘raises its hand’ if available under DARPA program
Andrew Eversden, C4ISRNET

GSA procurement modernization continues with point-of-sale task order award
Dave Nyczepir, FedScoop

DOD plans new JEDI amendment
Adam Mazmanian, FCW

DOD wants to overhaul its software development by 2025
Lauren C. Williams, FCW

 

Events (Recent Recordings)

Defense One Tech Summit: R&D to the Front Lines
U.S. Department of Defense. Recorded June 16, 2020

 

Defense and Federal Government

Department of Defense Releases Defense Space Strategy
U.S. Department of Defense

Pentagon names new chief data officer
Andrew Eversden, C4ISRNET

In War, Chinese Shipyards Could Outpace US in Replacing Losses; Marine Commandant
Paul McLeary, Breaking Defense

Turkey Now Has Swarming Suicide Drones It Could Export
Joseph Trevithick, The War Zone

DoD ‘Agile’ Software Development Still Too Slow: GAO
Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense

Marines Considering Adding Land-Based Hypersonic Weapons to Arsenal
Megan Eckstein, USNI News

Fifty-four scientists have lost their jobs as a result of NIH probe into foreign ties
Jeffrey Mervis, Science Magazine

China delays launch to complete GPS-like Beidou network
The Associated Press, C4ISRNET

Here’s what to expect from the Army’s new electronic warfare effort
Mark Pomerleau, C4ISRNET

 

COVID-19 and Contracting

COVID-19 Response—Contract Data Update
Jerry McGinn and Eric Lofgren, George Mason University Center for Government Contracting

Will US foreign military sales catch the coronavirus?
Joe Gould, Defense News

Pentagon IG offers advice for effective contracting during pandemic
Jared Serbu, Federal News Network

Space Force invokes Defense Production Act to prop up small launch market
Nathan Strout, C4ISRNET

 

Policy Update

DoD Enterprise DevSecOps Reference Design (August 2019)
Department of Defense (DoD) Chief Information Officer
 

Commentary

Spending Smart or Spending Big: The Value of Systematic Assessments of Weapons Procurement
Peter A. Wilson and John V. Parachini, RAND Corporation

The narrowing of the defense-industrial base has reached critical levels
Steven P. Bucci, Defense News

Look at Great Power Competition Through a Special Operations Lens
Kevin Bilms and Christopher P. Costa, Defense One

 

Congress

DoD reports would be public under new amendment to must-pass defense bill
Joe Gould, Defense News

Inhofe to introduce new legislation that could cost Ligado
Aaron Mehta and Joe Gould, C4ISRNET

 

June 12, 2020

Noteworthy in Issue #12:  The Senate Armed Services Committee has completed its markup of the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act. We include the executive summary of that bill as well as many articles summarizing key details. Special Operations Command admits that acquisition needs to be reorganized around digital capabilities, or as James Smith puts it “things that are software defined and hardware enabled,” rather than vice versa. And we congratulate the Graduate School of Defense Management at NPS for its renewed accreditation with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Enjoy, and keep letting us know if you have work we can highlight in future issues. 

 

ARP Research: Symposium Spotlight

Panel #8: Acquisition Education: Changing Perspectives and Techniques

Learning from Experience: Acquisition Professional Education for this Century
Charles K Pickar (Naval Postgraduate School)

  • Micro-abstract: This paper suggests three themes to consider as we look to improving weapons systems development and acquisition workforce development: the project manager and leadership team, experiential learning, and wargaming in in the learning environment.  Read the paper.

PEO AICS and PAINS, DAU’s Senior Dynamic Cross-Functional Multi-Program Leadership Simulation
John Driessnack (Defense Systems Management College), Patrick Barker (DSMC/DAU)

  • Micro-abstract: In support of Mission Assist efforts with several major acquisition programs, the Defense Systems Management College (DSMC) developed a simulation emulating a fictional portfolio of multiprogram schema within a program executive officer (PEO) organizational structure. Read the paper.

Assessing the Relationship of Training, Education, and Experience to Workforce Readiness and Program Performance
Raymond Jones (Naval Postgraduate School), Kevin Carman (Defense Acquisition University - West)

  • Micro-abstract: A lifelong learning model that emphasizes complementary training and education at the right time may be more effective for the high performing acquisition workforce member! Read the presentation.

See more research in the full Proceedings of the 17th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium: https://event.nps.edu/conf/app/researchsymposium/home#!/page/148

 

This Week’s Top Story

Special Operations Command is reorganizing to focus on software and AI
Andrew Eversden and Nathan Strout, C4ISR Net

Special Operations Command has formally created a new program executive office that is dedicated to software June 1. The command’s head of acquisitions said the organization is reorganizing as it shifts its focus to software-defined systems and artificial intelligence.

“I have made the decision to reorganize SOF (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) slightly in respect to the National Defense Strategy,” said James Smith, the command’s acquisition executive. “The first thing we did was decide to stand up a PEO for SOF Digital Applications.”

Smith acknowledged the decision was made in response to shortcomings when it comes to developing artificial intelligence and machine learning for Special Forces applications.

“The idea that the SOF acquisition force sucks when it comes to artificial intelligence and machine learning--okay, guilty … this is our major effort to get better, to build competency,” said Smith. “I am looking to this PEO to start to lead us and lead the Department of Defense in excellence in acquisition of software to include artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

The new PEO represents a shift for the command as it looks to embrace a more software-forward approach. “Everything I’ve asked you for over the last decade has been hardware defined and then software enabled,” Smith told members of industry. “We really need to move to a relationship where I’m asking you for things that are software defined and hardware enabled.”

Read more.

  

NPS and ARP News

Graduate School of Defense Management at Naval Postgraduate School Earns Extended Accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Acquisition Research Program at Naval Postgraduate School

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) awarded five more years of accreditation to the Graduate School of Defense Management (GSDM) at Naval Postgraduate School. In doing so, the AACSB recognizes the GSDM’s commitment to quality graduate education that continuously adapts to meet the needs of military professionals. The peer review team and the Continuous Improvement Review Committee identified 11 specific commendations and best practices that demonstrate leadership and continuous improvement in management education.

Among the 11 initiatives identified in AACSB’s letter are several efforts supported by the Acquisition Research Program. The program closely supports dozens of student thesis projects each year, which the AACSB lauded as “clearly linked to the Navy, Department of Defense, or program sponsors’ activities” and as “highly relevant to the future careers of students in national defense.” ARP also hosts the Annual Acquisition Research Symposium, which AACSB highlights as providing “leadership and impact to the profession in the acquisitions and federal contracting area.”

Read more.

 

Acquisition and Innovation

Classification of FFRDCs Now Classified as Spend Under Management (SUM) Tier
GSA Acquisition Gateway

2020 federal contract spending on track to top last year
Tom Temin and Larry Allen, Federal News Network

GAO: Navy Needs More Risk Awareness to Prevent Cost, Schedule Overruns
Ben Werner, USNI News

TRANSCOM pulls back $7 billion contract to privatize military household goods moves
Karen Jowers, Military Times

Roper Pushes Moving Project Maven To Air Force
Theresa Hitchens, Breaking Defense

GSA awards $7.5M contract-writing system pilot as procurement modernization continues
Dave Nyczepir, FedScoop

DOD, GSA to Rethink $8B DEOS Cloud Contract—Again
Frank Konkel, Nextgov

Next-Gen Air Dominance Acquisition Plan Coming Soon
John A. Tirpak, Air Force Magazine

 

Events (Upcoming and Recent Recordings)

Storytelling & Wargame Design with Maurice Suckling
Georgetown University Wargaming Society, July 8, 2020

“Leadership from the Battlefield to the Boardroom:” Virtual Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture with Admiral William H. McRaven
Naval Postgraduate School, June 23, 2020

 

Research and Higher Education

Navy Higher Education Developing COVID-19 Mitigation Plans For Fall
Ben Werner, USNI News

 

Defense and Federal Government

Coronavirus Resource: How Your Agency Is Reopening
Federal News Network

FedRAMP kicks off fourth new initiative thanks to 2019 Ideation Challenge
Jason Miller, Federal News Network

Four areas SOCOM’s chief information officer wants to modernize
Andrew Eversden, C4ISRNET

Investigation finds interagency group lacked authority to oversee Chinese telecom companies
Jason Miller, Federal News Network

The Pentagon Can’t Afford All of the Weapons It Wants, New Report Says
Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One

Army Study Asks: How Much Modernization Can We Afford?
Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense

GAO Chides DoD For Absence Of Cybersecurity Requirements
Theresa Hitchens, Breaking Defense

Soldiers are finally getting a robot mule that can haul 1,000 pounds of gear
Jared Keller, Task and Purpose

Special Operations Command wants to upgrade its data analytics platform
Andrew Eversden, C4ISRNET

 

Policy and Regulatory Update

Future of the Federal IT Workforce Update
Federal CIO Council

 

COVID-19 and Contracting

Defense industry aid in limbo as new COVID package drags
Joe Gould, Defense News

Defense industry’s COVID costs could tank DoD modernization plans
Joe Gould, Defense News

Full Committee Hearing: “Department of Defense COVID-19 Response to Defense Industrial Base Challenges” – Testimony from the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Ellen Lord (video)
House Armed Services Committee

Pentagon announces $135M in deals under Defense Production Act
J. Edward Moreno, The Hill
 

Congress

SASC Complete Markup of Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act
Senate Committee on Armed Services

Executive Summary: Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act
Senate Armed Services Committee

Senate Confirms Brown to Lead Air Force in Historic Vote
Rachel S. Cohen, Air Force Magazine

Senate panel OKs $6 billion military fund to confront China
Joe Gould, Defense News

Defense bill turns into proxy battle over Floyd protests
Rebecca Kheel, The Hill

Defense bill to include billion dollars for pandemic response and preparedness
Joe Gould, Defense News

Senate’s defense bill looks to pump money into shipbuilding suppliers
David B. Larter and Joe Gould, Defense News

June 5, 2020

ARP Research: Symposium Spotlight

Panel #2: Ship Building Acquisition and Sustainment

Technology Insertion OODA Loop Strategy for future Flexible Surface Warship Acquisition and Sustainment
Michael Good (DELTA Resources, Inc), Glen Sturtevant (PEO Ships)

  • Micro-abstract: In the same way that Colonel John Boyd, USAF, developed and applied the concept of an OODA Loop (a decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act) to combat operations, a construct for a Navy Warship Acquisition OODA Loop can provide a model of individual and organizational learning and adaptation.  Read the paper.  

Decisions Made During Acquisition Have Lasting Effects on Navy Ship Sustainment
Diana Moldafsky (GAO), Larri Fish (Government Accountability Office)

  • Micro-abstract:  The GAO found that shipbuilding programs’ requirements for sustainment reflect weaknesses with how DoD policy defines these requirements for ships. Sustainment requirements should influence acquisition decisions that determine the sustainability of a ship class, such as the ship’s design.  Read the paper and presentation.

Design for Sustainment: Governance Engineering in Major Acquisition Programs​
William Baker (U.S. Navy), Lucas Marino (AECOM), Joseph Bradley (Patrona Corporation), Kaitlynn Castelle (Patrona Corporation)

  • Micro-abstract: We report on the efforts to use agile development to develop a pilot sustainment system to provide integrated logistics support to the future fleet. Read the paper.         

See more research in the full Proceedings of the 17th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium.

 

This Week’s Top Story

Here’s the newest price tag for DoD’s arsenal of equipment
Aaron Mehta, Defense News

The Defense Department’s portfolio of 121 key defense acquisition programs now has a price tag of $1.86 trillion, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

The number comes from the GAO’s annual assessment of Pentagon acquisition, delivered to the public on Wednesday. The figure involves a 4 percent increase over the previous year but also factors in, for the first time, 15 major IT investments ($15.1 billion) and 13 middle-tier acquisition programs ($19.5 billion).

The vast majority comes from 93 major defense acquisition programs, or MDAP, worth $1.82 trillion. Of those, 85 MDAPs worth a total of $1.8 trillion are already underway, with the rest expected to enter production in the near future. The $1.8 trillion figure marks the largest level of investment in MDAPs since 2011, and an increase of $44 billion over the department’s 2018 MDAP portfolio.

The current MDAP portfolio has accumulated more than $628 billion in cost growth over the life of its programs — or 54 percent more than the projected cost when programs began — with schedule growth overshooting targets by 29 percent at an average capability delivery delay of more than two years.

Read more.

 

Acquisition and Innovation

SOCOM Looking To Bake In AI Requirements On Every New Program
Paul McLeary, Breaking Defense

Federal procurement spending up $120B since 2015
Jason Miller, Federal News Network

The Navy has 10 new information warfare projects
Mark Pomerleau, C4ISR Net

Shipbuilding suppliers need more than market forces to stay afloat
Bryan Clark and Timothy A. Walton, Defense News

Air Force could dole out nearly $27 billion in first round of ABMS contracts
Nathan Strout, C4ISR Net

SOCOM Multi-Mission Plane Competition Heats Up
Theresa Hitchens, Breaking Defense

Navy Marine Corps Acquisition Regulation Supplement (NMCARS) Challenge
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Procurement)

Automation is advancing in federal acquisition
Mark Rockwell, FCW

 

Events (Upcoming and Recent Recordings)

Agility Prime: Collaborative Research and Development
June 10, 2020, 1:00-2:30 EDT

Hacking for Defense® Educators Course (Virtual)
First online session: June 17, 2020

How to Engage with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Research Ecosystem
June 19, 2020

Dcode Virtual: Navy Assistant Secretary James “Hondo” Geurts
Recorded May 14, 2020

 

Research and Higher Education

Benchmarking Data Use and Analytics in Large, Complex Private-Sector Organizations: Implications for Department of Defense Acquisition
Jeffrey A. Drezner, Jon Schmid, Justin Grana, Megan McKernan, Mark Ashby (RAND Corporation)

The Call for Decision Science: Why All Sailors and Marines Should Care
David Laszcz, Real Clear Defense

Students Across Navy’s Educational Enterprise Exchange Big Ideas
MC2 Nathan K. Serpico, Naval Postgraduate School

Military service academies plan for students’ return in fall
Brian Witte, The Associated Press

Joint Chiefs Vision Changes Military Education Philosophy
Department of Defense Press Release

 

Defense and Federal Government

Historic nomination of first black service chief to move forward after lawmaker lifts secret hold
Joe Gould, Valerie Insinna, and Leo Shane III; Defense News

Watch: General Brown remarks (Twitter video)

CNO Message to Sailors (video)

In his fight to change the Corps, America’s top Marine takes friendly fire
David B. Larter, Defense News

US joins G7 artificial intelligence group to counter China
Matt O'Brien, The Associated Press

China’s missile and space tech is creating a defensive bubble difficult to penetrate
Mike Yeo, Defense News

Costs of Creating a Space National Guard
Congressional Budget Office

Interim director takes over Joint Artificial Intelligence Center
Nathan Strout, C4ISR Net

Pentagon names seven new bases for 5G test beds
Andrew Eversden, C4ISR Net

 

 

COVID-19 and Contracting

DOD Announces Two Defense Production Act Title 3 COVID-19 Projects to Support the Space Defense Industrial Base: $12.45 Million Investment to Improve Domestic Semiconductor Production and $6 Million to Expand Domestic Production of Satellite Solar Array Panels
U.S. Department of Defense Press Release

Pentagon taps $688 million in coronavirus aid for defense industry
Joe Gould, Defense News

Special Report on Best Practices and Lessons Learned for DoD Contracting Officials in the Pandemic Environment (DODIG-2020-085)
Department of Defense Office of Inspector General

 

Policy and Regulatory Update

Federal Acquisition Regulation: Policy on Joint Ventures
Federal Register

Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Repeal of Annual Reporting Requirements to Congressional Defense Committees (DFARS Case 2020-D004)
Federal Register

 

Congress

Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Thornberry Announce Markup Schedule for Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act
House Armed Services Committee

Inhofe, Reed Announce FY 2021 NDAA Markup Schedule
Senate Committee on Armed Services

Support Swells For New Indo-Pacom Funding; Will Money Follow
Paul McLeary, Breaking Defense

Would the White House consider a national cyber director?
Andrew Eversden, Fifth Domain

Lawmakers want must-pass defense bill to protect protesters from the military
Joe Gould, Defense News

AFGE urges Congress to back labor priorities in defense bill
Lia Russell, FCW

Navy Lacks ‘Clear Theory of Victory’ Needed to Build New Fleet, Experts Tell House Panel
Sam LaGrone, USNI News

 


May 29, 2020

Noteworthy in Issue #10: The next round of papers from our research symposium turns attention to the art of contract management from three perspectives. In the news: SASC leaders want DoD to try a new way to budget and manage capabilities in the Indo-Pacific theater; acquiring AI continues to present challenges; and China-U.S. relations take a policy turn. As always, keep letting us know if you have work we can highlight in future issues. 

 

ARP Research: Symposium Spotlight

Panel #20: Contemporary Challenges in Contract Management

Non-Competitive Contracting: Lessons from Contracting Personnel
Latika Hartmann (Naval Postgraduate School), Josh Cissell (Contract Manager, F-22 Modernization/F-119 Sustainment), Rene Rendon (Naval Postgraduate School)

  • Micro-abstract: We survey a small group of Air Force contracting personnel to understand their views on contracting in sole-source environments. Our findings suggest Air Force contracting personnel in this setting know that sellers in noncompetitive relationships have more leverage and power than the buyer.
  • Read the paper and presentation.  

Evaluating the Impact of Contracting “Tripwires” on Service Acquisitions
William Lucyshyn (Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise), Samuel Quist (University of Maryland)

  • Micro-abstract: The report evaluates how tripwire implementation, on the whole and in specific instances, has impacted acquisition outcomes and examines the empirical basis for specific tripwire thresholds and their approval authorities.
  • Read the paper.

A Rendezvous with Discretion: An Analysis of Federal Simplified Acquisition Procedure Contracts
Benjamin Brunjes (University of Washington)

  • Micro-abstract: This paper assesses how federal contracting officials use discretion afforded via simplified acquisition procedures (SAP) to influence equity and performance.
  • Read the paper.        

See more research in the full Proceedings of the 17th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium: https://event.nps.edu/conf/app/researchsymposium/home#!/page/148

 

This Week’s Top Story

The Pacific Deterrence Initiative: Peace Through Strength in the Indo-Pacific
Sen. Jim Inhofe and Sen. Jack Reed

The best way to protect U.S. security and prosperity in Asia is to maintain a credible balance of military power. But America’s ability to do so is at risk. And it’s not just U.S. interests at stake. Allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific are watching closely, and wondering whether they will be able to count on America.

With the stakes so high, the time for action is now. That’s why this year we intend to establish a Pacific Deterrence Initiative in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The Pacific Deterrence Initiative will enhance budgetary transparency and oversight, and focus resources on key military capabilities to deter China. The initiative will also reassure U.S. allies and partners, and send a strong signal to the Chinese Communist Party that the American people are committed to defending U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific.

What the Pacific Deterrence Initiative Will Do

The Pentagon is taking challenges in the Indo-Pacific seriously, and has made some important progress implementing the National Defense Strategy in the region. That’s especially true when it comes to rebuilding readiness and investing in modernization. Unfortunately, the progress to date has been insufficient to achieve the “urgent change at significant scale” that is required. The Pacific Deterrence Initiative will improve the implementation of the National Defense Strategy in the Indo-Pacific, and incentivize the Pentagon to better prioritize the region in its annual budget process.

First, the Pacific Deterrence Initiative will enhance budgetary transparency and congressional oversight. The National Defense Strategy refocused the Pentagon on strategic competition with China and Russia, elevating the priority of the Indo-Pacific and European theaters. But while translating regional priorities into budget priorities is a critical aspect of implementing the National Defense Strategy, it’s also a major challenge for the current Pentagon budget process.

The United States needs to shift the balance from the current focus on platforms and programs toward the specific missions its warfighters may be called upon to perform. A mission-oriented approach will bring more attention to the joint and enabling capabilities that are essential to their success.

Read more.

 

Acquisition and Innovation

The Pentagon’s artificial intelligence hub wants unilateral acquisition power
Andrew Eversden, C4ISR Net

Army seeking technologies that will better ‘harness’ its data
Jackson Barnett, FedScoop

Space Acquisition: Speed May Not Fix Problems, Critics Say
Theresa Hitchens, Breaking Defense

F-35 Costs Drop for Building Jets But Rise for Operating Them
Anthony Capaccio, Bloomberg

DoD moves AI development to Air Force’s Cloud One as JEDI protest drags on
Jared Serbu and Scott Maucione, Federal News Network

CMMC looks to clear up questions about cybersecurity assessors
Jackson Barnett, FedScoop

A Snapshot of Government-wide Contracting for FY 2019 (infographic)
U. S. Government Accountability Office

 

Events (Upcoming and Recent)

Government Contract Pricing Summit
Hosted by ProPricing. June 24-25, 2020.

Challenges to the Industrial Base during Covid-19
Center for Strategic and International Studies.  Recorded May 28, 2020.

AI, Defense, and Intelligence: A Conversation with JAIC Director Lt. Gen. John N.T. “Jack” Shanahan
Center for Strategic and International Studies.  Recorded May 29, 2020.

 

Research and Higher Education

10 Predictions for Higher Education’s Future
John Kroger, Inside Higher Ed

2020 Annual Report: Additional Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Billions in Financial Benefits
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Prioritizing Weapon System Cybersecurity in a Post-Pandemic Defense Department
Morgan Dwyer, Center for Strategic and International Studies

 

Defense and Federal Government

Focus on US as main opponent, says China military strategist
Matt Ho, South China Morning Post

Here’s the Pentagon’s plan to help the US stay ahead on 5G
Jackson Barnett, FedScoop

New Cyber Office Will Unify NAVSEA’s Digital Efforts
Megan Eckstein, USNI News

Will defense budgets remain ‘sticky’ after the COVID-19 pandemic?
Eric Lofgren, Defense News

Marine Corps to Shut Down, Cut Back 7 MOSs as the Force Prepares for Change
Gina Harkins, Military.com

Here’s Big Navy’s COVID-19 deployment guidance
Geoff Ziezulewicz, Navy Times

 

COVID-19 and Contracting

Did acquisition restrictions exacerbate PPE supply challenges?
Mike Hettinger and Richard Beutel

Some major Army programs slip due to coronavirus effect
Scott Maucione, Federal News Network

The Pentagon has spent 23% of its COVID-19 response funds. Congress is asking why not more.
Joe Gould, Defense News

 

Policy

United States Strategic Approach to The People’s Republic of China
Office of the President of the United States

 

Congress

Senate’s NDAA markup is two weeks away. How will the pandemic change things?
Joe Gould, Defense News

Inhofe, Reed back new military fund to confront China
Joe Gould and Aaron Mehta, Defense News

HASC leadership outlines ‘concerns’ over Ligado in new letter
Aaron Mehta and Mike Gruss, C4ISR Net

May 22, 2020

Noteworthy in Issue #9: We continue to provide highlights from our 17th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium, sharing research on how DoD can build on current innovations in acquisition. This week’s top story explains the Space Force’s proposed acquisition system, which shows marked parallels with recommendations made by the Section 809 Panel. We point you to those recommendations, noting those files are now hosted by both ARP and DTIC. And a theme in this week’s news: contracting for artificial intelligence in the DoD.

 

ARP Research: Symposium Spotlight


Panel #15: Enabling Innovation Ecosystems in Defense Acquisition

Understanding the Incentives for Small Businesses to Participate in the Acquisition Process for R&D Intensive Products
Vivek Bhattacharya (Northwestern University)

Micro abstract: DoD could incentivize more firms to enter the procurement process by changing the structure of the SBIR program itself rather than changing the broader defense procurement ecosystem.  Read the Paper.         View the Presentation.

 

The Role of New Defense Innovation Intermediaries and the Emerging Defense Innovation Ecosystem
Jon Wong and Jon Schmid (RAND Corporation)

Micro abstract: We conducted analysis on the functions purported to be performed by a set of defense innovation intermediaries (DIIs). Based on analysis of publicly available resources, the DIIs considered here do not report to perform three functions: equity investment, patient capital, and alumni management.  Read the Paper.

 

Harnessing Rapid Innovative Culture to Invigorate the Adaptive Acquisition Framework​
Matthew MacGregor, Colleen Murphy, Jen Choi, and Ryan Novak (MITRE)

Micro abstract: The Adaptive Acquisition Framework provides an opportunity for programs to exercise creativity in a way not possible for many years. It will take acquisition professionals time to grasp the nuances of the options available to them. Acquisition leaders need to encourage their people to explore and use flexibilities and resist the urge to impose restrictions.  Read the Paper.

 

This Week’s Top Story


Space Force proposes ‘alternative acquisition system’ with less red tape
Sandra Erwin, Space News

The U.S. Space Force on May 20 delivered a report to congressional committees asking for changes in the rules that currently are in place for buying new weapon systems.

Congress in the legislation that established the U.S. Space Force directed Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett to propose an “alternative acquisition system” for the new service. The report was written by Barrett, the top civilian leader for the Air Force and the Space Force, with input from the chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force Gen. John Raymond.

The report argues that many of the Pentagon’s rules for procurement programs create unnecessary burdens and squelch innovation. The current systems “produces systems that take too long to develop and deploy, cost more than expected, and yield exquisite point solutions to fulfill stable requirements for a closed architecture.”

The United States has to modernize fast to keep up with adversaries, Barrett says in the report. “Space threats demand a shift to a system that more broadly delivers agile solutions.”

The report proposes nine specific actions:

  • Delegate oversight
  • Flexibility in budgeting
  • Change the definition of “new start”
  • Fewer budget line items
  • Simplify Pentagon reviews
  • Reduce reporting requirements
  • Change how “end items” are defined
  • Separate Space Force topline budget
  • Create separate head of contracting

Read more.

 

Section 809 Panel Updates


A number of the changes proposed for Space Force’s alternate acquisition parallel recommendations made by the Section 809 Panel, particularly the budget recommendations to group investments by portfolios and to allow new starts during a continuing resolution. See those recommendations online.

Recommendation 52: Permit the initiation of all new starts, provided Congress has appropriated sufficient funding.

Recommendation 36: Transition from a program-centric execution model to a portfolio execution model.

Read more of the panel’s recommendations on portfolio management and the budget process in the full Volume 3 Report. Visit the Section 809 Panel page hosted by the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) and click on the tab for “Volume 3.”

 

Events


Former CNO Mullen Talks Leadership, National Security Challenges in a Post-COVID-19 World
MC2 Tom Tonthat, Naval Postgraduate School

Years of leadership experience as a Naval officer, culminating as the Navy's Chief of Naval Operations then as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Navy Adm. Mike Mullen offered his views on requirements of leaders and national security issues in the post-COVID-19 world during the Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) first virtual Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture (SGL), May 19.

Click the link to read more and watch recorded video of this week’s event.

 

The Big Ideas Exchange (BIX)
An NPS initiative that brings forward new and potentially game-changing thinking developed by NPS faculty and students to address grand challenges in American national security.

Next event: May 27, 2020.

 

Artificial Intelligence in the DoN
View recording from this week’s NavalX event discussing Artificial Intelligence in the Department of the Navy.

 

Acquisition and Innovation


Booz Allen Hamilton wins massive Pentagon artificial intelligence contract
Andrew Eversden, C4ISR Net

A Pentagon Procurement Program That Seems Doomed to Fail
Dan Gouré, Real Clear Defense

These eight satellites will track hypersonic weapons
Nathan Strout, C4ISR Net

Citing TransDigm, DoD seeks new acquisition powers, and trade groups oppose
Joe Gould, Defense News

JAIC needs its own acquisition authority within next two years, Shanahan says
Jackson Branett, FedScoop

Emerging and Disruptive Technology: Workshop on NATO engagement with Non-Defence Technology Companies
North Atlantic Treaty Organization

What Google’s New Contract Reveals About the Pentagon’s Evolving Clouds
Patrick Tucker, Defense One

Navy hopes new NGEN contract will lead to ‘domain singularity’
Jared Serbu, Federal News Network

 

Research and Higher Education


Finally Getting Serious About Professional Military Education
James Lacey, War on the Rocks

A culture of learning: Why the Marine Corps is promoting education, training in its new doctrine
Diana Stancy Correll, Marine Times

Can College Be Saved in the COVID-19 Era?
John Kroger, Inside Higher Ed

Building a Broader Evidence Base for Defense Acquisition Policymaking
Elizabeth M. Bartels, Jeffrey A. Drezner, and Joel B. Predd (RAND Corporation)

 

Defense and Federal Government


Pentagon legislation aims to end dependence on China for rare earth minerals
Joe Gould, Defense News

Coronavirus pushed Air Force to move industry engagements online. Officials wish it had been sooner.
Jared Serbu, Federal News Network

TTS’s demand has grown ‘significantly’ during the pandemic, Anil Cheriyan says
Billy Mitchell, FedScoop

Navy still sees ship maintenance delays despite new contracting strategy
Caitlin M. Kenney, Stars and Stripes

STRIKEWERX Aimed at Quick-Turn Fixes to Global Strike Problems
John A. Tirpak, Air Force Magazine

 

COVID-19 and Contracting


Lockheed slated to miss F-35 delivery target in 2020 as supply chain struggles to keep up
Valerie Insinna, Defense News

Federal Data Strategy Deadlines Shift Due to COVID-19
Aaron Boyd, NextGov

3M billed government $7.63 for 85-cent earplugs. It now has $1 billion COVID contract
Tara Copp, McClatchy

The White House Is Rewriting Contracting Language to Clarify Security Liability
Marian Baksh, NextGov

 

Policy and Regulatory Updates


Delegating Authority Under the Defense Production Act to the Chief Executive Officer of the United States International Development Finance Corporation To Respond to the COVID-19 Outbreak