How DoD is using new authorities to cut costs, streamline operations

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Frank Kendall, former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and executive in residence at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, discusses the impact new authorities have on acquisition at the Pentagon.


Acquisition reform is one of the three priorities laid out in the latest National Defense Strategy. After Congress granted the Department of Defense new authorities, the service chiefs say that they’re seeing results. Frank Kendall, former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and executive in residence at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, says that it’s important to build programs well instead of jumping onto “fad” rapid acquisition practices.

“There isn’t any form of acquisition magic that is going to fundamentally change things. Right now, there’s a strong belief that there is. And it’s being used a basis to structure programs. I’m seeing, out of all of the services, very high-risk acquisition strategies which to me look unexecutable. Asking industry to do things that can’t be done, and it will force people to cut corners,” Kendall said. “I saw this in spades on the Army’s Future Combat System several years ago, they will cut more corners, take more risks and they will have more problems because of that. It is a recipe for future problems.”