Thornberry

Defense acquisition reform took another step forward this month with the launch of HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry’s “discussion draft” of legislation that will work its way into the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act.  Chairman Thornberry continues to press with his commitment to an iterative, incremental drive for acquisition reform.  This year’s bill focuses on key priorities that complement the efforts of Secretary Carter and Under Secretary Kendall to capitalize on private-sector innovation.  The draft bill promotes experimentation and prototyping and takes some steps to attract nontraditional defense contractors into government contracting.

Unlike last year’s reform bill, however, this legislation has not yet garnered the support of HASC Ranking Member Adam Smith.  He and other commentators have argued that the bill’s language might actually increase bureaucratic oversight and constrain the military services’ existing procurement authorities.  In this post, we summarize the bill’s key provisions and discuss its potential path through Congress. 
Continue Reading HASC Chairman Proposes New Acquisition Reforms

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry is wasting no time in his efforts to build on last year’s reforms to the defense acquisition system.  Less than a year after he launched his opening salvo in a new round of changes, Chairman Thornberry previewed the year ahead with a recent hearing and a presentation at the National Press Club.

Chairman Thornberry plans to circulate draft reform legislation and incorporate the finished product into the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Emphasizing (once again) the themes of agility and innovation, the hearing featured the senior acquisition executives from each of the military departments.  Chairman Thornberry expressed particular interest in finding ways to support their drive for greater flexibility in experimentation and prototyping.
Continue Reading Acquisition Reform Ramps Up Early in 2016

Mac Thornberry is taking a sledgehammer to the Pentagon’s $600 hammer.

That particular bogeyman of wasteful defense spending never actually existed, but many real (and larger) inefficiencies continue to plague the defense procurement process.  Last month, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee released draft legislation designed to make fundamental reforms to the government’s acquisition of defense-related goods and services.  Chairman Thornberry’s bipartisan initiative, which he drafted with HASC Ranking Member Adam Smith, aims to increase the transparency, flexibility, and responsiveness of the defense acquisition system.  The Chairman launched his initiative before a standing-room-only audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he argued that the accelerating pace of technological development and the proliferation of strategic threats compel the need for rapid, comprehensive reform.  In this post, we review some highlights of the proposal and examine the potential implications for government contractors.

Continue Reading Another Attempt at Defense Procurement Reform Begins