DOD makes long-awaited updates to acquisition policy
- By Lauren C. Williams
- Jan 06, 2020
The Defense Department issued updates to mid-tier and urgent acquisition policies that allow the military to quickly develop prototypes and field systems. The policies took effect in the last days of 2019.
Reworking the DOD 5000 series instructions that govern acquisition practices has been a top priority for DOD acquisition chief Ellen Lord, who told reporters Dec. 10 the changes "the most transformational change to acquisition policy in decades."
The Pentagon has said it expects to publish the adaptive acquisition framework in January, which will include acquisition pathways specific to "the unique characteristics of the capability being acquired," Lord said.
The mid-tier acquisition instructions address rapid prototyping and fielding and are meant to serve as a path to "accelerate capability maturation before transitioning to another acquisition pathway or may be used to minimally develop a capability before rapidly fielding."
Lord said the new mid-tier instructions under an 18-month pilot facilitated a dramatic increase in the number of programs.
"Since our pilot started 18 months ago, we have gone from zero middle-tier programs in November 2018 to over 50 middle-tier programs today delivering military utility to warfighters years faster than the traditional acquisition system," Lord said in the media briefing.
The urgent instructions focus on capabilities needed during conflict that can be fielded in less than two years but cost less than $525 million in research and development funds or $3 billion for fiscal 2020 procurements.
Lord said the department's changes to the acquisition would make it easier for professionals to match programs with acquisition pathways as well as reduce lead time for pathfinder projects.
The rewrites for major capability, software, defense business systems and services acquisition are pending release.