Buying is Better

Defense acquisition chief Frank Kendall said he’s seeing positive results from the series of Better Buying Power initiatives. There are now “affordability targets or caps on” 30 major acquisition programs, he said at a Pentagon press conference on June 13. With “two or three exceptions,” those programs are all within their affordability goals, and the few that aren’t are “very, very close” to being where they should be, he said. Kendall said he dislikes the term acquisition reform, since it’s been a cliche of almost every leadership team at the Pentagon for decades. Instead, he said he prefers discrete, measurable steps that better define work, use better “incentives,” and use appropriate contracts. He’s “disappointed” that there’s not as much “direct competition” as he’d like, a result in part from “few new opportunities” with few new acquisition programs. “I think we can do better,” said Kendall. Even the “threat” of competition gets companies to perform better, especially if a government contract means a company staying in business, he said. (Kendall-Stackley transcript)