Carter Says More Acquisition Reform Needed

While the acquisition system has improved since the advent of the Better Buying Power initiative, it still must be streamlined, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. While moving to make the service chiefs more involved in acquisition decision-making and accountability, Carter said the Pentagon must also evaluate, and potentially reduce, other members of the Defense Acquisition Board. Additionally, he said, the DOD must “reduce burdensome acquisition documentation,” and push approval authority lower down when a program is on track, in order to eliminate “redundant reviews,” shorten the review timeline, and field new gear sooner. In his speech on necessary updates to the Goldwater-Nichols Act, Carter also noted that while jointness is critical, the current requirements for joint duty assignments are “more narrow and rigid than they need to be.” To address that, Carter proposed expanding the definition of positions for which an officer can earn joint duty credit, and shortening the amount of time required to accumulate joint duty from three to two years. Carter used the example of two cyber airmen working at a combatant command, one doing cyber plans and one doing cyber targeting. Currently, only the airman doing cyber plans would receive joint credit, he said, and the proposed change would fix that while fulfilling “the true purpose of Goldwater-Nichols.”