Get It Right Up Front

One of the best ways to speed up the acquisition process is to make sure a program gets off on the right foot, said Maj. Gen. Wendy Masiello, Air Force deputy assistant secretary for contracting, on Wednesday. Addressing an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast in Arlington, Va., Masiello said USAF is doing its utmost to get requirements “clear” right at the outset of a program, and keep them from changing. However, she said things will speed up tremendously if industry sends negotiators to the table who are “fully … empowered” to cut a deal, and who don’t have to “ask ‘momma or papa, may I?’” Contractors also have to speed their response to request for proposals and make sure they are fully thought through. On USAF’s part, she’s pushed negotiating teams to “keep talking” to contractors right up until RFPs are submitted; there should be no lack of communication, she said. If there is, she wants to hear about it.