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Defense Acquisition University
New Acquisition and Contracting Frameworks Online
Written by: Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment
December 03, 2018
Speed and agility are critical elements for delivering military capabilities today. As acquisition professionals, we need to make sure we use the best available acquisition and contracting strategies to satisfy operational objectives.
This can be challenging as there are many pathways to choose from, and we are actively seeking to implement new authorities and reforms from recent legislation. Historically, we have tended to use a narrow set of pathways, either for convenience or due to a lack of familiarity with the full range of available options.
To address these challenges, we are prototyping and implementing new methods to communicate acquisition and contracting policy.
The first reference tool is the
Adaptive Acquisition Framework
, shown below
This simple graphic shows several of the acquisition pathways available today, and highlights the many different paths an acquisition program can follow. In conjunction with Defense Acquisition University (DAU), we just launched an interactive version of the framework on the DAU website as part of the
Digital Acquisition Prototype
. The online version lets users click through the details for each path. Additional pathways, tailored models, and new content will be added over time.
Critical thinking and “creative compliance” are vital to successful programs, so I encourage acquisition professionals to be deliberate as we select pathways to follow. While this framework is not a replacement of existing policy, it offers a different starting point to support acquisition decision-making. Over time, we will expand on this framework with structured guidance on how to effectively navigate each pathway, tailoring the processes, documentation, and reviews to the type of capability being acquired.
The second reference tool is the
shown below. It outlines the full spectrum of available contract strategies, both Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and non-FAR alternatives, in a single graphic. As with the Adaptive Acquisition Framework, the interactive digital version is also available as part of the
DAU Digital Acquisition Prototype
. Users can click through the accompanying details to support collaborative discussions about contracting strategy based on environment, constraints, and desired outcomes.
The goal of this image is to provide visibility into new or lesser known strategies, to include the new Defense Commercial Solutions Offering pilot or Procurement for Experimentation (title 10, U.S.C., section 2373).
These acquisition and contracting pathways are intended to help acquisition professionals navigate acquisition policy with greater knowledge, confidence, and success. We have a wide-array of policy flexibilities and configurations available to achieve program objectives and outcomes. Over the coming months, in collaboration with the Services, Agencies, and DAU, we plan to iterate on these reference tools and integrate them into policies and training.
My goal is to help you deliver better solutions faster. Achieving this goal requires all of us to do some critical thinking about acquisition and contracting strategies, and I hope these two new digital resources help the acquisition community do exactly that.
Ellen M. Lord is the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.