DOD Rewrite Speeds IT to Field

WASHINGTON (05/23/2000) - A new Pentagon acquisition regulation due for release in June will take into account the rapid advances in information technologies and aims to get systems to the field faster, Pentagon sources said.

Specific changes in New Acquisition Model: DOD 5000 - the Pentagon's capstone acquisition policy document - include provisions for:

* Focusing more on evolutionary technology development, rather than the more time-consuming and expensive development of revolutionary technologies.

* Including cost as a requirement that drives design, procurement and support.

* Increasing competition.

* Making interoperability, or data sharing among systems, a key performance requirement.

* Testing systems throughout the development cycle rather than just at the end.

* Fully funding a program no later than the beginning of the second phase, which is the development and demonstration phase.

* Improving software management.

* Emphasizing total system support and operational sustainment.

Pentagon officials offered a sneak preview of the acquisition policy changes May 22, the first day of Acquisition and Logistics Reform Week.

"We've been working closely with [the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence] and the services to emphasize the challenges posed by information technology's dynamic cycles and to offer them a more flexible approach," said Joe Ferrara, director of studies for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon.

Current acquisition processes take too long, cost too much and are incompatible with modern technology cycles, discouraging evolutionary approaches and innovations, Pentagon sources said.

Programs already in the second development or beyond likely will continue under the current acquisition policy; others will follow the new plan.

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