Facilitating Effective Reform in Army Acquisition
This documented briefing examines both the acceptance/progress of current acquisition reform efforts and the factors affecting the support for these efforts within the Army's acquisition work force. Acquisition reform, in this context, is limited to three initiatives: (1) the discontinued use of military specifications and standards, (2) the use of integrated product teams (IPTs), and (3) greater use of government-industry "partnerships" in the procurement process. The data used in this study were gathered through detailed interviews with and surveys of acquisition personnel in the military, government, and private sectors. Although milspec and standard reform have strong support within the work force, the data suggest that resistance to reform efforts is largely related to one's functional domain within the work force. In general, beliefs about how eliminating milspecs and standards affects product quality, life-cycle costs, and current program costs were the most important predictor of whether or not a worker "supported" the elimination. Support is also strong for greater use of IPTs within the acquisition process, although there is much room for improvement in implementing them. Finally, greater cooperation with industry — in the form of "partnerships" — is supported within the acquisition work force. However, the full use of partnerships has been hampered by significant organizational and process barriers. Chief among these are a lack of trust between government and industry, inflexible requirements, functional resistance, and inadequate past performance data. Overcoming these factors may rely greatly on the success of the other reform efforts (milspec and standard elimination and IPTs) as well as the refinement of existing contractor certification processes.