US House Democrats Finalize Sweeping Defense Acquisition Reform Plan

US House Democrats Finalize Sweeping Defense Acquisition Reform Plan

A moderate US House Democratic group is pushing a sweeping overhaul of the Pentagon’s acquisition system, but a key member says incremental changes are most likely.

The New Democratic Coalition (NDC), a 55-member group that touts itself as the “pro-growth, fiscally responsible wing” or the party, is floating to House Armed Services Committee members 10 pages of findings and recommendations to “streamline and upgrade the acquisitions process.”

The coalition’s report, obtained by Defense News’ CongressWatch, applauds the Defense Department’s acquisition corps. But, in blunt language, states, “it is clear that acquisition reforms are needed.”

Collectively, the recommendations are intended to “address specific acquisition changes that would benefit the acquisition system, without claiming to address every problem,” states the NDC report.

“Our hope is this … should yield some solid improvements over time. I believe this is going to be an evolving work in progress,” Rep. Derek Kilmer of Washington, a New Democratic Coalition member, told CongressWatch Tuesday.

“By no means do I see this as the comprehensive approach,” said Kilmer,” also a House Armed Services Committee member. “I have no grand notions that [the report] is going to fix this once and for all. We’re trying to do our part to stabilize the environment in which acquisitions occur.”

There have been hundreds of congressional, think tank and Pentagon studies aimed at repairing the military’s troubled acquisition system, which routinely churns out weapon systems that far exceed budget and schedule plans while often falling short of total fleet-size projections.

The group’s work showed Kilmer that the current DoD buying system “doesn’t optimize for anybody,” including the military, industry “and the taxpayer.”

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