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Tailoring the Acquisition Process in the U.S. Department of Defense

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Regulations and guidance have permitted tailoring of the acquisition process as one of many ways in which the acquisition workforce can more efficiently achieve program objectives. Tailoring is frequently mentioned in regulations and guidance. In particular, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall s Better Buying Power BBP 2.0 implementation directive advises that the first responsibility of the acquisition workforce is to think . . . and not to automatically default to a perceived school solution Kendall, 2013, p. 1. BBP 3.0, the latest version of the BBP best practices, continues to address the theme of critical thinking in the U.S. Department of Defense s professional workforce Kendall, 2015, p. 2. Policy allows even encourages program managers to customize regulatorybased reviews, processes, and information requirements to accommodate the unique characteristics of a program while still meeting the regulations intent for appropriate decision criteria and oversight processes. The extent to which programs take advantage of opportunities to tailor processes and documentation is not clear, but anecdotal evidence suggests that tailoring is more difficult in practice than guidance suggests. Widespread use of tailoring appears to be constrained by a variety of factors inherent in defense acquisition. This exploratory research reviewed the literature and conducted interviews within the Office of the Secretary of Defense OSD and the RAND Corporation to begin to answer the following key questions regarding the use of tailoring Is tailoring practical and possible What are the constraints that make tailoring a challenge Are there examples of tailoring that demonstrate its usefulness and feasibility What set of skills or resources needs to be available to program managers for tailoring to be successful What other conditions need to exist for tailoring to be effective

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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