Defense Acquisition University Fort Belvoir United States
As the Department of Defense DOD pursues innovation in defense technologies, there has been an increasing interest in recent years to improve processes and methods to procurement techniques and strategies. The National Defense Strategy calls for reforming the business practices of DOD to increase performance Mattis, 2018. Additionally, Congress has directed significant transformation and expansion of acquisition authorities to facilitate contracting for innovation. The slow procurement process and long timelines continue to be a source of frustration for requirement activities. This paper explores the role of the contracting officer in the midst of the ongoing acquisition reform and makes a comparison of the intended role and how it needs to evolve in the future. This research used a qualitative literature review methodology that examines recent and relevant articles, reports and regulations that analyzes the role of the contracting professional. This analysis provides several recommendations that need to be considered to transform the contracting officers mindset along with the ongoing acquisition reform. It is clear that contracting officers can no longer rely on traditional roles but must seek to expand their function to one that includes multi-faceted competencies. As acquisition in DOD continues to transform, it is critical that the contracting professionals also evolve to meet the requirements of the future. Contracting officers must abandon the roles of compliance and process monitors that they have personated in recent decades and move towards returning to the originally intended role of trusted business advisor for our customers.