There's a move afoot in Congress to fix acquisition troubles at the Pentagon.
You've heard about the troubles -- multibillion-dollar cost overruns, chronic delays and piles of computer code that doesn't work the way it should -- so I won't bore you with those details.
What's new are proposals by the House Armed Services Committee, in their authorizing language, to improve matters. According to a piece by Elizabeth Newell in Government Executive, the committee has recommended hiring more acquisition personnel and improving their career paths.
Those and other suggestions come from a study released last year, which included some very sensible suggestions. Here's Newell's account of that report.
"The commission, led by Jacques Gansler, former undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, released a comprehensive report in November 2007 on contracting issues facing the Army. The Armed Services Committee added three provisions to the authorization bill to implement Gansler Commission recommendations.
"'Many of these changes are countercultural to military tendencies, so it generally helps for Congress to say, you have to do it,' Gansler said. 'The Army has been moving in the right direction, but this will accelerate the process.'"
Make no mistake, these are some chronic and systemic problems, many of which are related to massive jobs cuts and "procurement reforms" implemented during the Clinton administration.
Some of those chickens, as they say, are coming home to roost, it seems. The question is: How will the government find a way to provide the kind oversight is should of taxpayer money if the government steadfastly refuses to hire more procurement people and train them well?
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