Thursday, December 11, 2014

Acquisition Reform? What Insiders Really Think

Last October, the Government Business Council, a research arm of Government Executive (see below for information on Government Executive) conducted a poll of 378 Defense Department employees to gauge their confidence in a number of acquisition related matters. The majority of those polled do not believe that the Pentagon's acquisition reforms (e.g. Better Buying Power) are working.

Here are some of the results:

  • Only 30 percent of those surveyed are confident or very confident that the defense acquisition process provides the military the tools it needs to achieve its strategic objectives.
  • Only 44 percent are confident or very confident that defense contractors will be able to ensure the military's technological edge through innovation.
  •  Hardly anyone, only 8 percent (and 9 percent of polled workers who are in the acquisition/procurement field) are confident or very confident that the Pentagon's Better Buying Power initiative will resolve major defense acquisition problems. 
Concerning questions as to whether the acquisition workforce possess the skills and competencies needed to do their jobs, the results varied by function. For program management, 56 percent of the respondents feel that they have the necessary skills and competencies. For engineering and technical skills, that percentage rose to 64 percent. For contract management however, that confidence drops to 55 percent. One aspect of these poll numbers is that in each of these skill categories, there was 5 to 10 percent of the respondents who didn't know whether they possessed adequate skills and competencies. That should be worrisome.

These results do not really surprise us - procurement personnel have been through reform after reform after reform, and nothing seems to substantially change. In fact, more regulation pile up every week.

You can read more about the Government Executive survey by clicking here. is a government business news daily and calls itself the premier website for federal managers and executives. Government Executive magazine is a monthly business magazine serving senior executives and managers in the federal government's departments and agencies.

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