Thursday, January 14, 2016

Better Buying Power's (BBP) Underlying Principles

The "Better Buying Power" (or BBP) catch-phrase used to label the Department of Defense's recent rounds of acquisition reforms should be familiar to most Defense contractors. The somewhat evolving list of initiatives began with BBP 1.0 in 2010. In 2012 more initiatives were added under BBP 2.0. Last year, the Department rolled out its current iteration of initiatives, BBP 3.0.

The DoD employees that comprise the Department's acquisition corps however do not fully appreciate these latter rounds of faddish fluff. To most of them, their daily lives are business as usual. The 2,000+ pages in the Federal Acquisition Regulations, the 1,000+ pages in the DoD FAR Supplement (DFARS) and the 500+ pages in DoD Procedures, Guidance, and Information, leave little room for them to be quick, nimble, lean and mean or time for contemplating ways to improve the Department's buying power.

Recently, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Frank Kendall, felt compelled to issue a set of 10 BBP principles - principles that underlie the specific initiatives found in the BBP programs. Here they are and if you want to read more details, click here.

  1. Continuous improvement will be more effective than radical change.
  2. Data should drive policy. It is difficult to manage something you cannot measure.
  3. Critical thinking is necessary for success; fixed rules are too constraining.
  4. Controlling life-cycle cost is one of our jobs; staying on budget isn't enough.
  5. People matter most; we can never be too professional or too competent.
  6. Incentives work - we get what we reward.
  7. Competition and the threat of competition are the most effective incentives.
  8. Defense acquisition is a team sport.
  9. Our technological superiority is at risk and we must respond.
  10. We should have the courage to challenge bad policy.

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