New DOD Acquisition Instructions Meant to Simplify Process

Published: December 04, 2013

Acquisition ReformDEFENSE

On December 2, Ashton Carter, deputy defense secretary, distributed a memo to the acquisition workforce implementing new DOD Instruction 5000.02 directed at streamlining the acquisition process and tailoring the process to the product or service being acquired.

DOD Instruction 5000.02 entitled, Operation of the Defense Acquisition System, was signed November 26th to serve as interim guidance while the DOD office of Acquisition, Technology & Logistics (AT&L) develops a legislative proposal to simplify the current body of law into a more user-friendly set of requirements.  The new 5000.02 is meant to “achieve greater efficiency and productivity in defense spending and effectively implement the department’s Better Buying Power initiatives.”

Carter stated in his memo that he tried to make the interim instructions more helpful to both experienced defense acquisition professionals, as well as those new to the defense contracting process.  However, at first glance it seems streamlining the process takes more explanation, as the new instructions total 150 pages and the instructions from 2008 only total 80 pages. 

The instructions are organized into a main document with thirteen enclosures describing policies and procedures for a specific aspect of acquisition or a specialized type of product.  The instructions also incorporate a number of statutes and regulations that have been adopted since its original publications in 2008, which may explain its added document length. 

Another key addition to the interim instruction is two new decision points:  the requirements decision point, and a decision point for a development request for proposal release.  The new requirements decision point is the starting point for the requirements analysis and allocation system engineering process, according to Carter’s memo.  It also informs the RFP for the development phase.  Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense AT&L, stated that he regards the development request for proposal release decision point “as the most important single decision point in the entire life cycle because the release of the engineering and manufacturing decision RFP sets in motion everything that will follow in the product’s life cycle.”

A team led by Andrew Hunter, the director of the Joint Rapid Acquisition Office, will be developing the new formal body of legislation and will work closely with Congress over the next few months to do so.