As information technology (IT) companies have known for years, the U.S. government regularly acquires inferior technology, often slowly and at high prices. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which stands to benefit the most from state-of-the-art technology, is encumbered by a web of complex and archaic procurement regulations. For emerging technology companies looking to serve the government, DoD’s procurement approach can be a major source of frustration, discouraging many of them from entering the federal arena altogether.
Fortunately, meaningful reform may be on the horizon. The Section 809 Panel, a group tasked by the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act to identify ways to improve the defense acquisition system, has recently set forth three recommendations aimed at streamlining DoD’s IT procurement process. These IT-focused recommendations are found in Section 3 of the panel’s Volume 3 Report, at numbers 43 through 45. The panel recommended the following:
- Rec. 43: Revise acquisition regulations to enable more flexible and effective procurement of consumption-based solutions.
- Rec. 44: Exempt DoD from Clinger-Cohen Act provisions in Title 40.
- Rec. 45: Create a pilot program for contracting directly with IT consultants through an online talent marketplace.
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