The defense acquisition bureaucracy inside the Pentagon is being downsized from 17 to eight offices. Senior civilian management positions are being pared down from 353 to 233, and military posts from 61 to 42. Contracts that required 83 checks and approvals will need just 22. Weapon systems that were centrally managed by the Pentagon are being turned over to the military services.
“We are rethinking how we do business,” Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters on July 27th.
With China and Russia threatening to out-innovate the United States in areas like advanced missiles, additive manufacturing, space weapons and artificial intelligence, the Pentagon is not just in a competition against adversaries but also in a race against itself.
How the Pentagon buys technology in the digital age has long been a cause for concern and is a major theme in the defense policy bill for fiscal year 2019 that a House-Senate conference passed last week. The bill includes dozens of provisions for “rapid innovation,” “rapid prototyping” and “rapid acquisition.”
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