House bill could reform DoD IT acquisition


Defense Department acquisition of information technology could change significantly if a bill approved April 28 by the House of Representatives becomes law.

H.R. 5013, known as the IMPROVE Acquisition Act, seeks to reform Defense acquisition practices; it now goes to the Senate after 417 congressmen voted yea, with three voting against. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) and stemmed from recommendations made by a bipartisan House Armed Services Committee panel on defense acquisition reform, which Andrews chaired.

Among the bill's provisions is a requirement that the Defense secretary evaluate whether information technology and weapons systems should be acquired with the same procedures. A common criticism of DoD IT acquisition is that it's slow, meaning the military struggles to stay current with new IT capabilities.

The bill would also include IT companies into the industrial base, meaning that the Pentagon would be able to use its authorities to stimulate military-oriented product and innovation development in private IT sector.

The legislation would require the Defense secretary to strengthen the IT acquisition workforce by creating targets for billets devoted to IT acquisition, creating an IT acquisition certification and defining career paths for IT acquisition workers.

For more:
- read the text of H.R. 5013 as approved by the House (.pdf)
- go to the DoD Industrial Policy web page

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