Magazine article National Defense

Air Force to Change Acquisition Practices. (Washington Pulse)

Magazine article National Defense

Air Force to Change Acquisition Practices. (Washington Pulse)

Article excerpt

The move away from fixed-price contracts has resulted in undisciplined programs with cost overruns. For that reason, "We need more disciplined program execution," said Terry Little, head of the Air Force Acquisition Center for Excellence.

The center was created to help the Air Force improve program performance and lower costs. The chief of staff, Air Force Gen. John Jumper, said he was "sick and tired of study and process," Little said. He wants to see the acquisition center produce results, in the form of new weapon systems that get to the fleet faster and that work as promised. Today, he said, "90 percent of our buying is done exactly like it was done in the early days of the Clinton administration." Only the words and titles have changed. "I'm trying to fix that for the Air Force," Little said. "Since the 1970s, the Air Force average cycle time has gone from six years to 11 years. We have to fix that."

Among the changes coming in the future, Little told a private gathering of industry executives, is a shift from cost-plus reimbursable contracts to price-based acquisitions. The cost-plus contracts are money losers, he said, because the government ends up paying for unneeded overhead and paperwork. …

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