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Acquisition Adapts

Acquisition Adapts

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The way the government acquires technology is changing. This shift is driven by a number of factors including reliance on cloud-based technology, a growing remote/distributed workforce, agile development, and general digital dependence. While changes are intended to ensure the process of acquisition does not stand in the way of needed innovation, it’s also important to maintain the stringent review that is a hallmark of responsible government procurement. The field of government acquisition is evolving quickly to keep up with how government users and citizens utilize technology solutions. GovWhitePapers has identified several top trending acquisition white papers for government agencies and organizations.

Securing the supply chain

Recent cybersecurity incidents have illustrated how deeply connected systems are to one another and how an issue physically and logistically far away from a government IT system can have an incredible impact on that system’s security and stability. For this reason, the acquisition community is taking a hard look at how best to track all of the pieces that touch our government systems. Organizations need to ensure, to the extent possible, that weaknesses are mitigated before there is an issue.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has implemented the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program (CMMC), which is an assessment program that all companies doing business with the DoD must undergo, to attest that their cybersecurity practices meet DoD standards. Other departments, including DHS are looking to implement something similar.

But beyond a contractor’s practices, evaluation of security must go farther, into the components that make up the technology solutions. This includes going down to the microelectronic level, looking at the chips essential to weapons systems and computing devices. The DoD is beginning to implement a zero trust approach that ensures that each interaction with the device is secure rather than relying on a report that it was secure when it left the factory.

Modernization funding

Of course implementing all of these new technologies and vetting them for security costs money. To help speed along the modernization efforts, the government created the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF), a bucket of money that agencies can use beyond their budgets to push needed digitization and modernization efforts forward. Money used from the TMF must be repaid using the savings found by using the newly instituted and more efficient modern solutions.

Brave new world for acquisition

Being the newest agency in government, Space Force has the ability to craft many of their policies and processes from “scratch.” They are drawing on the scale of the Air Force acquisition for cost and time efficiencies but are also looking at new ways to quickly get the technologies they need to meet their digitally-dependent missions. A recent study suggested a number of ways they can improve the speed and efficiency of acquisition. Recommendations included increasing the volume of information that is shared with industry and giving more authority and autonomy to program level decision makers.

For more information on the future of government acquisition, take a look at some of these resources:

  • Reducing Procurement Administrative Lead Time Using Modern Business Practices This memorandum takes an important step toward measuring the timeliness of federal procurements by establishing a common definition of “procurement administrative lead time” (PALT) and providing guidance on steps agencies should take to reduce PALT in their acquisition activities.
  • U.S. Government Procurement and International Trade The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that U.S. companies and the federal government rely heavily on global supply chains. This has prompted congressional interest in better understanding the role of international trade in U.S. government procurement.
  • DOD Acquisition Reform: Increased Focus on Knowledge Needed to Achieve Intended Performance and Innovation Outcomes As the DoD drives to deliver innovative capabilities faster to keep pace with evolving threats and emerging adversaries, knowledge about programs’ cost, schedule, and technology, increases the likelihood that these capabilities will be achieved. GAO annually assesses selected DOD weapon programs and their likely outcomes.
  • Understanding Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Compliance As part of its response to cyber threats, DOD began work in early 2019 to develop the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) framework. This DOD driven initiative intends to provide a “unified cybersecurity standard” for defense acquisitions and aims to use and build on existing law and regulations.
  • Ten Considerations for a Cloud Procurement Cloud procurement presents an opportunity to reevaluate existing procurement strategies so you can create a flexible acquisition process that enables your public sector organization to extract the full benefits of the cloud. Cloud procurement considerations are key components that can form the basis of a broader public sector cloud procurement strategy.

You can browse additional government acquisition and procurement assets through our search engine here:

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