Carter To Unveil Affordability Guidelines

Chief U.S. weapons buyer Ashton Carter on Sept. 14 will announce new guidelines to govern how the Pentagon purchases everything from weapons to support services, the Defense Department has told industry.
The announcement will mark the culmination of several months of back-and-forth with industry and internal DoD deliberations about bringing down the costs of things the U.S. military buys from the private sector. The goal is to increase the Pentagon’s “buying power,” Brett Lambert, DoD industrial affairs chief, wrote in a Sept. 10 memo to industry.
“This is the start of a long-term effort to bring better buying power to the department, while at the same time ensuring a robust and financially healthy industrial base,” states the Lambert memo, addressed to Lawrence Farrell, president of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).
The guidelines were informed, in part, by “500 specific recommendations we’ve reveived from members of the acquisition community, industry, academia and Congress,” Lambert wrote.
One industry source told Defense News “some tug” developed in writing the new guidelines between Pentagon acquisition officials and its industrial affairs shop. The latter office felt the guidelines should help industry maintain high profits, while the acquisition shop was pushing bold reforms to drive down costs, the source said.
Carter also will meet with industry chief executives on Sept. 16 to discuss the new guidelines, according to the memo.
Industry insiders say they expect the Pentagon will unveil a set of temperate buying reforms.
“If Carter stays true to what he has said about protecting industry profits, then we’ll see moderate changes,” the industry source said.

By JOHN T. BENNETT Defense News

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