DoD Faces Struggles on Path Toward 'Better Buying Power'

April 30, 2012

The Pentagon has made some progress toward driving better business deals with industry, but has a "long way to go" in the effort to buy the products, and the military needs at prices that are affordable, a top DoD acquisition official said Friday.

It's been a year and a half since DoD first published its acquisition principles known as "Better Buying Power." Then-undersecretary of Defense Ashton Carter laid out 23 separate initiatives designed to drive down costs, promote competition and improve the acquisition workforce. One key tenet in the initiative is called "should cost" management — the idea that DoD officials should manage programs in accordance with what they should cost, not what history has suggested they will cost.

Instilling the idea of should-cost has been the biggest struggle so far, said Shay Assad, the DoD's director of defense pricing. 

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