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 Acquisition Reform Initiative 


Acquisition Reform Initiative

MajGen (Ret.) Arnold Punaro, Chairman of NDIA’s Board, has initiated an effort to help Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Frank Kendall, Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, and the other leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees reform the system for acquiring defense products and services. To that end, Gen Punaro has named Jon Etherton as NDIA’s Senior Fellow for acquisition reform to lead the effort. Etherton has over 30 years of experience working in and with Congress and the Executive Branch on national security funding and policy issues with 18 years as a staff member in the United States Senate, including 14 years on the professional staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee. On the Committee staff, Etherton was responsible for managing acquisition policy legislation and oversight for the Committee during that timeframe. He has remained engaged in those issues ever since. 

In March, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees wrote a letter to NDIA requesting our input to their acquisition reform efforts. Industry, the Pentagon, and the Congress all have reached consensus that reform is not just desirable, it is essential in this period of budget austerity. In order to properly respond to the Committees’ request for input, NDIA needs the views and input of our members. Etherton will present a framework  of problem areas culled from past acquisition reform efforts, possible root causes, and potential recommendations, and will engage NDIA members in a kick-off event on May 29 and during other events over the summer. Participants will provide their views on acquisition reform and drive the structure and content of the final product.

For more information, contact James Thomas, Director of Legislative Policy, at or (703) 247-2598.


Additional Materials

Jon Etherton’s Speech: Acquisition Transformation – What Should We Do Next?

NDIA response letter to Thornberry-Smith “Agile Acquisition to Retain Technological Edge Act.”

Final Report

 Executive Summary

 NDIA Pathway to Transformation Acquisition Report


NDIA Interim Response to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, July 10, 2014

 Acquisition Reform Issue Slide Template

 Grouped Issues

 NDIA Acquisition Reform Kick-off Record

NDIA Acquisition Reform Kick-off Briefing (Updated on July 14, 2014)

 Etherton testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 30, 2014

 Letter from the House and Senate Armed Services Committees soliciting NDIA’s contribution to acquisition reform

 Etherton prepared testimony for the House Armed Services Committee

Working Group Material

These slides are meant only to be discussion pieces and works in progress. The material they contain is not endorsed by NDIA, and much of it may not be included in our final report. We are sharing these slides not to inform you of our latest thinking, but in the spirit of full transparency with NDIA members and acquisition stakeholders that has motivated our entire process up to now. Anyone interested in NDIA’s endorsed thinking on and approach to acquisition reform should refer to our letter to the Armed Services Committees of July 10, 2014.

Notes recorded under the Chatham House Rule

Divergence of Government-Unique and General Private Sector Practices

Leadership and Accountability

Measuring the Performance of the Acquisition System

Effectiveness of Small Business Programs

Contract Strategy

Contract Finance

Capabilities of the Acquisition Workforce

Boundary Conditions

Services/IT/Cyber Acquisition

 Other references:

Creative Disruption: Technology, Strategy, and the Future of the Global Defense Industry

Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense

A Roadmap for Sustainable IT Acquisition Reform

Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Department of Defense Policies and Procedures for the Acquisition of Information Technology (8 MB)

DoD Information Technology Modernization: A Recommended Approach to Data Center Consolidation and Cloud Computing

 1989 Defense Management Review

 Defense Acquisition: Major U.S. Commission Reports (1949-1988) (PDF - 153 MB)

 2014 Report on the Performance of the Defense Acquisition System

 Letter from Under Secretary Kendall to Senator McCain on defense acquisition

 DoD Weapon System Acquisition Reform Product Support Assessment – November 2009

 Original DoD Directive 5000.1  

 Packard Commission Report

Section 800 Panel Report: (88MB)

 2006 Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment Report  

 2007 SARA Panel Report  

 2012 Defense Business Board Report

 2013 Report on the Performance of the Defense Acquisition System

 2014 GAO major program report

 Defense Acquisition Reform, 1960-2009



Affiliate Associations

The Association for Enterprise Information    National Training and Simulation Association    Precision Strike Association    Women in Defense