Tags: pentagon | military | weapons | russia | china

Military Overhauls Arms Buying System to Counter Russia, China

Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 02:04 PM

The Pentagon is planning to completely overhaul its system for buying new weapons to counteract more advanced armaments being deployed by Russia and China, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Pentagon procurement chief Frank Kendall has released a new set of proposals calling on military contractors to invest more of their own funds to develop new arms.

Kendall plans to employ fixed-price contracts with profit incentives to boost research spending by private companies, which have recently found the process of obtaining government contracts so arduous that they have been discouraged from bidding on Pentagon jobs, according to the Journal.

"We're trying to stimulate industry to innovate, and I'm trying to give them more business reasons to innovate," said Kendal, the under secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Kendall is urging companies to develop more prototypes of weapons and systems that could challenge potential enemies rather than just react when military chiefs inform contractors what type of weapons they need, the newspaper said.

But industry executives are concerned that the Pentagon's 29,000 acquisition staffers will be unable to draw up the right type of contract for each deal, which the industry and the Pentagon both agree is vital to make the plan succeed.

"We are lock step in terms of his intentions, but the implementation [by Pentagon staff] is where the rubber hits the road," said Chris Chadwick, president of the Defense, Space & Security arm of Boeing Co., the Pentagon's second-largest supplier after Lockheed Martin Corp.

The fixed-price deals, called "good enough" in the industry, were first introduced in 2010 and involved setting requirements and choosing the cheapest bid.

But Kendal admitted that acquisition staff overused the system on some projects, resulting in increased costs as companies found they had underbid on projects while potential customers did not bid at all, the paper said.

Kendall's proposals also included such cost-cutting plans as buying more equipment, including cloud-computing systems, off the rack from commercial suppliers, instead of customized goods from contractors, the Journal said.

The new proposals are the third version of the Better Buying Power directive launched in 2010, aimed at making contracts more affordable while helping Pentagon staffers identify how much weapons systems and related services should cost, rather than just relying on contractors' bids.

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The Pentagon is planning to completely overhaul its system for buying new weapons to counteract more advanced armaments being deployed by Russia and China, according to The Wall Street Journal.
pentagon, military, weapons, russia, china
376
2014-04-23
Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 02:04 PM
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