Adapting Acquisition Strategies to Win in a Complex World

  • Colonel David C. Phillips

With Congress’s renewed push for acquisition reform in 2016, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Army must adapt their acquisition strategies to keep pace with the changing environment. Given the growing ends and diminishing budgets, the Army must look for new ways to reduce risk while prioritizing readiness. Acquisition reform is not new, and there is a long history of both success and failure. Recently, the DoD, the Army, and Special Operations Command have all seen that teams empowered with the right institutionalized authorities and culture can provide warfighters with innovative capabilities faster while meeting all the traditional requirements of cost, schedule, and performance. The Army should now seize two opportunities: first, institutionalize and reinforce rapid acquisition processes, authorities, and organizations; and second, use mission command to embed an operationally focused culture of integrity, innovation, and courage to take risk in its acquisition organizations. This will directly and positively impact future warfighters.