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As the Defense Department plans to split its acquisition office, it’s planning on using existing authorities to take a bite out of contracting time.

Ellen Lord, who will likely be the last defense undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, wants DoD to take advantage of new authorities given to the department in order to speed up the delivery time from when the Pentagon requests a product and when it’s delivered.

“Other transaction authorities, I think we see the Air Force doing a nice job with some of those and, frankly, we don’t have all of our staff that are totally cognizant of what those authorities are and what we can do and what we can’t do. What we are trying to do is develop an environment where people are comfortable saying ‘Hey, what if?’ and I’m trying to say ‘Yes, if’ versus ‘No’ to things,” Lord told reporters after an Oct. 11 speech at an Association of the United States Army event in Washington.

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By James Van De Velde
Deterrence is based on the elements of denial (denying an adversary’s attempt to attack our interests) and punishment (inflicting unacceptable costs to the attacker in reply for having conducted the attack). At present, most U.S. cyber deterrence efforts have been defensive. And, so far, the United States has yet to reply to a cyber-intrusion with punishment via a cyber operation. Although a state could pursue deterrence via defense alone, without both elements – denial and punishment – deterrence will be weak or fail. To date, cyberspace operations worldwide have been dominated by the offense of malicious actors and the absence of retaliatory punishment by the United States.
Deterrence via denial alone is hard and without an enormously increased commitment, likely impossible. The cyber victim is always in the hopeless position of trying to discern what adversary accesses exist in one’s networks and how to stop such malicious intrusions. Adversary capabilities are written specifically to enter these networks surreptitiously and conduct malicious operations in secret.

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By Steve Kelman

There are two big advantages of using tech demos for source selection. The most important is that it embodies a philosophy of “do, not just say.” This represents a break with the extravagant essay contests that characterize too much of traditional federal procurement, with lengthy, self-serving disquisitions on the company’s technical or management “approach” to the work at hand, slavishly keyed to every request or requirement in the agency’s RFP, in a ritual that sets the government far apart from how work is competed in the commercial world.

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In fiscal year 2016, DOD spent about $150 billion on service contracts—about half of its total contract spending—covering services such as program management, engineering, and IT support.
As part of DOD’s latest effort to better manage service contracts, DOD established new leadership roles for service acquisitions throughout the agency. However, we found that officials in these new positions considered their new roles as secondary, did not fulfill certain responsibilities, and had little effect on how DOD manages services.
We recommended that DOD reassess the roles, responsibilities, and organizational placement of the new positions.

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