Reform panel on track to cut DoD-specific acquisition regs by half

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Fourteen months after President Donald Trump ordered all agencies to stand up regulatory reform task forces, the Defense Department is making major progress in weeding out what it views as outdated and unnecessary acquisition rules.

The panel charged with examining acquisition rules is one of three subgroups currently operating within DoD as part if its regulatory reform task force. Its particular charge is to undertake an in-depth scrub of the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), decide what is still relevant, and what is slowing the system down for no good reason.

Panel recommending deep cuts

The review is about midway through, and so far, it is on track to reduce the size of the DFARS by about half. The group is made up of representatives from the military services, plus the Pentagon’s office of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy.

“This spring cleanup is really looking at the entire DFARS, soup to nuts,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Hoskin, the Army’s director for contracting, and that service’s representative on the task force. “There’s currently 350 clauses and provisions, and we’re biting at 10 to 20 of them every two weeks. We meet for hours every other Friday, and we make decisions to retain, remove or modify. Part of our guidance was go big or go home, and so we’re to the point where we’re recommending the removal or modifying of about 50 percent. It’s to the point where the Deputy Secretary of Defense sent a message down to us, saying, ‘Are you really sure you want to go this far?’”

Hoskin, speaking at a contracting conference hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army last week, said the task force has reassured senior Defense officials that the provisions it plans to recommend for change or deletion are prudent. But many of the modifications would require congressional approval.

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