Pentagon unveils latest round of business reforms

The Defense Department this week issued its latest round of business reforms. They range from testing new ways to conduct public-private job competitions to lifting limits on procurement of goods and services.

The Pentagon's Business Initiative Council, headed by acquisition chief Pete Aldridge and including the military service secretaries, regularly meets to develop initiatives to improve Defense operations and save money. Previous efforts have focused on streamlining hiring processes and simplifying acquisition rules. The initiatives announced on Tuesday include:

  • Creating "pioneer projects" for testing alternatives to the Pentagon's traditional outsourcing methods, which usually require a competition between federal employees and contractors before jobs can be privatized. Options to be reviewed include forming industry-government partnerships and allowing organizations to decide for themselves how they can operate more efficiently, whether by reorganizing, partially privatizing or some other means.
  • Using Defense's new Common Access Card as both an identification card and a building access card, so employees would not need to carry additional building passes.
  • Requiring all Defense systems to have technology in place for testing and for employee training. Systems would also have to include equipment to predict and diagnose maintenance needs or problems.
  • Giving Defense workers the flexibility to buy greater quantities of items or services than initially planned, as long as the purchases don't exceed approved spending limits. Previously, Defense required purchasers to get permission from Congress before buying any additional items or services.
The full list of reforms can be viewed at the Defense Department Web site.
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