To show that they're serious about improving the way agencies buy equipment and services, procurement professionals throughout government will drop what they're doing and spend some time thinking about acquisition reform over the next few weeks.
March 17 is the kick-off day for governmentwide acquisition reform "stand-down days," during which procurement specialists will gather within their agencies and on the Internet to discuss how they will incorporate acquisition reform initiatives into their routine purchasing habits.
In January, Steven Kelman, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget, sent a memo to high-ranking procurement officials in the agencies urging them to organize acquisition reform training events for their agencies during the week of March 17 to coincide with the Defense Department's Acquisition Stand-Down Day on March 19.
Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology Paul Kaminski got the ball rolling a month before Kelman, when he sent a memo to DoD's procurement brass outlining his goals for the second annual event. While Kaminski laid out a theme--"teaming"--he let each office plan their own agendas. To help them out, the Defense Acquisition University developed "war game" scenarios for teams to work through, incorporating acquisition reforms into their game plans.
In addition, Kaminski and other procurement officials from the department will be answering questions in an online chat forum set up for the stand-down. Interacqt, on the Department's acquisition web site, will use ichat, a commercially-available software program for live online discussions, to allow DoD procurement people the opportunity to pose questions to Kaminski, Defense Procurement Director Eleanor Spector, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Director Larry Lynn, and other acquisition officials.
Kelman's office is coordinating online activities for the civilian agencies' stand-down. Symposiums on past performance, IT acquisition, task order contracting, and GSA schedules will be held in Washington, with live "simulcasts" on the Federal Acquisition Institute web site. To watch the symposiums, people will have to download a video player from the institute's home page. The symposiums will be held from March 20 through April 4.