Acquisition Reform a Top DOD Priority


Key players in the Defense Department’s commitment to reform its acquisition practices got the spotlight at the Pentagon at the Defense Acquisition Workforce Awards ceremony.

The Defense Department acquisition workforce is responsible for 89 major defense acquisition programs, costing a combined total of nearly $2 trillion. That’s a very significant responsibility, taking care of taxpayer dollars, Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said in her opening remarks.


Acquisition reform is one of the three lines of effort spelled out in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the other two being lethality and strengthening alliances and partnerships, she noted. Sustainment is the twin to acquisition, she said, noting that 60 to 70 cents on every dollar spent goes toward product or system sustainment over its lifetime after initial purchase.

In summary, reform is about being quicker to ensure get capability downrange to the warfighter at the best price, she said.

Army Lt. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, the Joint Staff’s director of force structure, resources and assessment, said requirements are important at the outset of the development of force capability.


Requirements has to do with ensuring that the initial design, prior to production of a product or system, is:

  • Cost effective
  • User friendly
  • Compatible with other systems
  • Easily maintained
  • Robust, able to withstand extreme combat conditions
  • Lethal
  • Safe to use

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