Defense Science Board Task Force on Department of Defense Policies and Procedures for the Acquisition of Information Technology, Final Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Department of Defense Policies and Procedures for the Acquisition of Information Technology (Mar. 2009) (full-text).
At the request of Congress, the Task Force undertook a review of Department of Defense policies and procedures for the acquisition of information technology. The broad scope of the study touched on acquisition and oversight policies and procedures, roles and responsibilities for acquisition officials department-wide, and reporting requirements and testing as they relate to IT acquisition.
The primary conclusion of the Task Force is that the conventional DOD acquisition process is too long and too cumbersome to fit the needs of the many IT systems that require continuous changes and upgrades. Thus the Task Force believes that there is a need for a unique acquisition system for information technology. The Task Force offers the following recommendations to change the Department's approach to information technology acquisition.
- Acquisition policies. A new acquisition process for information technology should be developed — modeled on successful commercial practices, for the rapid acquisition and continuous upgrade and improvement of IT capabilities. The process should be agile and geared to delivering meaningful increments of capability in approximately 18 months or less — increments that are prioritized based on need and technical readiness.
- Roles and responsibilities of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration/DOD Chief Information Officer (ASD (NII)/DOD CIO). The ASD (NII)/DOD CIO should have strong authorities and responsibilities for enterprise-wide information policy vision, architecture, infrastructure, metadata and other standards, spectrum, interoperability, information assurance, and system engineering. Some capabilities must be strengthened in order to effectively execute these responsibilities — in particular, system engineering, information assurance, and network integration.
- Acquisition authorities and organization. Acquisition authority and expertise in OSD is currently spread across several organizations, resulting in a lack of enterprise-wide architecture and coordination. Consolidate all acquisition oversight of information technology under the USD (AT&L) by moving into that organization, those elements of the ASD (NII)/DOD CIO and Business Transformation Agency organizations responsible for IT acquisition oversight.
- Acquisition expertise. Today, the subject matter competencies required for successful enterprise IT system acquisition are too often missing in government managers responsible for program execution. Acquisition leaders need proven and relevant business experience in the appropriate areas of acquisition, product development, and management. Similarly, program managers and program executive officers need track records of proven success.