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New GAO Report on Acquisition & Development Principles

New GAO Report on Acquisition & Development Principles

New GAO Report on Acquisition & Development Principles
Bill Kobren
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new March 2022 report of interest entitled “GAO-22-104513 Leading Practices: Agency Acquisition Policies Could Better Implement Key Product Development Principles”.

According to the GAO, “Together, the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and NASA invest hundreds of billions of dollars each year to develop and deliver a wide range of systems, from stealth jets to lunar rovers. Leading companies rely on certain principles to ensure product development success. But we found that these federal agencies aren't generally required to meet such principles. For example, DOD's policies don't require acquisition staff to consider dropping less urgent requirements to stay on schedule—a key development principle. We recommended that the agencies create or update guidance to reflect key principles of product development.”

For DoD, the GAO offered four specific recommendations:
  • “The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment update DOD acquisition policies to fully implement the following principle throughout development: attaining a sound business case (Recommendation 1).
  • The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment update DOD acquisition policies to fully implement the following principle throughout development: applying iterative design approaches (Recommendation 2).
  • The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment update DOD acquisition policies to fully implement the following principle throughout development: off-ramping capabilities when needed to maintain schedule (Recommendation 3).
  • The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment update DOD acquisition policies to fully implement the following principle throughout development: incorporating feedback from users of initial capabilities (Recommendation 4).”

The report goes on to provide some excellent insights into key principles leveraged by what the GAO deems “leading companies”. Encourage readers to take some time to read through this new report.