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Teamed Acquisition the Way Ahead for Defense Information Technology

December 5, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
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No single company is likely to possess all the necessary expertise for a large program.

Future defense information technology is likely to focus on a set of services instead of specific elements. Accordingly, bidders likely will consist of industry teams bringing diverse expertise to the acquisition table.

This view was offered by Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer, at the breakfast during the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Halvorsen cited the Navy’s Next-Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) acquisition as an example of the future. The winning bidder was a consortium that comprised several different companies

“NGEN is a teamed acquisition,” he pointed out. “That trend is going to continue. You just don’t have all the expertise in a single company.”

Halvorsen noted that current contracting tends to optimize for a specific element. For information technology, the specific element is a service, and this approach leads to higher overall costs. Instead, acquisitions should optimize for the total set of services. This is hard to do, he added.

”The industry teams that can bring together a coalition that can get at the total cost of performance and total cost of the system will do better than industries that don’t,” Halvorsen predicted.

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