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Defense Industry Leaders Seek More Government Input

March 26, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
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Defense industry leaders desire greater government involvement in the defense acquisition process, according to a recent survey released by the Government Business Council (GBC). Of the 340 survey participants, 85 percent of respondents noted positive outcome from more government involvement in the acquisition arena. Forty-three percent identified the disconnect between government and industry expectations as a “significant problem,” and 60 percent noted the same challenge in the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) community.

“Defense acquisition has long been recognized as inefficient and often ineffective, but shrinking budgets and a changing threat landscape have made the need for reform even more urgent,” Zoe Grotophorst, manager of research and strategic insights at GBC, says. “This study reveals the underlying problems with defense acquisition and paves the way for future reform efforts.”

Study participants noted the most concerning of C4ISR acquisition problems is managing a large number of stakeholders, and that the volatile budget, insufficient information sharing and a cultural resistance to change present challenges to greater government involvement. “During periods of conflict, government and industry engineers are heads down, building the solutions that will save lives,” says Greg Wenzel, a senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton and a study contributor. “In a post-war era with limited budgets, there is time to pause and think about collaborating and communicating. We need to focus on pushing that objective.”

The GBC report assesses the perceptions, attitudes and experience of senior defense leaders. The study is based on survey data collected from senior U.S. Defense Department officials from the GS/GM grade levels 11 through 15, the Senior Executive Service and high military ranks.

On topic, Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, will participate in AFCEA International’s Acquisition Research: Creating Synergy for Informed Change, May 14-15 in Monterey, California. Public sector acquisition professionals are invited to attend.

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