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DoD Officials Remain Concerned Over Section 843 of Defense Authorization Bill

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acquisition policySome former and current Defense Department officials are calling for an alternative acquisition reform proposal to the policy bill promoted by Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), National Defense Magazine reported Saturday.

Sandra Erwin writes that officials at the Center for Strategic and International Studies panel Friday have expressed concerns about the provision reducing the authority of Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall over decision-making for defense acquisition programs.

“The role of the milestone decision authority is to make critical decisions on committing to major investments,” said Andrew Philip Hunter, director of defense-industrial initiatives at CSIS and a former deputy of Kendall.

He added that decisions without the acquisition chief’s involvement “set the services up for glaring disconnects with the rest of the department.”

The report said language in the provision, which is Section 843 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016, also limits Kendall’s access to information on acquisition programs.

“It takes away his staff’s ability to get information in order to have an intelligent discussion… [and] impedes the secretary’s ability to manage the department,” said Alan Estevez, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Erwin reports that Estevez noted DoD’s support for the NDAA acquisition reforms beyond the concerns over Section 843, which could cause the administration to veto the bill.

The House and Senate are currently in conference to reconcile their versions of the NDAA.

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