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The Adaptive Acquisition Framework: The Digital Transformation – Part 8

Bottom Line Up Front: The new Defense contracting world is built on a flexible six-path scheme called the Adaptive Acquisition Framework.

Where We Left Off

Acquisitions boss Ellen Lord was talking in her article about how she rebuilt the Department of Defense contracting world to make it more like commercial industry and Silicon Valley. She essentially bulldozed the existing laws, policies and regulations to demolish the old, inefficient, outdated way of buying things.

So How Will The Pentagon Buy Stuff Now?

In her words:

It’s important to note I specifically refer to this as the full policy, rather than the final policy. As with software development, we must institutionalize data-driven learning, adaptation, and agility into our policy stewardship. We intend for all elements of the AAF to be updated periodically based on data, lessons learned, and feedback from program execution.

“The AAF”? What is the “AAF”?

See that diagram up there with all the arrows? That’s is the Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF). That is the new flowchart that will guide the Pentagon on how to buy stuff from now on. Believe it or now, that diagram is unbelievably easier than what it replaces.

And, as Ellen Lord says, it is not the “final” policy set in stone. She says it is to be “updated periodically based on data, lessons learned, and feedback from program execution.” In other words, the policy is the best they could come up with, but it’s not locked in for 50 years, it’s to be continuously refined based on experience. This is to be a living policy.

It Has Six “Swim Lanes”

That can be mixed and matched, according to need.

  1. Urgent Capability Acquisition – for ultra-urgent things they absolutely super need right now, now, now!!!
  2. Middle Tier of Acquisition – in the 2 to 5 year range. Most things will be bought here.
  3. Major Capability Acquisition – those giant defense super programs will be bought like this.
  4. Software Acquisition – any software for any of the other swim lanes will be bought by these rules.
  5. Defense Business Systems – hey, soldiers gotta be paid and handle money, right? This is that.
  6. Acquisition of Services – when they need to hire people to do stuff (as opposed to buying equipment).

The key thing of these six ways of purchasing stuff is that they are flexible. Adaptability is the order of the day. The old way of rigid rules that kept people from doing sensible, logical things is over. The new rule of the day is adaptability and flexibility.

Are Your Company processes IN Need Of an Update?

Is your entire company is built around the old “horse blanket” days of defense acquisition? Were your internal bureaucratic processes arranged back in Ye Olden Days when the Pentagon contracting diagram looked like this?

If so, then your company needs an update because, as we have been discussing, the industry as you knew it is dead.