This week the House Armed Services Committee completed its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act. It's now on its way to the full House, with a $37 billion increase to the Pentagon's requested $773 billion topline. HASC Chair Adam Smith issued a statement disagreeing with this increase, continuing to hold his position that "the Department needs more discipline, not more money." His objection likely won't change the topline increase, which is raised in part to offset inflation. Some acquisition provisions in the bill: improving sustainment planning for major weapon systems; making permanent the mentor-protegé program; and launching a pilot program on contracting for software data rights.
Last week the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced its version of the NDAA to the full Senate, boosting the Pentagon's topline by $45 billion. The committee also voted to name this year's bill The James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, in honor of retiring Senator Inhofe. Some acquisition provisions in this bill: protecting rare earth minerals via national security stockpile and additional oversight; consolidating and harmonizing legislation related to rapid acquisition and urgent operational needs; requiring frequent industry days for key capability areas with rapid acquisition potential; and requiring a government-industry working group on microelectronics.
As always, these giant bills are packed full of provisions. In the newsletter's Congress section, we've compiled a few articles highlighting some of them. For more comprehensive information, you can also peruse the executive summaries for both the HASC and SASC NDAAs.
In policy, DoD has issued its Responsible Artificial Intelligence Strategy and Implementation Pathway, which seems to replace the term Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the new term "Responsible Artificial Intelligence" (RAI)--driving home the need for DoD to be committed to "lawful and ethical behavior when designing, developing, testing, procuring, deploying, and using AI."
In research, check out Dan Ward's paper exploring how the People's Republic of China approaches defense acquisition and the risks it has created, with corresponding recommendations for the DoD. Good news: the American acquisition model is better at generating new technologies, while the PRC tends to absorb existing technologies either from foreign competitors or its own commercial industry. To maintain that strategic advantage, DoD needs to, among other things, become a better business partner with innovative companies and reduce the benefits of copied systems.
Our top story showcases an innovative RFI from the State Department to develop software that could forecast acquisition needs and make them more transparent to industry. Seems like a great way to harness the power of real-time data and AI-powered prediction.
And in ARP news, we have two great symposium videos for you this week: Panel 8 on Contracting Strategies and Panel 9 on Budget Reform. These two panels were slated against each other in real time. Now's your chance to see what you missed!
This Week's Top Story
State Department issues RFI for procurement forecasting app
Dave Nyczepir, Fedscoop
The State Department wants industry to weigh in on what it would take to develop a procurement forecasting application that would provide vendors with status updates on potential future requirements and acquisition activities.
Existing apps, infrastructure and interface issues, recommended process and solicitation improvements, the time to develop a minimum viable product (MVP), a rough cost breakdown, and return on investment are all asked about in the department’s request for information (RFI) and sources sought issued Tuesday.
The State Department Office of the Procurement Executive’s fiscal 2022 to 2026 strategic plan emphasized a holistic acquisition experience for contracting officers (COs), customers and industry, and a web-based app is seen as the best way to provide visibility into procurements and increase competition among vendors.