WASHINGTON, DC  – Today the House Armed Services Committee’s Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform held its first organization meeting. Below, please find the organizational plan adopted by the Panel. The plan can also be found on the committee’s website, www.house.gov/hasc .

Panel Chairman Rob Andrews (D-NJ):
“As our work plan demonstrates, the defense acquisition system is extremely complex, and the issues surrounding it are numerous. The logical place to start is the question of whether there is a means of measuring the current system’s ability to effectively deliver goods and services to the warfighter while making an efficient use of taxpayer money. This panel has a significant task before it, and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we tackle this challenge.” 

Panel Ranking Member Mike Conaway (R-TX):
“We look forward to having an opportunity to thoroughly examine the root causes of the deficiencies we continue to see in the acquisition process.  I appreciate the commitment that Chairman Skelton and Ranking Member McHugh have made to our efforts to ensure we don’t reach hasty conclusions, but rather, we address this issue in a deliberative manner.”

House Committee on Armed Services
Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform
Organizational Plan

Panel Members
Rob Andrews, NJ, Chairman               Mike Conaway, TX, Ranking Member
Jim Cooper, TN                               Duncan Hunter, CA
Brad Ellsworth, IN                            Mike Coffman, CO
Joe Sestak, PA

Rules and Procedures
The panel is constituted under Rule 5(a) of the rules of the Committee on Armed Services to serve for a period of six months beginning on the date of its organization, March 18, 2009.  The Chairman of the Committee has the discretion to reappoint the panel for a period up to an additional six months.

The panel will follow the rules and procedures of the House Armed Services Committee, as adopted by the Committee for the 111th Congress, in all of its meetings, hearings, and other activities.

The panel has been tasked to examine the defense acquisition system and possible ways to  improve the system’s outcomes.  Although it does not have legislative jurisdiction, the panel will report its findings including any recommendations for possible legislation to the Committee.

The panel will be assisted by staff of the House Armed Services Committee designated by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee for this purpose.

Work Plan
The panel will examine the defense acquisition system to evaluate its effectiveness in meeting two critical, and sometimes conflicting, goals:  1) providing the best available services, supplies, equipment and technology to the warfighter when they are needed, and 2) providing best value to the taxpayer for every dollar expended.

In examining the defense acquisition system, the panel will focus on 5 primary issues:
1. Is there a method to reasonably measure the ability of the defense acquisition system to meet these two critical goals?
2. Is the current defense acquisition system effectively meeting these goals, and if not, what are the root causes of the system’s failure?
a. How do the requirements process and the budget process influence acquisition outcomes?
b. Are the right people at the right level making decisions and provided with the authority to carry them out (e.g., are end users appropriately involved)?
c. Does the system generate or have access to the right knowledge and information to enable good, transparent decisions (e.g. are the confidence levels associated with cost estimates appropriate and clearly explained)?
d. Does the defense acquisition system schedule major decision points and bring issues for review at the right times – when the appropriate information is available to inform decision making?
e. Do the people who implement the system (i.e. the acquisition workforce) exist in the correct numbers and have the right training to execute decisions and run programs efficiently and what is the appropriate role of contractors in the management of the acquisition process?
f. How successful is the system in responding to the urgency of warfighter needs and differing levels of programmatic risk  (e.g., can the system be tailored to match the duration of capability development to the threat cycle and/or be responsive to the rate of change in technology)?
3. What administrative or cultural pressures, challenges, or negative incentives lead to inefficiencies in the system producing bad outcomes (e.g., management areas, such as DoD Financial Management, flagged as high-risk by GAO)?
4. What proposals have been made to reform the defense acquisition system in studies performed by others?
5. What changes are necessary to ensure that the defense acquisition system is best designed and operated to satisfy the panel’s two goals?

In addition to these matters, the panel may examine other issues related to the defense acquisition system at the request of the Committee’s chairman with the concurrence of the Committee’s ranking member.