New DOD directive will improve acquisition reform, officials say

On Sept. 8, Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist signed Defense Department Directive 5000.01, “The Defense Acquisition System.”

It supports the National Defense Strategy by improving on business reform and developing a more lethal force based on faster delivery of technological innovation and a culture of performance that yields a decisive and sustained U.S. military advantage, said Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.

It’s also the first major reform of the defense acquisition workforce management framework in almost three decades. “We are pivoting from a one-size-fits-all certification construct to a component-and-workforce-central, tailorable continuous learning construct,” she said. “This shift to modern talent management will empower the workforce for success today and into the future.”

Stacy A. Cummings, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, also spoke about developing the new directive.

“There is not just a one-size-fits-all in order to deliver capability,” she said. “It’s really about applying common sense and critical thinking to the decision making of the program manager, the program team, as well as the decision authority, and looking at what is the right acquisition strategy for that capability.” 

Cummings added that the department is working to capture lessons learned and looking for pathways that are flexible, adaptive, innovative and spur critical thinking.

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