US lawmaker unveils sweeping Pentagon acquisition reform bill

on May19

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis briefs the media at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2017.

Yuri Gripas | Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis briefs the media at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2017.

The head of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee introduced legislation on Thursday to cut cost overruns at the Pentagon by overhauling the way it buys everything from common off-the-shelf goods to services and intellectual property.

Representative Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican, told reporters, “if you’re buying office supplies, you ought to be able to go on Amazon and do it.”

“The current acquisition process prohibits rapid purchases of goods at the best prices because” the Department of Defense is restricted to using expensive and onerous contracting processes, committee aides said in a statement about the bill.

Thornberry hopes to spark debate about the initiative and then wrap it into the annual National Defense Authorization Act, a broader bill that sets policy for the Defense Department each year, committee aides told reporters.

Thornberry and the committee drafted the legislation after more than a year of examining billions of dollars in cost overruns, schedule delays and other problems that have plagued defense procurement programs.

The legislation includes measures that would allow existing business to business e-commerce markets, such as Amazon.com or W W Grainger, to sell the military commercial off-the-shelf products such as staplers or forklifts. This would expand procurement options beyond the Pentagon’s current e-commerce program, EMall.



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