Last year’s acquisition policy pronouncements are starting to be felt across to the U.S. Army, with upticks in cloud computing initiatives, increasing use of fixed-price contracts and adoption of social media.
“Army IT spending will remain stable; the goal is to optimize the IT [spending]. Optimization will be guided by computing trends,” said Gary Winkler, Army program executive officer for enterprise information systems.
He was one of several Army acquisition speakers at the AFCEA Belvoir Industry Days conference at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. Winkler also recently announced he is leaving the Army.
Efforts to improve efficiency, realign spending priorities and streamline a cumbersome acquisition process were launched during the past year amid a tightening national budget by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.
Leading the charge for the Army’s efforts to hold down spending and become more efficient are cloud computing initiatives, mobile technologies, data center consolidation and social collaboration, Winkler said.
Winkler said that mobile data traffic is on track to increase by 39 times between 2009 and 2014, and the social software market is showing 40 percent growth per year through 2013 — also contributing to getting the Pentagon’s policies rolling further down in operations.
The Army also wants to increase use of firm fixed-price and multiple-source contracts, as directed in Carter’s Better Buying Power initiative, and looking to maximize broadly scoped contracts that can be used for a variety of missions.
However, there are still plenty of challenges, and there likely will be more to come. Winkler predicted that force reductions could still lie ahead for DOD, citing his own experience in the 1980s when, like now, an insourcing effort was followed by a hiring freeze — which was later followed by layoffs.
“We can tighten our belts and squeeze a little bit [as directed by the Pentagon] — but I think it’s going to be more than just a little bit,” Winkler said.
Still, PEO-EIS has been involved in the development of Better Buying Power tenets, including helping shape concepts and strategies for improving tradecraft services, establishing common taxonomy and reforming IT acquisition — all banner items in Carter’s 23-point acquisition reform plan released last September. Read More>