Acquiring Minds

By Pat Host / March 9, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter is going to have a busy Thursday.

As has been well-publicized, Carter is scheduled to appear that morning -- with Defense Department Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Christine Fox -- for a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Joint Strike Fighter program.

But that's not all. At 3 p.m., Carter and DOD Comptroller Robert Hale, Acting Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath and Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology Shay Assad are scheduled to testify in front of the House Armed Services panel on defense acquisition reform.

The topic? Pentagon perspectives on managing the defense acquisition system and the workforce.

On that note, as reported right here last week, the panel has released a report with interim findings and recommendations that could have lasting implications. And one item that could come up in Thursday’s hearing is the Pentagon’s efforts to “reach out” to a larger segment of private industry.

The panel believes the Pentagon should be more proactive in its outreach for business opportunities, especially when it comes to small businesses, because “a small investment in additional outreach to industry could demonstrate a large return in increased competition, lower prices, and innovation,” the report concluded.

“The Department should work the Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, General Services Administration, and the private sector to proactively notify relevant firms, especially small businesses, of contract solicitations rather than only relying on firms to find those notifications on (Federal Business Opportunities)," it states.