New Survey Shows Defense Acquisitions Process Inefficient, Efforts to Fix Changing

New Survey Shows Defense Acquisitions Process Inefficient, Efforts to Fix Changing

Defense Managers Label Acquisitions Process Inefficient and Support Ways to Improve It

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Over half of federal managers describe the defense acquisitions and procurement process as "not at all efficient," according to a survey released this month by the Government Business Council (GBC), Government Executive's research division, and Booz Allen Hamilton. Defense managers cite numerous challenges in procuring or acquiring weapon systems, and feel recent efforts to improve the process, including the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 and internal DoD efforts, have been ineffective. In lieu of new budget allocations and reforms, defense managers show strong support for upgrading existing systems and using supplementary acquisition tools, such as rapid prototyping.

The report, "Streamlining the Process: Improving Defense Acquisitions through Rapid Prototyping," assesses the perceptions, attitudes, and experience of defense employees regarding the use of prototyping to ease the process of defense procurement. The study is supported by extensive secondary and primary research including interviews with leading prototyping experts. Booz Allen and the GBC surveyed defense employees, including a random sample of 474 Government Executive's subscribers from both the civilian and military staffs of the DoD, encompassing civilian grade levels of GS-11 through SES and equivalent military ranks.

"We're seeing an increased need for speed within prototyping defense systems and the reason is the world is changing so fast. Not only is it changing rapidly in terms of the kinds of challenges and threats to national security, but also the opportunities as well as the problems posed by new technology," says Booz Allen Hamilton Vice President, Dr. Allan Steinhardt. "So it's a confluence of changing political and strategic alliances combined with changing technology that means you quickly need to get something out there. If you wait, it may be too late."

Some key report findings include:

  • Half of managers believe the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 has not improved any major acquisition areas.
  • Fifty-three percent of respondents rated the requirement generation phase of acquisitions as challenging, more so than any other phase of the procurement process.
  • Seventy-one percent of federal managers note schedule/cost estimation as one of their greatest challenges in the process of procurement.
  • Nearly one-third of respondents have employed rapid prototyping to quickly develop new systems, and 93 percent of those have experienced some benefit as a result.

"According to our study, requirement generation is noted as one of the most pressing challenges to defense managers. Prototyping may help alleviate some of the strain by giving defense employees the opportunity to procure systems that are not complete, but allow for iterations until they meet all needs," says Dana Grinshpan, Research Manager at the Government Business Council.

Of the acquisitions process, Booz Allen Hamilton Senior Vice President, Lee Wilbur added, "The current acquisitions process is a very robust, comprehensive process that requires many reviews, reports, and assessments. The fundamental concern is that those take a lot of time and energy to generate. And over the course of the project, constantly changing battlefield and threat conditions means there will likely be changes which will complicate the process. Thus, it's very difficult to plan and execute a given schedule or budget. Rapid prototyping offers a streamlined process to provide a more responsive capability in less time and for less money."

Listen to experts discuss the study's results in detail, on thisWebcast On-Demand

Download the full report on the Government Business Council's website:Streamlining the Process: Improving Defense Acquisitions through Rapid Prototyping

About Booz Allen Hamilton

Booz Allen Hamilton ( is a leading provider of management and technology consulting services primarily to the U.S. government in the defense, intelligence, and civil markets. Booz Allen Hamilton is headquartered in McLean, Virginia, employs more than 25,000 people, and had revenue of $5.5 billion for the 12 months ended March 31, 2011 (NYS: BAH) .

About Government Business Council Industry Insights

As Government Executive Media Group's research intelligence division, the Government Business Council (GBC) is dedicated to advancing the business of government through analysis, insight and analytical independence. As an extension of Government Executive's 40 years of exemplary editorial standards and a commitment to the highest ethical values, the GBC partners with industry leaders to study influential decision-makers from across the federal government and produce intelligence-based research and analysis.

About Government Executive Media Group

As part of Atlantic Media Company, Government Executive is dedicated to the mission of "informing and challenging the national discourse" through serving managers and executives across government. Through its unmatched reach among federal decision makers and industry leading marketing services, Government Executive Media Group is uniquely capable of helping companies achieve breakthrough business results in the federal market. For more information about Government Executive Media Group, visit


Booz Allen Hamilton
Carrie Lake, 703-377-7785
Government Business Council
Dana Grinshpan, 202-266-7862

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  District of Columbia  Virginia


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