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March 20, 2024

King Encourages Smarter Spending Practices from Department of Defense

Senator points out that many Pentagon needs could be filled by “off-the-shelf” products rather than more expensive, customized options

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), U.S. Senator Angus King, Chair of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, questioned the Honorable Ellen Lord, the Vice Chair of the Pentagon’s Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution Reform Committee, about the need for the Department of Defense (DoD) to reevaluate its acquisition process for defense technology and other products. King stressed that many “off-the-shelf” technologies would effectively meet the DoD’s needs and be more cost-efficient than customized products.

“It seems to me that often the Pentagon feels they have to have a custom item, rather than an off-the-shelf item that will meet 80 or 90% of the need. And I think that's something we need to address,” said Senator King.

“Right. That's the requirements process. One size doesn't fit all, not everything needs to go through the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS). That's where the middle tier of acquisition allows a senior official in the military service or an agency to state a requirement themselves and move out crisply. Other transaction authorities allow you to do that as well, without clearly defining a requirement just a general need,” responded Lord.

“So, the adaptive acquisition framework does empower the department to do that. My opinion is the challenge is the motivations or rewards are not there for the workforce to do that. People are not being recognized who are using these and the workforce is not trained to use these as well as they could, in addition. So, we have a leadership opportunity here,” concluded Lord.

“I agree,” replied Senator King.

A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator King is recognized as an authoritative voice on national security and foreign policy issues who has also been named a “fiscal hero” by government watchdogs for responsible spending. As the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces — which oversees the United States’ strategic forces and missile defense — Senator King has been a steady voice on the need to address the growing nuclear capacity of our adversaries. Senator King recently expressed concern about the emerging threats of Russia and China’s development of “nightmare weapon” hypersonic missiles, which he has described as “strategic game-changers.” In a recent SASC hearing, Senator King urged the DoD to take advantage of private sector technologies or risk losing access to innovative defense technologies.


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