The Pentagon remains on track to release a streamlined, updated version of its major systems procurement rules by the end of this calendar year, the department’s acquisition leader said Oct. 17.

Contractors can expect to see a new “adaptive acquisition framework” for the Section 5000.02 rules in December, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said during a keynote speech at the annual ComDef conference in Washington, D.C.

The goal is to eliminate arcane rules that do not necessarily apply to the Pentagon’s acquisition needs today and adapt to the changing technological landscape, Lord said. She first announced plans to update the Section 5000.02 rules nearly one year ago (Defense Daily, Dec. 17, 2018).

She called the streamlined rules “the most transformative acquisition policy change we’ve seen in decades” during an Oct. 18 media briefing at the Pentagon.

“This policy embraces the delegation of decision-making, tailoring program oversight to minimize unnecessary bureaucratic processes, and actively managing risk based on the unique characteristics of the capability being acquired,” she said.

The transformative aspect comes from the fact that since the process began to rewrite the Section 5000 rules, it has been a collaborative effort, Lord said. All of the services and Congress were involved in talks and developments, and the department’s acquisition workforce has begun to be trained on it.

“I think in the past, we haven’t always coupled training of the workforce with changes put out in policy, and it’s incredibly important to me to make sure that we have an acquisition workforce that understands the policies, the instructions, the day-to-day implications of what we are doing,” Lord said.

The Pentagon is working with its Defense Acquisition University to identify specific areas of the contracting process to target to reform, she noted. “For instance, we’re going to digital engineering: we have to be able to address that in contracts. We’re going to Agile DevOps. We are rolling out clauses for intellectual property, clauses for cybersecurity.”

Novel delivery mechanisms – such as podcasts, videos and on-site meetings – are being employed as well, she said.

Lord’s office continues to work on various efforts of acquisition reform, including a new pathway for program managers to prototype or field mature technology within an operational environment within five years. She noted 50 middle-tier programs are now moving years faster than they would have under traditional acquisition processes: of those 50, 19 are Air Force, nine are Navy, 10 are U.S. Special Operations Command and one is under the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA.

The process is ongoing to soon release an interim policy that will drive modern software development across the department’s programs, Lord said. The goal is to allow for continuous integration and delivery of software capability on timelines that fit the needs of the warfighter and to structure contracts around iterative delivery of capabilities, rather than products.

Earlier in October, the Pentagon published an intellectual property policy that will serve to develop departmental guidance, training and assistance to the U.S. government to address protection of data rights, she added.