Acquisitions Adapt Amid Retention Concerns

Acquisitions Adapt Amid Retention Concerns

Acquisitions Adapt Amid Retention Concerns

On Thursday, May 19th, Scott Bumgarner, IC Senior Procurement Executive for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), joined INSA’s Executive Vice President John Doyon for a virtual conversation that addressed the importance of streamlining the acquisition process, the challenges that government and industry face when it comes to acquiring and retaining a talented contract workforce, as well as how to improve the relationship between government and industry.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Bumgarner indicated that close to 80% of the budget within the eighteen branches of the Intelligence Community (IC) is done via contract. Consequently, acquiring and retaining a workforce in emerging technologies is of preeminent importance. A variety of barriers have made it difficult to execute contracts and, in turn, has made industry averse to getting into business with the IC. Mr. Bumgarner noted that when it comes to partnering with industry, it is no longer required that everything be done at the highest classification level. This change was prompted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As telework options became the norm in society, the workforce had to adjust accordingly.

View Program Recording Here
Thanks to our host sponsor, SAIC

Throughout the conversation, Mr. Bumgarner highlighted other areas of improvement, particularly when it comes to engaging a culture of risk aversion from the private sector. First, he called for changing the culture of how government understands failure, particularly when it involves a more technical industry like AI and quantum mechanics. Mr. Bumgarner referenced venture capital firms who deal with failure in certain projects, and when those occur to allow for industry to work through some of those highly technical advancements. Secondly, Mr. Bumgarner spoke at length about the importance of speed when it comes to acquisition. An opportunity remains for better utilization of market research and business acumen within the acquisition process. As it currently stands, market research is either being underutilized or not utilized at all. Improvements in this regard will streamline the process of acquiring and retaining a talented and highly skilled contract workforce.

As part of his concluding remarks, Mr. Bumgarner spoke about the importance of ensuring that the nature of the relationship between government and industry remains symbiotic to ease the barriers and expedite the acquisition process. To better support this relationship, the private sector can make clear their intentions by implementing Statements of Objectives to ensure that the goals and desired outcomes are clear. In turn, government must also recognize the willingness of companies to maintain their intellectual property rights. This cohesiveness will bring together stronger and better lasting collaboration between the public and private sector.

Tim Crozier

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