ARLINGTON, VA (May 9, 2017) - Modifications to the Intelligence Community’s services acquisition processes could promote innovation, generate superior procurement outcomes, and enable agencies to take greater advantage of private sector capabilities and resources, according to a new report by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA).
In the report, Improving the Acquisition of Services in the Intelligence Community, INSA presents recommendations that the Intelligence Community (IC) can implement within existing authorities to get better results from its professional services contracts.
With encouragement from several senior government acquisition officials, INSA formed an Acquisition Management Council to identify opportunities to improve the IC’s management and oversight of high-end services contracts, which represent a significant share of agencies’ spending on contracts. INSA briefed the Council’s findings and recommendations to senior acquisition executives from throughout the IC.
“Existing acquisition norms hinder the Intelligence Community’s ability to be agile, respond to emerging requirements, and stay ahead of current and projected threats,” said Ellen McCarthy, chair of INSA’s Acquisition Management Council and president of Noblis NSP. “Given the IC’s extensive reliance on private sector expertise, improving the arduous acquisition system has become a national security priority.”
In the report, INSA encourages the government to focus on the results contracts should generate rather than the inputs to be provided. Such an outcome-oriented approach would encourage the selection of contractors whose proposals and past performance suggest that they are best positioned to produce the results an agency is seeking.
Another recommendation is for the IC to encourage companies to take risks and develop innovative solutions. Establishing multi-year contract base periods, for example, would incentivize companies to invest in higher-end technology and skilled personnel, as such investments often cannot be recouped through a typical one-year commitment.
The report also recommends that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) establish an IC Business Panel, modeled after the Defense Business Board, to help the IC identify best practices to maximize results.
INSA is a non-partisan, non-political association that works to promote public-private collaboration on issues that affect the intelligence and national security communities. Its members include representatives from government, industry, and academia.
“INSA works to apply private sector expertise and experience to improve the efficiency of government,” said INSA President Chuck Alsup. “This white paper identifies a range of improvements which, if implemented, would enable industry to provide more timely and cost-effective support to intelligence agencies.”
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