The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan upended the Pentagon’s labyrinthine acquisition system, opening the door to urgent purchases made outside the traditional procurement process.
For companies unaccustomed to government buying or shut out of traditional programs, these new entry points were a welcome way to make sales. Now, government and industry officials are calling for the Pentagon to avoid going back to business as usual, but improving the military’s ability to buy quickly won’t be easy.
Returning to the traditional process “would be the absolute worst thing that could happen,” said retired Col. Peter Newell, who previously led the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, one of the many organizations that popped up over the past 12 years to quickly buy equipment to address soldiers’ battlefield needs.
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