April 10, 2015

CNAS Press Note: Better Buying Power at the Department of Defense

Washington, April 10 – Ben FitzGerald, director of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Technology and National Security Program, has written a new Press Note on DOD’s release of Better Buying Power (BBP) 3.0. The Press Note provides context for the BBP and makes recommendations for removing bureaucratic hurdles.

The full Press Note is available below:

Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall formally released Better Buying Power (BBP) 3.0 yesterday following a pre-release in the fall of 2014. As expected, yesterday’s release provided few surprises with only minor adjustments made to the pre-release documentation.

The two major new announcements were in the areas of cybersecurity and removing bureaucratic hurdles for industry:

Kendall spoke of the ‘pervasive threat’ of cyber theft, especially of unclassified technical data, and a need for comprehensive efforts to address this risk, to include industry, from design to logistics and the protection of tactical data. Kendall’s explicit intention is to ‘raise awareness’ on the importance of cybersecurity at all levels within the defense acquisition system. This will include a new enclosure to DODI 5000.02 addressing cyber responsibilities across the program lifecycle, a review of engineering processes to improve the cybersecurity of system designs and working groups across the Department and interagency to improve the protection of both classified and unclassified technical information.

Removing bureaucratic hurdles for industry was the other new area of focus in the formal release of BBP 3.0. Particular emphasis was placed on regulatory reporting requirements in the areas of costs and earned value management. As part of BBP 3.0, DOD will undertake a number of actions including pilot programs, legislative proposals and develop plans to address specific cost concerns.

The release was in some ways more notable for the efforts made by Work and Kendall to explain how BBP aligns with Secretary Work’s Defense Innovation Initiative (DII). The impact of the DII was clear in the focus on innovation and providing ‘dominant capabilities’ as Work put it, to the warfighter to support technological advantage. That rhetoric was supported through specific efforts like the Long Range Research and Develop Planning Program, initiated by Work but led by Kendall, showing an alignment between the two senior leaders.

Overall, it is clear that current Pentagon leadership has a clear understanding of the various challenges facing the DOD and defense industry from adaptive adversaries to rapid change in commercial technology. Leadership also understands the areas in which reform is required. The big question is to what extent, and over what period of time, will the logical actions outlined in BBP 3.0 be implemented and whether or not this will make a meaningful difference to well understood issues.
Mr. FitzGerald is available for interviews. To arrange an interview, please contact Neal Urwitz at nurwitz@cnas.org or call 202-457-9409.


  • Ben FitzGerald

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Ben FitzGerald is a partner at Lupa, a private investment firm, and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). At Lupa he leads the firm’s inve...