The Department of the Air Force released its Fiscal Year 2019/2020 Acquisition Biennial Report April 9, emphasizing how the Department is embracing digital acquisition to field systems faster and smarter.
The report reviews the overall management of more than 60 of the largest acquisition programs. It offers another level of transparency between the Department and taxpayers, offering insights into aggregated and individual programs compared against established baselines that show how the Department balances program cost, schedule and performance to meet warfighter needs and optimize taxpayers’ dollars.
“As stewards of our nation’s resources, it is important that we share insights into our acquisition performance,” said Darlene Costello, acting assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.
The report also focuses heavily on how the Department of the Air Force acquisition made strides in speed and agility using advances in digital acquisition and commercial ventures that are changing weapon system procurement today.
“We have realized that how we build is as important as what we build and who we build it with. We are expanding the industrial base by finding innovation where it is happening, big or small,” Costello said. “Successful implementation of digital acquisition goes hand-in-hand with our ability to integrate technology innovation occurring across the commercial market, especially in areas currently untapped by the Defense Department.”
The Department continued to leverage the middle tier of acquisition rapid prototyping and fielding authorities granted by Congress. It tailored or removed non-value-added acquisition steps that previously bogged down programs and slowed capability to warfighters.
In May 2019, the Department achieved its “Century Challenge” goal of removing 100 years from program schedules. By the end of FY20, it had identified more than 83 years of program accelerations for the middle tier of acquisition programs and an additional 29 years of accelerations by tailoring traditional acquisition programs.
The report also highlights how the contracting enterprise leapt into action for the unprecedented Department of Defense pandemic response. The Department of the Air Force COVID-19 Task Force, or DAF ACT, was established in only 48 hours on March 25, 2020. The team supported the interagency in expanding the U.S. medical industrial capacity. It also assessed and tracked impacts on acquisition programs and preserved key industrial base capabilities.
“Our outstanding Air Force and Space Force acquisition teams continued to deliver capability to the warfighter through adversity and unforeseen pandemic conditions without hesitation or delay,” Costello said. “It’s a testament to our cutting edge talent.”