The Pentagon is developing acquisition guidelines for the military services that show the industrial base implications of decisions made during the weapons-buying process.
“What I’d like to do … is work more closely with the service acquisition executives so that we provide a tool to them that when they do their budget building process … they can understand the industrial base implications much more clearly,” Frank Kendall, the acting undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said during a Feb. 6 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Kendall — who the White House has nominated to become the Pentagon’s top weapon buyer — discussed these guidelines with the acquisition executives from the Air Force, Army and Navy during an offsite meeting in recent weeks.
“I would much rather be engaged early in a cooperative way with the services to make sure industrial base things are taken into account,” he said.
At the same time, the Pentagon is prepared to protect unique industrial base suppliers at risk of going out of business. However, don’t expect on these “interventions” happing often, especially as defense budgets tighten, Kendall said.
Kendall urged defense companies to keep DoD officials aware of potential supplier issues.
“If people see that there is a supplier who’s in trouble, or they’re in trouble themselves they need to come and let us know,” he said. “If they look out and see their business base eroding, see that they’re not going to be viable for whatever reason, we need to know that. Then we can do assessments that look at whether we need to retain competition there or if it’s a niche capability and we have to continue to support … how we might intervene.”