PSC will host the inaugural Defense Services Conference November 21, with the theme “Strategy, Needs, & Solutions: A Government-Industry Partnership.” This event capstones a year of activity demonstrating a strengthened partnership between government and industry to deliver solutions that support our national security. This partnership has been made possible by leaders in the Pentagon who have prioritized industry relations and an active PSC Defense & Intelligence
Council that has increased engagement in 2019.

At a May 2019 press conference, Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, said “quarterly, we meet with CEOs from small, medium and large companies that are part of PSC, NDIA, and AIA, so that we can have a dialogue.” The Department of Defense (DoD) is undertaking many initiatives to reform its acquisition strategies, from Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and software acquisition to revising the Operations of the Defense Acquisition System, and drafting a department-wide intellectual property (IP) policy. Since the beginning of Ms. Lord’s tenure, PSC has been engaged with both DoD and our member companies on every one of those initiatives to shape their direction. The level of engagement by the current Pentagon leadership reflects a high-water mark for a productive government-industry partnership focused on adopting reforms to fulfill the National Defense Strategy.

Earlier this year, Ellen Lord publicly stated that rewriting the DoD Instruction on the Operation of the Defense Acquisition System (sometimes referred to as the “5000 series”) was one of her key objectives. This revision, referred to as the Adaptive Acquisition Framework, is intended to improve key tenants of the defense acquisition system by simplifying acquisition policy, relying on data-driven analysis, emphasizing sustainment, empowering program managers and tailoring acquisition approaches. PSC has been engaged to ensure our members’ concerns, questions and suggestions are heard by DoD. Furthermore, PSC continues to engage on revisions being made to elements of the Framework.

For example, the rewrite will also involve changes to software acquisition with tailored pathway programs. While PSC supports efforts to streamline the acquisition system and speed up contract actions and procurements, we have been concerned about life cycle costs and are actively engaging with DoD to address those issues and to seek updates from DoD before they finalize the new directive. The 5000 series includes developing a department-wide IP policy to manage and protect IP with standard clauses and requirements for sustainment and development. The Army issued Army Directive 2018-26, (Enabling Modernization through Management of Intellectual Property) on December 7, 2018, that provides IP acquisition management instructions for that military department only. PSC continues to engage DoD on the implementation of the department-wide policy that was released on October 16. PSC previously outlined several issues for DoD’s consideration regarding this policy, including industry retention of IP rights, deferred ordering and delivery of IP, sustainment and life-cycle costs, expertise, and IP evaluation.

As a trusted DoD partner, PSC is also involved in other initiatives such as the Army’s Advanced Manufacturing (AM) policy, the DoD Small Business Strategy, and the DoD Human Capital Initiative’s Public-Private Talent Exchange Program. In June, PSC hosted a listening session with Dr. Alexis Ross, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Strategy and Acquisition Reform), regarding the Army’s Advanced Manufacturing policy that was then signed by the Secretary of the Army on September 18. During the June session, PSC members addressed Advanced Manufacturing-related topics that had not yet been resolved, such as impact to vendors’ business and competition, the organic industrial base, incentivizing industry investments and developing the digital thread. PSC continues to engage with the Army as implementation guidance for the Army’s AM policy is finalized and implemented.

In September, PSC hosted a session with DoD officials on the developments of a DoD Small Business Strategy, as required by Section 851 of the FY19 NDAA. PSC discussed DoD’s priorities for the strategy, including implementing a unified management structure, aligning DoD’s small business activities with national defense priorities, and improving entry points for businesses. PSC continues to facilitate industry participation in the DoD Public-Private Talent Exchange
Program (PPTE) 2020 cohort. This two-way exchange pilot provides a platform for DoD and private sector participants to gain a better understanding of and perspective on each other’s business operations. For 2020, DoD will harness the lessons learned from the inaugural launch to further expand the program and its future opportunities. The PSC staff continues to engage directly with DoD on cybersecurity policy implementation, both with staff-level engagements
with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and other contracting officials. On September 25, PSC responded to the request for comment on the DoD released draft of the CMMC. PSC applauded DoD’s effort to create a unified cybersecurity standard but outlined concerns, recommendations, and questions regarding the implementation process, such as the planned governance structure and certification flow-down, 3rd party certification, and impact on competition.

PSC also participates in regular meetings with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Trade Association Partners (TAP), where government officials discuss key issue with industry partners. This venue helped PSC connect with Ms. Joyce Corell, Assistant Director, Supply Chain and Cyber Directorate, National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC). In June, Ms. Corell spoke at PSC’s Federal Acquisition Conference, providing remarks on “Acquisition at the Intersection of Supply Chain, Cybersecurity and Counterintelligence.” PSC will continue to engage the ODNI TAP to expand connectivity across the Intelligence Community (IC).

PSC applauds the DoD leadership for its investment in a strong government-industry partnership. While PSC and DoD do not agree on every issue, there is a strong commitment to a productive partnership that best supports our national security. In the months ahead, we will continue to expand engagement in DoD and into IC. Just as the Defense Services Conference seeks to showcase the solutions our member companies provide the DoD, we have many companies that provide unique solutions for the IC. PSC will continue to explore opportunities to highlight the importance of the work our members provide across the Defense & Intelligence communities. 

This article was published October 30, 2019 in the Fall 2019 edition of PSC's Service Contractor Magazine. Click here to view a PDF of this article.