Software Development, IT Modernization Top Defense Acquisition Strategic Priorities

As the rapid development of emerging technologies continues to have transformative impacts on today’s battlespace, U.S. defense agencies have recently shifted their priorities to reflect an exponentially increasing demand for modernization, optimization and cybersecurity.

LinkedIn Follow

The Department of Defense created a new acquisition framework in January 2020, with a dedicated software acquisition pathway designed to deliver much-needed updates and reform the department’s outdated acquisition processes to drive more commercial partnerships.

However, in a recent study, the Government Accountability Office found that though DOD increasingly uses software for mission-critical weapon systems and vital IT infrastructures, the department’s data collection and agile development efforts are not advancing at a pace on par with modern technological developments.

GAO recommended that the DOD automate its data collection process to ensure the most effective use of its new software acquisition pathway. This guidance is expected to shift the department’s priorities and acquisition strategies towards software reform.

Additionally, with the Department of Defense’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control initiative, known as JADC2, nearing its implementation phase and consequent department-wide deployment, defense agencies focus on technology integration, bolstered network capabilities transitioning legacy infrastructures to cloud and hybrid environments.

In the Army Digital Transformation Strategy, published on Oct. 20, Army CIO Dr. Raj Iyer outlined how the service branch plans to achieve fundamental changes through digital transformation in response to the constant progression of digital technologies and subsequent modernization efforts across military branches.

The ADTS, in conjunction with the Army Unified Network Plan released on Oct. 8, envisions achieving a digitally-enabled, data-driven Army by 2028 through concrete steps including creating a unified could environment, consolidating enterprise digital requirements to increase purchasing power and investing in data, systems and software interoperability to strengthen communications with allied partners.

The U.S. Army is also changing its acquisition approach to allow for more flexibility and efficiency in its Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution process to keep the branch up to speed with persistent cyberspace evolution.

Similarly, acting assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition Jay Stefany said the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget would notably prioritize modernization efforts, such as its Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program, alongside sustainment and readiness initiatives.

Under the initiative, the Navy utilizes revolutionary 3D modeling technology to create “digital twins” of its four public naval repair yards for use in the redesign and optimization of the naval yards. The digital twins are expected to be completed by December 2021 and will help the Navy create a tactical plan for the naval yard redesign project by the end of fiscal year 2022.

During the Defense Information Systems Agency’s 2021 Forecast to Industry on Oct. 29, leaders including Douglas Packard, chief of the defense information technology contracting organization and director of the procurement directorate for DISA, discussed the agency’s plans to advance its Thunderdome zero-trust initiatives following DISA’s recent reorganization.

DISA has also recently made advancements in its Defense Enterprise Office Solution cloud migration program, and the agency will continue to focus its efforts on addressing the challenges of department-wide program implementation and global use.

The Defense Acquisition Priorities Forum, hosted by GovCon Wire Events on Dec. 7, will gather distinguished federal and industry defense experts to examine the current strategies, challenges and priorities influencing acquisitions in the defense sector today.

DOD’s Christopher O’Donnell will serve as keynote speaker. DISA’s Douglas Packard and Capt. Ben Van Buskirk of NavalX, will take part in a panel discussion on what’s next for defense agencies as they work to match the speed of innovation and better secure the nation.

Visit the GovCon Wire Events page to register for the Defense Acquisition Priorities Forum on December 7th.

Video of the Day

GovCon Wire Logo

Sign Up Now! GovCon Wire provides you with Daily Updates and News Briefings about Events

Related Articles