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GMU GovCon Center Playbook Seeks to Implement ‘Acquisition Next’ Mindset; Jerry McGinn Quoted

The Center for Government Contracting at George Mason University’s School of Business has released a playbook that advances a change in acquisition approach and mindset to ensure that the defense acquisition system can maintain its advantage over strategic competitors like Russia and China.

The document proposed an “Acquisition Next” mindset to help accelerate technology adoption and capability delivery and enable a joint force design, the GMU GovCon center said Tuesday.

The playbook suggests six plays designed to drive modularity, iteration, competition and speed in defense acquisition and the first three plays at the program level apply to all types of systems: requirements, market research and master the baseline.

For instance, the market research play calls for acquisition professionals to “make market intelligence a core and continuous organizational capability” by developing a strategy for active engagement, establishing a single-point of entry and carving out the budget.

According to the report, the first three plays enable iteration and modularity needed to advance the next three plays that apply to contracts with software intensive content. These software intensive plays are agile work statements, modular contracts and intellectual property.

To advance the second three plays, organizations should separate technical direction from contract work statements, reduce risks by dividing contract tasks over components and time and avoiding vendor lock with open application programming interfaces and rights to operational data.

“We worked to identify the practices that acquisition professionals and their industry counterparts can use now to innovate, iterate, scale, and field effective military capabilities for United States forces. Many of these practices are being used in programs, but widespread adoption will help drive culture change across the acquisition community,” said Jerry McGinn, executive director of GMU’s Center for Government Contracting and a 2022 Wash100 Award recipient.

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