Intelligence office needs industry help to attain ‘acquisition agility’

Kevin Meiners, assistant director of national intelligence for acquisition, technology and facilities, speaking at Tuesday's INSA Symposium on acquisition, said that industry would play a huge role in reshaping the intelligence community's acquisition process. (Photo by INSA)

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Industry stakeholders will have a voice in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s redesign of the intelligence community’s acquisition process, officials said Tuesday.

ODNI is looking at new ways to make its acquisition process faster and more innovative as part of a massive agency reorganization that it’s calling “acquisition agility.”

Speaking at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance’s acquisition event Tuesday, Kevin Meiners, assistant director of national intelligence for acquisition, technology and facilities, said the focus of acquisition agility is converting a years-long process into one that takes just months.

“When I think acquisition agility, does it mean speed?” Meiners asked. “I would say yes, it’s mission speed.”

To add speed, ODNI is focusing on three key points between now and July: introducing new tools into procurement, bolstering the workforce and incorporating more industry feedback into the process to promote innovation.

“The acquisition process is pretty flexible, pretty tailorable, but what you want to do is shorten your timelines, get more tech into the process and more innovative ideas on the front end,” said Kelly Gaffney, assistant deputy director of national intelligence for acquisition, technology and facilities. “In some cases, we have to specify a solution to [industry]. In other cases, maybe what we really just want to do is explain the problem and give you a little bit of space to come in and tell us what you would do with that problem and how you would approach it.”

Because different intelligence agencies have different acquisition authorities, Meiners said ODNI is also looking to industry to talk about the flexibilities within the process that can be used now to facilitate that innovation.

He added that while the finer details of the plan will be developed over the next 100 days, industry will have to have a “huge input” on how it plays out.

“I think that’s going to be defining over the next couple of months here in terms of what does acquisition agility mean and what are the sort of initiatives that we can plug away at,” Meiners said.

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Acquisition, Acquisition reform, intelligence, Intelligence and National Security Alliance, Kevin Meiners, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
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