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Pentagon Acquisition Reorganization Could Help Fight Adversaries

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The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act provides for the reorganization of the Pentagon’s buying office, and it could be a key part of outpacing adversaries’ tech development.

By February 2018, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, known as AT&L, will be split into two separate roles: one undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, and another for acquisition and sustainment.

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“We’re not doing this for a business management reason,” Bill Greenwalt, a professional staff member to the Senate Armed Services Committee, said during a meeting hosted by the Professional Services Council on Friday. “There is a fear ... that some of our potential adversaries are really boosting up their research and development functions [and] copying what we have.”

“We need to figure out a way to bring those technologies and those operational concepts into the Department of Defense," he added.

AT&L needed to be split into smaller roles because it has “grown too big, tries to do too much and is too focused on compliance at the expense of innovation,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement in November.

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