Today, the House Armed Services Committee's Panel on Business Challenges Within the Defense Industry released their report Challenges to Doing Business with the Department of Defense: Findings of the Panel on Business Challenges in the Defense Industry. The report is the culmination of six months of work examining the challenges that businesses face when working with the Department of Defense. In completing its work, the Panel met with or heard testimony from more than 150 people from around the country representing government, industry, think tanks, and academia.
"For the past seven months, the Panel on Business Challenges within the Defense Industry has focused its efforts on identifying the challenges businesses face in working with the Department of Defense to improve our national security," said Congressman Bill Shuster, the Panel's chairman.
"Across the country, we heard the same thing from businesses, academics and researchers: navigating the defense acquisitions process is difficult for allbusinesses, but is particularly difficult for small businesses."
"Our investigation into the defense business environment has resulted in this report, which outlines a set of recommendations that should be taken to make the defense acquisition process leaner, less risk adverse, improve business to government relations and embrace emerging technologies.We've included recommendations that we believe are actionable -- many of which we recommend for inclusion in as part of this year's defense authorization act." Congressman Shuster said.
"A strong defense industrial base is critical to both our national security and economy," Rep. Rick Larsen, ranking member on the panel, said. "As the Defense Department resets after a decade of war, we need to make sure our defense dollars are used in the most efficient way and go to the most innovative technologies that support our troops. Ourrecommendations are designed to streamline the defense acquisition process and remove barriers for smaller contractors. Small businesses are true innovators and important job-creators. It is critical they are given every opportunity to compete for defense contracts."
"Thanks to Congressman Shuster and the other members of the panel, as well as all the businesses we met with at our roundtables around the country. From the meeting in my district in Northwest Washington to the meetings in all our members' districts and in Washington, DC, we were able to hear directly from small businesses about the challenges they face. Their input was critical when helping us make our recommendations," Larsen added.
The report includes several key recommendations, including:
Requiring the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Service Secretaries, to develop a long-term strategy for maintaining a robust and effective defense industrial base.
Requiring the Secretary of Defense to develop policies and mechanisms to improve communication with industry to better enable industry to allocate independent R&D resources and make investments to meet the future needs of the Department.
Ensuring that work being reserved for small business performance is actually performed by small businesses.
Continuing to rebuild the breadth and depth of the defense acquisition workforce which will, in all likelihood, save money and improveacquisition outcomes.
Simplifying and streamlining the acquisition process by conducting a comprehensive review of the laws and regulations that govern the acquisition process in order to repeal or amend regulations that are outdated or have had unintended consequences that outweigh the original intent of the regulation.
Representatives Shuster and Larsen, together with other members of the Panel on Small Business Challenges will participate in a media availability tomorrow, Wednesday March 21st at 2:30 in room 2118 Rayburn.