The annual DoD authorization bill in the House (HR-2810) would continue a series of steps aimed at strengthening the acquisition workforce there. Among the provisions as summarized by the House Armed Services Committee, which approved the bill last week:

* The acquisition demonstration project of alternative personnel policies and pay flexibilities would be extended through calendar year 2023.

* The Pentagon would have to evaluate “gaps in knowledge of industry operations, industry motivation, and business acumen in the acquisition workforce.”

* GAO would examine “the effectiveness of existing hiring flexibilities for the acquisition workforce, as well as the need for acquisition training for personnel who work in acquisition programs but are not formally considered part of the acquisition workforce.”

* The department could use the defense acquisition workforce development fund to pay salaries of personnel to manage the fund, in order to “improve the department’s ability to effectively sustain its acquisition workforce.”

The summary adds: “The committee believes that the hiring, training, and retention of highly qualified civilian personnel for the defense acquisition workforce is vital to maintaining military readiness, increasing the department’s buying power, and achieving substantial long-term savings through systems engineering and contracting. Therefore, the committee urges that planning for any workforce reduction that would affect the civilian acquisition workforce takes into consideration potential long-term effects of those reductions on cost, technical baseline, and warfighting capability.”