“The Senate Armed Services Committee likely will not consider the House version of the bill to improve how the Defense Department conducts acquisition.
“Peter Levine, the counsel for the Senate committee, says instead the upper chamber will consider provisions the House includes in the 2011 Defense Authorization bill. House lawmakers already have said they plan to include a significant amount of the IMPROVE Act’s language in the authorization bill. The White House also has come out in strong support of the bill’s provisions. Levine [spoke] Thursday during a panel discussion in Arlington, Va., sponsored by the Coalition for Government Procurement.
“The House passed the IMPROVE Act late Wednesday nearly unanimously. It will attempt to reform four large areas of DoD contracting, including the acquisition workforce, military financial management, expanding the number of vendors who do business with DoD and ensuring against waste, fraud and abuse.
“Jim Schweiter, a former House Armed Services Committee staff member and now an attorney with McKenna, Long and Aldridge, says he agrees with Levine about the House bill lacking focus.
“Molly Wilkinson, minority counsel for the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, says ranking member Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced two acquisition workforce bills.
“One would create a Master’s program for people just finishing undergraduate studies who then would go into a three-year program where they would take a combination of classes and rotation assignments in government.
“Wilkinson says Collins also is looking into adding a rotational assignment with industry.
“The second bill would provide a larger budget for the Federal Acquisition Institute, bring it under the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and create governmentwide training and standards for acquisition workers.
“Wilkinson also says Collins is concerned about the administration is considering the high road contracting program.
“Collins has written two letters to the White House and hasn’t received a briefing about it.
“Collins also is working with Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the committee, on a new cybersecurity bill. Wilkinson wouldn’t offer any details about what’s in the bill, but says it should be ready in a matter of weeks. “
I played highlights of all three speakers on the show today; you can hear the entire presentation by clicking the audio link (please note Mr. Levine’s comments begin in progress).