Bipartisan, bicameral legislation reforms DoD process to maximize performance and long-term value for the taxpayer
Apr 21 2016
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) have introduced S. 2826, the bipartisan Promoting Value Based Defense Procurement Act. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA). The legislation would ensure that the Department of Defense (DoD) seeks the best long-term value for the taxpayers during the procurement process for complex information technology and engineering services by providing greater clarity on DoD’s existing Lowest Price, Technically Acceptable (LPTA) evaluation criteria.
Through the LPTA process, all proposals meeting a defined set of minimum technical requirements are considered, and the contract is awarded to the lowest-price bidder. However, in cases of more complex and knowledge-based procurements, such as IT services, technical requirements are often harder for DoD to fully define and articulate, and the least expensive option may not be the best overall value if it doesn’t encourage participation by private-sector partners providing innovative products and services and the most talented people.
The Promoting Value Based Defense Procurement Act would ensure that DoD is using LPTA in the most effective and appropriate manner. The bill directs DoD to avoid, to the maximum extent practicable, LPTA criteria when the procurement is for information technology, systems engineering and technical assistance, or other knowledge-based professional services.
“The current LPTA focus on price makes sense when the Pentagon is purchasing belts, bolts, and ballpoint pens, yet it provides no incentive for DoD to seek-out the most innovative IT and engineering solutions, especially important as we are working to encourage more innovation in cybersecurity. In many ways, LPTA discourages participation by companies investing in cutting-edge capabilities,” Sen. Warner said. “Innovation and technological problem-solving are key to maintaining America’s competitive edge in the 21st century, and Pentagon procurement officers require the flexibility to use updated criteria when evaluating cutting-edge technology and IT services in ways that protect our military men and women and the taxpayers.”
"The Department of Defense has a responsibility to provide our Armed Forces with high quality, advanced equipment while remaining a responsible steward of taxpayers’ dollars,” said Sen. Rounds. “This bill will help make sure that DOD is using LPTA in an appropriate manner while avoiding its use in determining source selection for complex, innovative technology and engineering services, where the least expensive option is often not the best long-term value. This is in the best interests of our war fighters and our taxpayers.”
“Low costs cannot be the only consideration when safeguarding America’s most valuable information,” said Rep. Beyer. “LPTA is a valuable tool, but it can undermine DOD procurement flexibility and should not be used to purchase complex, innovative programs.”
“Technology is evolving at a faster rate than ever before,” Rep. Wittman said, “and yet our DoD procurement system often lags behind. Twenty-first century tech solutions shouldn’t be out of reach for our military. Low cost can and often should be the primary consideration in commodity procurement, it absolutely should not dictate DoD decision-making when it comes to finding superior, information technical systems.”
The text of S. 2826 is available here.