DoD Acquisition Chief Carter: Using Fixed-price, Incentive-firm Contracts ‘Not Dogma’

Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics

Defense Department acquisition chief Ashton Carter is well-known for his public pronouncements on Pentagon procurement. He delivered one of his most high-profile recent speeches on defense-company mergers before the Wall Street investment firm, the Cowen Group, this winter.

But in addition to assuring defense industrial base investors, Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, has also been rallying the troops themselves

Carter stopped by Hanscom Air Force base in Massachusetts late last month to for a townhall discussion on the Pentagon budget as well as the department’s efficiency initiatives.

After wringing cost-savings from DoD by cutting unnecessary overhead and under-performing programs, the easy work is over, he said.

“What we have is what we want and need, and we need to complete them and we need to make that happen … for not more money every year,” he said.

The way to do that for not more money, as Carter artfully put it, is through the “Better Buying Power” guidance he has championed, he said.

Although using more fixed-price, incentive-firm contracts is encouraged in those guidelines, it’s “not dogma,” he said. “It applies only if we know what we’re doing, it isn’t going to change and the contractor knows the projected cost and has mastered the process.”

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