Reform bill could kill contractors' acquisition expertise

Levin-McCain Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act prompts sell-offs

Major defense companies are planning to sell some of their subsidiaries so they don’t contravene the new acquisition reform legislation passed by Congress that bars contractors from owning companies that advise the government on acquisitions, reports the online defense and acquisition journal DoD BUZZ.

The article cites as “the most glaring example” Northrop Grumman Corp.’s pending sale of TASC, as reported last month in Washington Technology. The Northrop subsidiary provides the military and the intelligence community with technical advice on acquisitions and operations.

The Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act was drafted by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The National Reconnaissance Office, for one, is interpreting the bill’s language very strictly, said the online article citing unnamed intelligence community sources.

Lockheed Martin’s Valley Forge operation, which provides technical advice to the military and the intelligence community, could also be a “likely candidate for divestiture given the NRO’s approach and the law,” the article stated.

In addition, the article warned that the new law might also destroy the acquisition expertise companies such as TASC possess to help the government buy what it needs, build it well and get what it pays for.

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