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Competition in acquisition is an important topic and has been since the Department of Defense (DoD) started acquiring systems from the defense industry. The key premise is that DoD will get greater value for the price paid as a result of competition. Some studies suggest savings in the 15 percent to 25 percent range and even greater under some conditions as a result of competition. However, greater value is not always tied to lower prices or cost savings. Greater value can be realized through a superior technical solution as part of a trade-off of price and other factors in a source selection.
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Development and implementation of the program acquisition strategy is clearly one of the most important tasks for a DoD program manager (PM) and the program office integrated product team (IPT). The recent Defense AT&L article, “The Acquisition Strategy” (May–June 2012) shared insights on teamwork, critical thinking, and pitfalls to avoid in developing the strategy. In this article, we will address some best practices, look at the state of affairs concerning acquisition strategies, and offer thoughts on initiatives that either could help or are helping PMs produce better results.