From fiscal years 2016-2019, Congress sought to drive massive acquisition reform in DOD by passing more than 300 reform provisions, according to analysis that recently appeared inDefense News.  Included among these was a fundamental reorganization of the Pentagon’s acquisition bureaucracy, a host of new flexible funding authorities, and greater consideration for commercial best practices across software development and basic business operations.  The Department of Defense, however, has yet to effectively wield all the new tools Congress gave it.  Now, Ranking House Armed Services Republican Mac Thornberry (R-GA), the catalyst for many of the recent reforms, is urging the Pentagon to get on with it and implement not only already authorized flexibilities, but new ones he is promoting via the Continuing Acquisition Reform measure he expects to attach to the FY’20 Defense Authorization bill.  Thornberry seeks to restore trust between the Pentagon and Congress, citing his belief that the breakdown in that trust is responsible not only for new oversight passed by Congress, but an atmosphere of caution inside the Pentagon.  Rather than saddling the acquisition system with new regulations, reporting requirements and complexity, Thornberry’s bill aims to have the Pentagon actually use the tools it already has.  Contractors can play a role here, as well, by educating DOD customers on the flexibilities Congress has enacted over the last several years and providing use cases that show the specific benefits of these reforms.  Contractors cannot assume that their DOD customers know about all of the changes, and especially not how to use them.  To paraphrase Thornberry, “Help your customer help themselves.”