COULD FY’17 SEE MORE ACQUISITION $$?
House and Senate Armed Services Committees are actively considering unfunded wish lists of service branches, the Coast Guard is receiving a substantial increase to upgrade its fleet, IT officials are clamoring for more cyber money? Could FY’17 be the year when money starts flowing back into the acquisition system? Federal contracting dollars have declined steadily over the past 3-5 years, largely due to military draw-downs overseas. It turns out that those dollars are still needed, though, to fund other projects critical to maintaining or restoring US infrastructure. Whether it’s a mission critical cyber solution, boat, aircraft, or essential readiness training, federal agencies have been aggressive and candid with Congress about their needs – and the risks associated with not meeting them. To be sure, this Congress is unlikely to blow spending caps and print free money for all. It is increasingly likely, though, that cuts from other programs, or a DOD gimmick like “Other Contingency Operations” funding, money that is excluded from caps, will result in more acquisition activity as early as next fiscal year. FY’18 could feed on this, depending on the outcome of the November elections.
Yes, we know that the US debt load is always a concern, but Congress could cut all acquisitions down to nothing and still not have much of an impact. Only when someone gets the political courage to take on entitlement spending will there be an opportunity for any serious work on this front. Until then, funding must continue to be provided so that the business of government can continue to be achieved.