In 1972, the Commission on Government Procurement wrote that Congress should limit its acquisition legislation to fundamental acquisition matters and let the Executive Branch implement Congress's policy through specific acquisition regulation. If Congress had listened, it would be passing less acquisition legislation, doing a better jub of fulfilling its oversight responsibility of acquisition activities, and the FAR Councils could be performing their regulatory duty to implement Congress's acquisition policies.
Unfortunately, Congress didn't listen. Today, Congress doesn't deal with fundamental acquisition matters, it deals with acquisition minutiae and details--especially when it comes to the Department of Defense (DoD). Someone thinks of an idea and before you know Congress is passing another acquisition requirement. Apparently, no thought is too small for another bit of defense acquisition legislation. For the most part, Congress meddles in the acquisition process through the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. These committees propose acquisition legislation in their annual National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA) with much of it in Title VIII of the NDAAs. Title VIII is usually labeled: Acquisition Policy, Acquisition Management, and Related Matters.
In the past 17 NDAAs, Congress has passed 725 sections of legislation in Title VIII of the NDAAs. At least another 166 sections of acquisition legislation are included in other Titles of the 17 NDAAs. That's at least 891 sections of acquisition legislation in the past 17 NDAAs. What is worse, Congress is picking up its legislative pace and has passed more sections of acquisition legislation in the past 3 years than ever before.
If you have been a follower of Wifcon.com for the past 17 years, you would be familiar with the 17 NDAAs by looking here. Take a look at the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 sections for Title VIII. Do you see coherent acquisition policy? No, you do not! Its a lot of junk legislation patched onto a growing body of junk legislation that is also called Title 10 of the U. S. Code.
Don't think you are safe if you are in a civilian agency. Remember, the NDAA is an annual event and during debate on the Senate or House NDAA versions, any stray piece of legislation may attach itself to the NDAA. It's kind of like a tick or leech latching onto you. Take another look at the sticky bomb idea on another of my blog entries. If you throw an amendment at the NDAA during the debate process, it might stick to the NDAA and become law. See if you can identify the source of TITLE XVII that is included in this year's NDAA.
I'm getting angry again just thinking about this so I better end here. However, you should get angry too. If you need some incentive to get angry, there are about 250 sections from the last 3 NDAAs waiting for the FAR Councils.
I've posted a 9-page article with tables to the Analysis Page with the same name as this blog entry. You can probably see my anger growing with sarcasm as I progress towards the end of that article--see the part on zombie legislation.
Some of you are too young to remember the movie Network. However, there is a part of the movie where the character Howard Beale decides he has had enough. I looked at it again this morning.