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New acquisition process awards contracts in weeks

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (AFNS) -- A new government open architecture acquisition process that can award contracts in weeks instead of years was tested here June 8-11.

The process, called PlugFest, is an interactive industry event where companies get to “plug-in” to a given open system architecture and test their products for government representatives. Open system architectures are products where multiple vendors can provide their capabilities using common interface.

“This new acquisition process will shrink the acquisition timeline for open architecture systems from multiple years to a few weeks,” said Camron Gorguinpour, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisitions) director of transformational innovation.

“The Department of Defense is focused on transitioning its systems to open architectures to the greatest extent possible, because doing so reduces costs, expands competition and enables faster adoption of cutting-edge technologies.” Gorguinpour said.

The system for this test was the Distributed Common Ground Station trainer, which is the Air Force’s primary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) collection, processing, exploitation, analysis and dissemination (CPAD) system.

During the transition to open architectures, improving the current acquisitions systems will help the Air Force to take full advantage of all opportunities that the open architectures provide, Gorguinpour said.

Plugfest Plus allows the Air Force to make faster acquisitions while providing Airmen with the newest technologies from both traditional and nontraditional defense contractors, he added.

In addition, the Open Acquisition System, using the Plugfest Plus framework, will allow Airmen to receive capabilities faster and allow them to operate systems that are suitable for the 21st century, Gorguinpour said.

“(The) Air Force Research (Laboratory) is working to develop a more permanent acquisition vehicle to take this process beyond the demonstration into regular use,” Gorguinpur said. “The permanent vehicle will be used to formally evolve PlugFest Plus into a more robust Open Acquisition System process.”

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