Boosting the Mission: Developing Acquisition Requirements Guidance
To keep up with the fast pace of change in the field of Government acquisitions, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) components are developing their own acquisition requirements (AR) policies. However, without specific timeframes to finalize these policies, DHS agencies often lack guidance on how to develop ARs. Amongst DHS agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard is leading the way with their own formal policy to describe this process. To compliment the U.S. Coast Guard’s policy, DHS created the Joint Requirements Integration and Management System (JRIMS) to offer direction for agencies—to review, validate, and suggest solutions for capability gaps and requirements.
JRIMS falls under the DHS Joint Requirements Council, an agency-wide group that identifies mission needs, conducts JRIMS training courses, and acquires solutions. In 2016, DHS included JRIMS in many directives, guiding components on how to create their own internal requirements development organizations (RDOs). However, challenges remain in the use of JRIMS, and opportunities exist to strengthen the roles of DHS components in this framework.
The following suggestions can help DHS agencies maximize JRIMS support and guidance:
Form clear internal communication channels across agencies. Clear internal communication channels will support the growth of independent RDOs
Set guidelines for agencies to create independent RDOs. Creating these organizations is important, as is structuring them in a way that they remain separate from their acquisition functions. If they remain separate, roles will not overlap, and all users will benefit from acquisition solutions
Shift agency emphasis on completing requirements documentation. Currently, agencies only complete requirements documentation to comply with department policies. Instead, present alternatives and change the conditions listed on annual agency acquisition documentation. It is important that agencies believe their components can identify what they need to acquire. Then, they can determine the best way to come up with the correct requirements development to get these acquisitions.
JRIMS guidance is vital to the mission needs of all DHS agencies, especially when considering that these agencies often lack guidance on how to develop ARs. JRIMS helps components in the capability assessment process by setting prioritization standards before they pursue specific acquisitions. In addition, forming clear communication channels and shifting the way agencies view requirements documents allows JRIMS to increase organizational efficiencies across DHS Acquisitions.
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