The Lexington Institute is organizing a Capitol Hill panel on defense acquisition reform on December 1, 2009.
Confirmed speakers to date are:
• Mr. David Berteau, Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic & International Studies;
• Mr. Robert Burton, former Deputy Administrator for Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget (2001-2008);
• Mr. Jon Etherton, former Professional Staff, Senate Armed Services Committee;
• Dr. Jacques Gansler, former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (1997-2001); and
• Dr. Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress.
Here are a few of the themes we are developing for the program:
President Obama entered office having repeatedly pledged on the campaign trail to reform Pentagon acquisition practices and restrain the excesses of wayward contractors. He soon made good on his promises, advancing a series of initiatives to bolster the ranks of acquisition personnel, tighten contracting terms, eliminate conflicts of interest, and insource activities previously performed by private companies. The tenor of these reforms was captured in unusually blunt remarks made by the President in March:
It’s time to end the extra costs and long delays that are all too common in our defense contracting. We need to invest in technologies that are proven and cost-effective. We need more competition for contracts and more oversight as they’re carried out. If a system isn’t ready to be developed, we shouldn’t pour resources into it. And if a system is plagued by cost overruns, it should be reformed. No more excuses; no more delays. The days of giving defense contractors a blank check are over.
Congress has accommodated the President by passing sweeping acquisition-reform legislation. However, the process of translating executive and legislative intent into regulations governing arcane issues like pricing and organizational conflicts is far from complete. Past experience suggests that anytime major reform of the weapons-purchasing process is attempted, there are unforeseen consequences. Experience also demonstrates that while everyone favors efficient, professional acquisition practices, there is much disagreement on the details of what that means. So it is not clear today whether the latest wave of reforms will produce significant process improvements or budgetary savings.
Please contact Lisanne Boling regarding your ability to accept this invitation either via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 703-522-5828.
Defense Acquisition Reform Conference
Rayburn House Office Building – Room 2103
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
(Refreshments will be served.)
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