WASHINGTON, DC  – Today Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and Ranking Member John McHugh (R-NY) announce the formation of a special panel to address the ongoing challenge of defense acquisition reform.

Members of the Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform are:
Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Chairman        Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), Ranking Member
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)                            Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN)                        Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)
Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA)

 “Throughout my time in Congress, repeated efforts have been made to improve the federal acquisition process – some successful, some not.  In recent years the problems in DOD’s acquisition system have been particularly severe,” Chairman Skelton (D-MO) said. “Significant reforms are once again needed, in part because the acquisition system must change as DOD’s needs change.  The very talented Members on this panel will put a fresh set of eyes on the problem, and I look forward to their recommendations.”

 “Chairman Skelton and I stand together in launching an effort to add a Committee voice to the conversation about reforming the Pentagon’s acquisition system,” added Ranking Member McHugh (R-NY).  “Congress has already enacted significant changes to the acquisition process; nevertheless, improvements can always be made.  Before we simply enact more regulations, we must understand the root causes of the Department of Defense’s acquisition challenges in order to generate suggestions to affect real reform.  This is all the more important in an environment of declining defense spending on weapons systems, when we must ensure that every dollar is spent as effectively as possible.”

 Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) commented, “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to lead work on such an important, challenging issue. During these economic times, it is vital that we ensure our defense acquisition system provides the best to our warfighters while making the most efficient use of the taxpayer’s money. I look forward to working with Mr. Conaway and the other members of the panel to advance the process of reforming DOD’s acquisition.”
 “I am pleased to be named ranking member of this panel, and I look forward to working with Chairman Andrews to examine the acquisition and procurement processes at the Department of Defense.  The important work on this panel will be to look at how the Department of Defense acquires the necessary equipment to provide our men and women with the best possible tools and equipment available,” said Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX).

The Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform will be established for a six month period with the option of being extended another six month period. The panel will address broad issues surrounding the defense acquisition process including: how to evaluate performance and value in the current system, the root causes of system failures, the administrative and cultural pressures that lead to negative outcomes, and the reform recommendations of previous studies. Upon its conclusion, the panel will release a report outlining its findings in order to provide guiding principles to the FY2011 defense authorization act. For this year’s defense authorization act, the panel’s work is expected to inform the committee’s efforts as different pieces of acquisition reform legislation come under consideration.