WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following opening statement, as prepared for delivery, at the Full Committee's hearing entitled, "Assessing Military Service Acquisition Reform." For testimony and other information and to watch the hearing click here.
"A major priority for this Committee over the past three years has been reforming DOD's acquisition system to help ensure that the taxpayers get more value for their money and to improve our agility in dealing with the many serious security threats our country faces.
We have enacted literally hundreds of changes to the law designed to improve agility, streamline processes, remove cumbersome statutory requirements, and foster greater commercial industry participation in the defense sector. We have also augmented authorities to support rapid prototyping and fielding, the use of Other Transaction Authority (OTAs), as well as engagement with non-traditional contractors, all intended to accelerate innovation during a time when, as Secretary Mattis testified last month, 'our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare - air, land, sea, space, and cyber.'
A major part of the changes we have enacted have placed more authority and more responsibility for acquisition decisions back with the Services. Thus, it is essential for us to closely monitor whether the law is being followed and whether adjustments to it need to be made. In addition, we are looking at taking additional steps in this year's bill. We have done a lot, but a lot more remains to be done.
Today, we welcome as witnesses the Service Acquisition Executive from each of the three services. Only recently have all three Services had their confirmed 'SAEs' in place. But I also know that all three witnesses have had extensive experience in overcoming DOD's institutional challenges to agile acquisition in order to better deliver capabilities to our warfighters. Having this discussion early in their tenure in these crucial positions is appropriate. We will also be discussing these issues in hearings and briefings in the coming weeks with the service secretaries and with the service chiefs.
As with most initiatives of this Committee, the push for acquisition reform has been non-partisan with many Members on both sides of the aisle making substantial contributions. I have no doubt the commitment from the legislative branch will continue, and we look forward to working with our witnesses today and with others at DOD toward these essential goals."