Washington, D.C. – Today Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Vic Snyder(D-AR) and Ranking Member Rob Wittman (R-VA) released the following statement after a subcommittee hearing to conduct oversight of provisions in the FY08 and FY09 National Defense Authorization Acts increasing authorities and mandating improvements for DOD’s acquisition workforce.
Chairman Vic Snyder (D-AR) opened the hearing by quoting one of the witnesses’ written statements, Shay Assad, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition and Technology wrote, “The objective is straightforward: to ensure DOD has the right acquisition capability and capacity to produce best value for the American taxpayer and for the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who depend on the weapons, products and services we buy.” People are the key.
Chairman Snyder summed up the hearing: “Despite the critical importance of the acquisition workforce to the warfighter, national security and the taxpayer, Congress, the Department, and the military culture haven’t always recognized their value. We think we may be turning the corner now in Congress and the Department. We’ve given the Department the tools and the Services have built their strategies to recruit, train, and retain, the workforce – but the key will be sustaining that workforce over time, and this hearing today was an excellent opportunity to see the progress that’s been made. But there is more to do.”
“Our focus today is not the system, but its most important element—its people. Any complex system requiring sound judgment, creativity, and financial prudence needs talented, motivated professionals,” Ranking Member Rob Wittman (R-VA) said. “What we are really doing is assembling a team of inventors, developing and packaging capabilities in ways heretofore unimagined at taxpayer expense. It is extraordinarily difficult to produce any new, capable weapons system, much less produce it on an exact schedule, to exacting performance standards, within an exact budget. As much as I’d like to see more precision, we do need to trust good people to make reasonable decisions on the nation’s behalf.”
In the FY08 and FY09 Defense Authorization Acts, Congress established the Acquisition Workforce Development Fund, increasing resources for recruiting and training a highly skilled workforce; provided expedited hiring authority for acquisition professionals; called for a thorough review of inherently governmental functions; and established a career path for military personnel in the acquisition field.