Reforming defense department acquisition policy: UM expert

March 04, 2009

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - There's no "silver bullet" for reforming U.S. Department of Defense purchasing and acquisition policies, but they do need reforming, says University of Maryland public policy professor Jacques Gansler, who testified today before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Gansler directed the Defense Department's acquisition operation during the Clinton administration and has served as a consultant for the Pentagon in intervening years. http://www.publicpolicy.umd.edu/facstaff/faculty/gansler.html

His testimony on S-454, the Defense Acquisition Reform bill, highlights the need for a new approach to defense acquisition, including research and development, to meet the new security challenges in the 21st century, as well as the fiscal realities.

Gansler recently published an article on the subject last fall - before the election - one of a series of essays prepared by the University of Maryland School of Public Policy faculty. http://www.publicpolicy.umd.edu/news/fall08-PubPolforWEB.pdf

Here's a brief summary of Gansler's prepared statement provided to the committee:

CHALLENGES

"I need not tell you that the U.S., in the 21st Century, faces incredible National Security Challenges - brought on by dramatic world changes that require:

1) A new, Holistic View of Security (e.g., DoD, State, DHS, DNI, etc.) - utilizing both 'hard' and 'soft' power;

2) Addressing a Broad Spectrum of Security Missions - with great unpredictability (from Terrorism to Nuclear Deterrence);

3) Taking full advantage of Globalization (of Technology, Industry, etc.);

4) Recognizing the long-term National Security implications of: the global financial crisis, the impact of climate change, the need for energy security, the growing anti-globalization backlash, worldwide pandemics, the challenging U.S. demographics, and to do all of this in a likely fiscally-constrained budget environment." (Excerpt from Gansler's prepared remarks)

ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGES

"To address these challenges, four, highly interrelated acquisition issues must be addressed (by the DOD and Congress):

1) What goods and services to buy (the "requirements" process);

2) How to buy them ('acquisition reform');

3) Who does the acquiring (the acquisition workforce) ;

4) From whom is it acquired (the industrial base).

I wish I could tell you that there was a 'silver bullet' to address the needed changes; but this truly requires a broad set of initiatives in each of the four areas - - if the nation is to achieve the required 21st Century National Security posture." (Excerpt from Gansler's prepared remarks).
-end-
COMPLETE PREPARED STATEMENT AND VIDEO

Gansler's complete prepared statement is available online: http://armed-services.senate.gov/statemnt/2009/March/Gansler%2003-03-09.pdf

Video of the hearing is available online: http://armed-services.senate.gov/Webcasts.htm

GANSLER BIO

Dr. Gansler is Professor and Roger C. Lipitz Chair, as well as Director of the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise at the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland. He served as Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) from 1997 - 2001. http://www.publicpolicy.umd.edu/facstaff/faculty/gansler.html

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Neil Tickner
Senior Media Relations Associate
University of Maryland
301-405-4622
ntickner@umd.edu

Dawn Pulliam
UM Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise
301-405-8258
cpulliam@umd.edu

University of Maryland

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