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Reforming defense department acquisition policy: UM expert

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.

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.

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


"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)


"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).


Contact: Neil Tickner
University of Maryland

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