A group of moderate House Democrats wants to require military program managers be versed in the weapon programs they would be overseeing prior to taking office.
In a new, 10-page report proposing Pentagon acquisition reforms, the 55-member New Democrat Coalition wants to “professionalize military acquisition leadership.”
“Far too often acquisition leaders do not have a solid background in acquisition or lack the technical background or familiarity with the industry associated with the government’s desired solution,” states the NDC report.
Read the official biographies of military program managers and one often will find officers will one or more academic degrees — liberal arts degrees, not engineering or other technical fields.
As a solution, the Democrats have several ideas:
■ “Require the [US] Comptroller General to review the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act and determine its applicability and effectiveness to today’s acquisition challenges.
■ “Require program leadership to have experience (in either the workforce or education) in acquisition and the subject of the program or portfolio before being appointed.
■ “Evaluate the viability of established integrated acquisition teams with designated leaders fully supported by key internal stakeholders (end-users, contracting, engineering, legal, budget, etc.). Evaluate the entire team on the overall outcomes achieved, not just on how well each component conducted its individual function.”
One analyst who closely studies Pentagon acquisition issues applauded the lawmakers’ proposal.