Sen. John McCain is 78 years old. But that doesn’t mean cyberspace escapes him.
The Arizona Republican and incoming Senate Armed Services Committee chairman says in all his years in Washington — 31 total — the cyber issue holds a special distinction. McCain told a forum here Wednesday that of all the meetings he has attended on a long list of issues, none has less action happened afterwards than on threats emanating from cyberspace.
That’s why, when asked by a conference moderator about his top agenda items for his coming SASC chairmanship, cyber ranks among the top three.
Also in McCain’s crosshairs: cost-plus contracts, which he says the defense sector has manipulated by “low-balling” bids to secure contracts only to take actions that guarantee maximum profits far above the initial bid.
“If your roof leaks,” McCain asked the audience, “do you hire a guy to fix it on a cost-plus contract?”
As the audience buzzed in agreement, McCain added this quip: “My wife has done that.”
He also reiterated his desire to address the Defense Department’s portion of sequestration in the next Congress. But he added an intention to also seek meaningful changes to the Pentagon’s buying system, saying massive cost overruns on big-ticket weapon systems “has got to end.”
Notably, Ash Carter, the former deputy defense secretary reportedly to be tapped soon as the next defense secretary, has a background in acquisition reform.