WASHINGTON — Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain wants to give the armed services a shot at managing major weapon programs and allow the Pentagon buying chief to focus on future needs.
The Arizona Republican crafted the upper chamber’s version of the 2016 Pentagon policy bill, which contains a section that, if adopted in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), would give the service chiefs, secretaries and acquisition executives program management authorities now held by the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L).
The biggest changes McCain is proposing — and the full SASC backed — would be to make the service acquisition executives the milestone decision authority for non-joint weapon programs transferred to or started under service control.
A committee aide said lawmakers would like new service-specific programs to be launched under service management. If the McCain-crafted proposals are enacted, a committee aide said “a small number” of major acquisition programs would eventually transfer to service control.