* James “Hondo” Guerts was sworn in last week as U.S. Navy Acquisition Chief. Our interview took place before his nomination.
“We’ve been at war for the longest time ever in U.S. history. What gets difficult is coming up with new ways to do things – disrupting, or reacting quickly to things that happen disruptively. That’s a lot of what we’re trying to do here.”
James “Hondo” Geurts is the shortest link between startups and U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), headquartered at Fort MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. As acquisition executive, it’s his job to solve some of the biggest problems facing the 70,000-person command. It took Guerts just six weeks to set up a center for collaboration and innovation called Sofwerx (in partnership with the Doolittle Institute) to attract entrepreneurs, engineers, and others to address some of those challenges. Guerts is responsible for all technology development, acquisition, procurement and logistics, reporting directly to the combatant commander.
“We’re the only combatant command that has the ability to develop and acquire our own equipment. That equates to 500M a year on R&D, about $2B in procurement and upwards of $3-5B a year in sustainment and logistics. My goal is – how do we most effectively use those dollars to get equipment and tech out to the field and support our operators.”