Given federal procurement’s complex administrative and regulatory environment, Joanie Newhart’s job has never been easy. Now it’s getting harder.
Newhart is the Obama administration’s point person for federal procurement reform, and she is charged with making sure the government has the best possible workers on the front lines of government acquisition. The 30-year veteran of federal contracting was appointed associate administrator of acquisition workforce programs in the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in 2010. Before that, she served at a half-dozen agencies as both a contractor and a federal employee.
Sequester-driven budget cuts have brought new pressures, and as federal workers retire, agencies risk losing their procurement know-how. Although getting agencies to use strategic acquisition to buy smarter remains her top priority, Newhart said developing the acquisition workforce is a very close second. That task, she said, becomes more critical as seasoned experts retire and agencies need up-and-coming acquisition experts who can step in with innovative procurement strategies.
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