Acquisition personnel at the Defense Department from management on down don’t have the knowledge or incentives to do their jobs well, said Dov Zakheim, the department’s former comptroller, on Oct. 29.
The era where DoD technology was far more advanced than the private sector has passed, he said, with Silicon Valley and other technology centers holding their own. But DoD doesn’t ensure that its acquisition workforce remains conversant with the latest advances, Zakheim said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing.
“Too many program managers appear to be deficient when it comes to supervising the progress of programs simply because they don’t know the technology that they’re supervising,” he said. Some have to depend on contractors to help them understand the technologies they oversee.
Zakheim was DoD’s comptroller and chief financial officer during the George W. Bush administration. He was also a high-ranking DoD official in the Reagan Administration.
Also out of date, he said, are the policies for promotion within an agency, as many employees move up the chain because of their years of service rather than as a reward for good work. Zakheim proposed that DoD include cost savings that acquisition officers have achieved as a factor in promotions, to alter their incentives.
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A webcast and prepared testimonies are available on the hearing webpage at http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm/hearings-display?ContentRecord_id=df2275cc-a8dd-40dc-878f-ed7afc2cdacd