Hagel needed to accompany President Barack Obama to Tampa, Florida, for a briefing at U.S. Central Command about the now-underway airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria. Hagel needed a trusted confidant to fill in for him at the Air Force Association conference in Maryland, so he turned to Frank Kendall, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for acquisition.
Hagel’s choice in Kendall to deliver the remarks he had already penned is the latest in a series of actions that demonstrates the close relationship two have developed over the past year, defense officials close to both men say.
Moreover, the relationship has helped elevate Kendall’s acquisition reform – or as he prefers to say, “acquisition improvement” – initiatives, the latest of which was unveiled last week.
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