Both the House and Senate versions of this year’s Defense authorization bill include numerous acquisition reform provisions. But the Pentagon has serious reservations about a few of those measures, including one that would give the military’s uniformed leaders more control over procurement decisions.
The language granting more power to the service chiefs is part of the Senate’s version of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the Senate Armed Services Committee approved by a vote of 22-4 in a closed session last Thursday. The text of the bill still has not been released, but the committee says it would “enhance” the role of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shifting some authority into the military services and away from top Pentagon officials.
One of those officials, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, logistics and technology Frank Kendall told the Northern Virginia Technology Council Tuesday that he has serious concerns about the path the Senate appears to be forging.
He said the service chiefs already have plenty of ways to influence the acquisition process should they care to exercise them, and that weakening civilian oversight could have severe consequences for keeping programs on time and on budget.
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