Improving and recognizing excellence in the Defense Department’s acquisition workforce are key to successful implementation of a new and expanded version of the Better Buying Power plan for government and industry, top Pentagon officials announced last week.
In releasing a preliminary, 2.0 version of the contracting efficiency effort first unveiled in September 2010, Frank Kendall, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, promised a “new professionalization” of what the department calls its total acquisition workforce. “We grow our own people in logistics, program management and contract officers,” he said, “and we want to really recognize people who run a program, which is like having a major command.”
Kendall acknowledged, however, that efforts to rebuild the acquisition workforce after it was downsized more than a decade ago have stalled and that salary and hiring freezes are “beyond my control.” People are still “motivated by the need to protect our national security,” he said, and the current budget crunch has forced all involved to “focus on quality.”
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