The Defense Department is reducing timelines and lowering costs to provide the best military capabilities, a senior DOD official told reporters at the Pentagon.
“All of our efforts directly support our national defense strategy and our warfighters,” Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord said at a news conference Aug. 26.
Lord specifically thanked Congress for passing a two-year budget agreement, noting that it provides budgetary certainty that the department needs to implement the National Defense Strategy. “The department cannot go back to the unpredictability of a continuing resolution,” she added. “Our men and women in uniform deserve better.”
The undersecretary’s mission is to ensure the delivery and sustainment of secure and resilient capabilities to warfighters and international partners quickly and cost effectively. There are six goals under this mission, she said, and the first is all about people.
Lord said she wants to recruit, develop and retain a diverse acquisition and sustainment workforce. “We want to modernize the acquisition workforce talent management tools and processes as well as deliver content consistent with adult learning,” she said.
Acquisition and sustainment professionals need to be innovators, Lord said, and the office encourages experimentation and learning from experience. This will “enable contracting at the speed of relevance,” Lord said.
The office strives to build a safe, secure and resilient defense industrial base that addresses the impacts of prohibited foreign investments, she said.
In addition, Lord said, the office is responsible to ensure safe and resilient DOD installations, so she looks to enhance the quality of housing and to ensure energy resilience and cyber-secure military facilities.
The office further looks to increase weapon system mission capability while reducing operating costs, Lord said, citing the F-35 joint strike fighter program as an example.
Finally, Lord said, she looks to promote sustainment with key international partners. She needs to enable “timely foreign military sales deliveries via contracting, dialogue with industry, tech release and plans for exportability,” she said.