By Paul McLeary
PENTAGON: One constant in the abrupt transition from outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to his deputy, soon to be acting secretary, Patrick Shanahan? The grueling, technical, but crucial business of acquisition reform. For all their differences, Pentagon technocrats, House Democrats, Senate Republicans, and even President Trump can all agree that the Defense Department needs to do a better job of buying weapons.
Yes, there will be a new defense secretary in 2019 — perhaps more than one — but with only weeks left until the 2020 budget drops and with a number of critical Pentagon reforms already well underway, civilian leaders in the building say they’re putting their heads down and simply pushing forward. Speaking to a small group of reporters just before the dramatic events that lead to Mattis’ unexpected exit at the end of the year, undersecretary for acquisition Ellen Lord said that she’s planning a top-to-bottom rewrite of the building’s byzantine acquisition rules.READ MORE