Hearing Highlights Air Force Contracting Expertise
Hearing Highlights Air Force Contracting
Tech. Sgt. David A. Jablonski, Air Force Print News.
Washington D.C. -- (AFPN)
June 24, 2004 -- Air Force contracting expertise,
deployed worldwide as part of air and space expeditionary force packages,
significantly contributes to overall success of the Defense Department missions,
the service’s top acquisition official said.
Dr. Marvin R. Sambur, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisitions,
testified June 24 before the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on
readiness. Michael W. Wynne, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for
acquisition and technology, led the testimony, He was accompanied by Dr. Sambur;
John J. Young Jr., assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and
acquisition; and Tina Ballard, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for policy
“Air Force contingency contracting expertise is in high demand across the
department with our officers leading joint contingency contracting operations in
the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq,” Dr. Sambur said. “The Air Force team has a
solid track record in this area, one we can all be proud of.”
In 2003, the Air Force sent more than 400 contingency contracting officers to 58
locations worldwide. So far this year, 117 have deployed to 24 locations.
Contingency contracting officers deploy as part of AEF packages. Once in place,
they hire local nationals to provide warfighters with myriad local supplies and
services, Dr. Sambur said.
This approach significantly reduces the size, or footprint, of the deployed
force because the supplies and services along with the infrastructure to support
them, do not have to come along for the ride, he said. Within U.S. Central
Command alone, Air Force contingency contracting officers have performed more
than 11,000 contracting actions worth more than $120 million through April.
Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Joel Hefley said the focus of the hearing was on the
range of services purchased with the $76.2 billion (for services) and the
management and oversight of these services.
“Many of the questions the members have today came to light as the use of
contractors in Iraq became apparent,” Mr. Hefly said. “The subcommittee is
interested in how the department procures such services; the policy on
management and oversight; and whether the department should change some of these
In fiscal 2003, DOD officials procured about $209 billion in equipment, items
and services. Of this amount, $90.5 billion was for supplies and equipment,
$76.2 billion for services, $33.1 billion for research and development, and $9.2
billion for construction.
The committee focused primarily on the lessons learned from Iraq with respect to
the use of contractors on the battlefield. Although the questions were directed
toward Mr. Wynn and Ms. Ballard, Dr. Sambur pledged continued support.
“We are committed to work closely with (the secretary of defense’s office) and
Congress to make whatever corrections are necessary,” Dr. Sambur said.