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DoD Launches Acquisition Reform Week

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 18, 1997 – Pentagon officials launched Acquisition Reform Week March 17, vowing to enhance cooperation between the department and private industry and keep the momentum for reform going.

Defense Secretary Bill Cohen said defense acquisition is going through a revolution. He called former Secretary William Perry the Thomas Paine of the Acquisition Revolution and current Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology Paul Kaminski the Sir Galahad of the process. Acquisition reform is also beholden to President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and Congress for approving reform legislation, he said.

"I am firmly convinced [acquisition reform] is absolutely critical to our maintaining a strong military into the 21st century," Cohen said. "We have an obligation to pursue it aggressively, because the public deserves it. ... We have an opportunity for reform because the marketplace is now providing it. ... We have an urgency to reform it, because reality demands it."

Cohen said the atmosphere is right for acquisition reform: Legislation, public demand and technology are all in place. But most of the work entailed in the acquisition reform revolution remains to be done. "It's much easier to start a revolution than to establish a new order as far as acquisition is concerned," he said. "So the challenge is to apply these new practices to all of our programs across the board -- large and small. We have to make acquisition reform a part of our everyday life."

Cohen said DoD must continue in developing a trained and motivated acquisition work force; with workers able to "think outside the box." "Once we institutionalize this reform, we can truly say that the revolution has become successful and that we have turned the world upside down for the better."

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