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Deputy Defense Secretary Lauds Achievements of DOD's Acquisition Workforce

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The most important asset in the Defense Department is its people, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks said at the virtual 2021 Defense Acquisition Workforce Awards ceremony.

"Across all of DOD, we are committed to taking care of the women and men in uniform and the civilians who serve with them," she said. 

Hicks said part of doing so is highlighting and rewarding the work of those who have gone above and beyond in their service to the department.

An airman does aircraft maintenance.
Tire Pressure
Air Force Airman Seth Ambos checks the tire pressure on a KC-10 Extender aircraft during routine maintenance operations at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 11, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Heaton
VIRIN: 211211-F-VA676-2047
A man looks at a board with cables and wires.
Wire Work
Air Force Senior Airman Robert Sleme, 62d Cyber Squadron capabilities development manager, monitors classroom management and capabilities for the Space Force cyber Guardians on Buckley Space Force Base, Colo., Nov. 29, 2021.
Photo By: Space Force photo by Senior Airman Andrew Garavito
VIRIN: 211129-F-NC038-773M

Their achievements not only exemplify the culture of innovation that the department needs, but also demonstrate just how valuable its acquisition workforce is to national security, she said.

The award recipients' achievements were varied and included guiding a cybersecurity team through systems engineering, design, requirements, testing, and technical baseline management to ensure the cyber-resilient operations of a $6.4 billion national satellite command and control program, Hicks said.

Another awardee negotiated successful contracts in support of the COVID-19 White House Presidential Task Force to enable a team of logisticians to deliver rapid test kits and syringes for the nationwide testing and vaccination program, she said.

"Our winners this year are the best of the best among our nation's public service professionals," she said, adding that the work of the department's acquisition professionals is vital to supporting our nation's military.

Gregory M. Kausner, performing the duties of undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said the awardees exemplify the dedicated professionals and the work they do to develop, acquire and sustain the capabilities that increase the readiness and lethality of America's fighting forces. 

The defense acquisition workforce is comprised of nearly 186,000 military and civilian personnel from across the department. 

A sailor performs maintenance.
Helicopter Maintenance
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William Luke Wright performs maintenance on an MH-60S Sea Hawk, assigned to the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 4, in the hangar bay of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Indian Ocean, Dec. 15, 2021.
Photo By: Navy Seaman Micheal Mensah
VIRIN: 211215-N-RU001-1063
A sailor performs maintenance.
Ship Maintenance
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Garganta conducts maintenance in the hangar bay of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Banda Sea, Dec. 10, 2021.
Photo By: Navy Seaman Micheal Mensah
VIRIN: 211210-N-RU001-1025M

"Their work is critical to the rapid and cost effective delivery of capabilities to the warfighter and to ensuring that America's military forces are ready to fight today and tomorrow," he said.

Navy Vice. Adm. Ronald A. Boxall, director of force structure, resources and assessment, the joint staff, said the department's goals are to ensure military readiness, build a highly capable joint force, strengthen alliances and reform business processes. 

"It is critical in today's environment [that] we get it right so that we are ready when called upon to defend our nation, our allies and our way of life. Through your efforts, our nation continues to field the material solutions that equip a more lethal, resilient and rapidly adaptable joint warfighting force," he said.

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