Ike Skelton, Chairman
For Immediate Release: May 7, 2009
Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) delivered the following opening statement during today’s mark-up of H.R. 2101, the Weapons Acquisition System Reform Through Enhancing Technical Knowledge and Oversight (WASTE TKO) Act of 2009:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to today’s mark-up of H.R. 2101, the Weapons Acquisition System Reform Through Enhancing Technical Knowledge and Oversight Act of 2009.
“Before we get to the heart of today’s activity, I have the pleasure of recognizing two members who are joining us for this mark-up. From the 20th District of New York, we have Mr. Scott Murphy. His district is home to the Navy Nuclear Power Training Unit. Prior to joining us, he spent the past eight years working for a venture capital firm in upstate New York. Scott, we are glad to have you. We fondly remember your predecessor, and current U.S. Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. We know you will fill that seat with distinction.
“And we welcome back, at least for a little time, Dan Boren from Oklahoma’s 2nd District. He represents the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant and Camp Gruber. Dan took a leave of absence from the committee this Congress to serve on the Intelligence Committee, and is with us temporarily replacing himself.
“On April 27th, Ranking Member McHugh and I, along with our partners, Rob Andrews and Mike Conaway, the leaders of our Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform, introduced the WASTE TKO Act. The bill is a close counterpart to a bill introduced by Senators Carl Levin and John McCain. Since introducing the bill, the committee has held two hearings on acquisition reform in which we took testimony on both bills. On the basis of this testimony, and on the basis of this committee’s long experience on acquisition reform issues, I can say with confidence that this legislation will help substantially improve the oversight of major weapon systems acquisition.
“We will mark-up this legislation today with a goal of moving it through the House as a stand-alone measure, completing conference with the Senate by Memorial Day. As we speak today, the Senate is working on their bill, S. 454, on the Senate floor. We anticipate taking our bill to the House floor next week.
“Given the extensive focus on this bill over the last two weeks, I will be very brief in summarizing its provisions. It requires the Secretary of Defense to assign responsibility to independent officials within his office for oversight of cost estimation, systems engineering, and performance assessment. It also assigns additional responsibility to the Director of Defense Research and Engineering for assessing technological maturity and to the unified combatant commanders for helping to set requirements. It promotes competition in our acquisition strategies and promotes the consideration of trade-offs between cost, schedule, and performance. It limits organizational conflicts of interest, and tightens the Nunn McCurdy process. Perhaps most importantly, it requires increased focus on programs in the early stages of acquisition when most costs are determined, and it focuses oversight on programs which have demonstrated poor performance. Lastly, the bill authorizes the Secretary of Defense to award excellence in acquisition.
“Let me notify my colleagues that in addition to the traditional opening statements by myself and John McHugh, I will be recognizing Rob Andrews and Mike Conaway from our Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform. They did excellent work on this bill, and we will get a lot more good work out of them before this is through. After these opening statements we will discuss my Chairman’s mark. I now recognize John McHugh for his opening remarks.”
HASC (House Armed Services Committee)