Zakheim: better acquisition workforce requires more money

Tuesday - 11/16/2010, 7:10pm EST

Dov Zakheim, former Comptroller, DoD

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In order to save money in contracting costs, the Defense Department will have to spend money in the form of resources to the acquisition workforce.

"There's no question this creates a dilemma for him," said former DoD Comptroller Dov Zakheim about Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Building and training an acquisition workforce for a department as massive as DoD will take time, five to seven years, Zakheim told host Francis Rose on the Pentagon Solutions series.

A survey this week from the Professional Services Council found that guidance from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy is not helping them to do their jobs better.

Zakheim said one problem he sees is that DoD employees who entered the agency perhaps 20 years ago have not been retrained since that time.

"Some don't understand the technology they oversee," he said.

With the swift pace of technology changes, the department needs a program of "constant re-education," Zakheim said.

"If you want to have the kind of acquisition that is not inefficient, that is not considered wasteful, then you have to have the people, you have to train them, you have to pay them and you have to have enough of them," Zakheim said.

Zakheim is a member of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Zakheim blogs here at Foreign Policy Magazine.