And In the Future

At the House Armed Services oversight and investigations panel hearing last week (see above), DOD’s director of procurement and acquisition policy, Shay Assad, acknowledged the Air Force contracting contribution to operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying, “We anticipate that the Air Force will continue to provide the largest and most significant capability.” The Pentagon as a whole, he said, is working to “mitigate the impact of past [acquisition workforce] downsizing,” which has been aggravated by an “increased workload.” Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, military deputy to the Assistance Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, told lawmakers that USAF primarily needs “greater numbers and better skills” in contracting, cost estimating, cost analysis, and system engineering. To bolster those areas, he said, USAF has identified 2,062 positions—1,800 civilians, 291 officers, and 11 enlisted airmen—that it intends to fill “over the next three years.”