Head of DOD Rapid Acquisition Shop Leaves Pentagon

The head of the Pentagon’s Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell announced Oct. 23 he is leaving government, but he vows the office’s mission to improve joint service acquisition efforts for critical tools, such as ISR, will continue. Over the last decade, the office has served as a waypoint for needed capabilities to speed through an often cumbersome acquisition bureaucracy, and have led to successes such as the fielding of new airborne sensors, air-to-ground data links, and the adaption of older chemical neutralization technology fielded aboard the MVS Cape Ray, the ship used to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile at sea. “We started looking at the mission long before there was any kind of agreement to destroy the precursors,” said Andrew Hunter, the director of the JRAC. He added that he is pleased rapid acquisition is now part of DOD instructions, and is more accessible across the services. Hiring and training persons through the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund will lead to real improvements in the workforce in the coming years, he said, and has made a real difference over the last five years. But DOD must invest in its future and make sure it is not losing “acquisition workforce capability” in the long run, especially as so many older workers are now retiring.