Young’s Fix for Acquisition

In addition to purging the last remnants of the so-called Druyun leadership culture that we detailed last week, Pentagon acquisition czar John Young says the Air Force’s purchasing community would benefit by rotating program mangers and program executive officers less frequently. And, Young told defense reporters Nov. 20 that he thinks USAF needs “to reinvigorate” its general officer ranks in the acquisition community. “It is one of the fundamental things” needed to improve acquisition management, he said. According to Young, USAF “has one of the lowest rates of tenure in those jobs.” Young also believes the Air Force does a poor job of establishing clear lines of authority from program managers through PEOs to the service acquisition executive, a process mandated by the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act. “I think some of the Air Force acquisition changes over the past few years—and some of this goes back to previous leadership, at least a time or two removed—have deluded and undermined the chain of command,” he said. (For more on Goldwater-Nichols, read A Better Way to Run a War.)