Kendall Presents Acquisition Awards After 'Remarkable Year' of Accomplishments

By Cheryl Pellerin

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The Pentagon acquisition chief presented awards today to individual members of the defense acquisition workforce and to those in large and small Defense Department organizations who use best practices to develop their teams.

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, and Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed award winners and audience members in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes before the award ceremony.

Since the Better Buying Power program came into effect in 2010 and since the department has increased its focus on cost control, Kendall said, it has made steady progress at reducing cost overruns.

35-year Best

“We are now at a 35-year best performance in controlling costs in our major acquisition programs,” he said, citing a recent history of DoD cost growth on contracts for major acquisition programs going back to about 1980.

Kendall said he’s frustrated when people talk about the failure of the defense acquisition system.

“We are the best-equipped military in the world. People buy our products because they're so good and because we support them so well, so we're a long way from a failure and we're actually getting much better over time,” he said. “And I credit the workforce entirely with that.”

Good Stewards

In his remarks, Selva said the department’s ability to control costs means that it can plow more resources into the nation’s defense.

 “It's not just that we're doing our level best to be good stewards of the taxpayers' money, it's that we're doing our level best to be good stewards of the trust of our fellow citizens that we will use every dollar available to defend the freedom of the nation anywhere it's challenged,” he said.

“To me,” Selva added, “that is a much higher calling than just controlling costs.”

When the ceremony began, 16 individuals and five teams from large and small Defense Department organizations received awards.

Individual Awards

Recipients of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Individual Awards were:

-- Air Force Maj. Rowdy E. Yates for acquisition in an expeditionary environment;

-- Peter Herman for Defense Contract Audit Agency auditing;

-- Ryan Connell for Defense Contract Management Agency contracting and procurement;

-- James C. Kirsch for Army engineering;

-- Air Force 1st Lt. Jose Rodriguezpena for Air Force facilities engineering;

-- John R. Carlson for Air Force financial management;

-- Rodney D. Felder for Missile Defense Agency industrial property oversight;

-- Air Force Capt. Ryan Atkinson for Air Force information technology;

-- Everett F. Smith for Army life-cycle logistics;

-- Marsha Barron for Defense Logistics Agency production, quality and manufacturing;

-- Laura M. Price for Air Force program management;

-- Navy Cmdr. Scott Wilson for Navy requirements management;

-- David M. Hone, a Defense Threat Reduction Agency science and technology manager;

-- Emilio Varcarcel for Air Force services acquisition;

-- Douglas Packard for Defense Information Systems Agency small business contracting; and

-- Anastasia Dimitriu for Navy test and evaluation.

Organizational Winners

Workforce Development Award large organization winners were the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center-Pacific in San Diego, California, gold award and the Missile Defense Agency at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, which received a silver award.

The gold, silver and bronze Small Workforce Development Award winners, in order, were:

-- U.S. Special Operations Command Special Operations Forces for acquisition, technology and logistics at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida;

-- Air Force Sustainment Center Engineering and Technical Management Division at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma; and

-- Sea Warrior Program enterprise information systems in Arlington, Virginia.

 (Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter @PellerinDoDNews)