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Skelton urges defense procurement changes to properly supply soldiers
Skelton urges defense procurement changes to properly supply soldiers

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 18, 2010) — Over the past several years, it has become apparent that significant problems exist in the way the Department of Defense purchases supplies and equipment for our military. Waste and fraud continue to hamper the department’s efforts to reduce costs, and it often takes much too long to get warfighters in the field the equipment they need. In short, the current system wastes tax dollars while inhibiting the flow of supplies to the battlefield.

As chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I take very seriously the role of Congress to raise and maintain the United States military, which is why these wasteful expenditures concerned me a great deal. Last year, I formed a bipartisan panel on the House Armed Services Committee to examine why the purchasing process is so flawed and to determine how best to fix it. Based on that panel’s thorough and bipartisan investigation and recommendations, the committee crafted a piece of legislation designed to return oversight, transparency, and efficiency to the Defense Department’s purchasing process. On April 14, I introduced this measure, H.R. 5013, also known as the IMPROVE Acquisition Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Building on the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, which tackled wasteful spending in the nation’s largest defense acquisition programs and became law last year with broad bipartisan support, H.R. 5013 would return transparency and accountability to the purchasing process of other Defense Department programs while making the system more accessible to small businesses and innovative ideas. The goal is simple: to cut wasteful spending while ensuring that the service personnel in harm’s way receive the best equipment available as fast as possible.

While more adjustments to the Defense Department acquisition system will likely be needed over time, I am very proud of this bill because it was constructed with the support of both Republicans and Democrats and because it benefits both the taxpayer and the warfighter. Also, I believe this bill would result in savings of over $100 billion in the next five years. The Armed Services Committee has sought to return innovation and solid accounting to the Defense Department’s acquisition process, to reintroduce the tried and true bellwether of success: simple common sense.

I am privileged to chair the most bipartisan committee in Congress. This week, I anticipate the Armed Services Committee will take up H.R. 5013 and will pass the measure on to consideration by the full House of Representatives. As this bill works its way through the legislative process, please know I will continue my work to ensure those in uniform have everything they need to accomplish their mission and to save the taxpayers money in the process.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton.

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