Prospective US procurement chief outlines proposals

12 November 2009

12 November 2009 | Allie Anderson

Barack Obama's chosen candidate to lead government procurement has unveiled plans to increase the workforce and improve their skills.

The US president last month nominated Dan Gordon as the administrator for federal procurement policy at the Office of Management and Budget (news, 6 October 2009).

Growth in the purchasing workforce "has not kept pace" with the budget, which has steadily increased over the past decade, Gordon told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) at his confirmation hearing this week.

He said: "We need to focus our attention on developing an acquisition workforce... that allows us to meet our mission goals and deliver value to the public. If confirmed, I will strengthen our commitment to their development and training and ensure they have the knowledge and tools necessary to excel."

Other priorities outlined by Gordon include helping deliver $40 billion (£23.9 billion) of procurement savings every year and reducing the number of high-risk deals. These include 'cost-reimbursement' contracts, where the final cost is decided once the job is done. Reliance on this method could be reduced, he said, by improving procurement planning, contract management, defining products and services required and monitoring suppliers.

"As stewards of the taxpayers, we must make sure those who contract with the government are delivering what they promised in terms of price, schedule and performance."

If the committee approves the nomination, the US Senate must vote on the appointment. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the HSGAC, said: "Successful acquisition requires careful pre-contract planning and close pre-contract oversight. I am pleased the president has turned to a seasoned expert in this field."

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