The Honorable Frank Kendall, principal deputy under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, met with members of the Army's contracting and acquisition workforces at Fort Belvoir, Va., February 10, to discuss the Department of Defense "Better Buying Initiatives."

Kendall and Dr. Ashton B. Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology & logistics, are conducting meetings at military installations to ensure acquisition professionals have an opportunity to share their views and concerns about these initiatives."

This meeting was hosted by the Army Contracting Command and conducted in the Army Material Command headquarters. This is the fifth installation visited by Kendall or Carter in regards to Carter's Sept. 14, 2010 memorandum, 'Better Buying Power: Guidance for Obtaining Greater Efficiency and Productivity in Defense Spending.' This is the first presentation to a primarily Army audience. The meetings have been proven to be very informative and valuable in accessing acquisition professionals' reaction to, and implementation of, the initiative.

"These meetings serve two purposes," Kendall said during his presentation at Fort Belvoir. "One is to give you a clearer idea of our intent with the things announced in September and tell you what we are doing to implement them as a continuous process but also to get feedback from you."

Kendall's visit began with an office call with Gen. Anne E. Dunwoody, Army Materiel Command commanding general. As the day progressed he made presentations to members of the acquisition workforce to include program executive officers, managers and their deputies, contracting professionals, engineers and logisticians within the National Capital Region.

"Many challenges have been identified concerning the implementation of some of the directives identified and we are making adjustments and getting new ideas with each visit," Kendall said.

Kendall's presentation addressed the need for acquisition professionals to target affordability and control cost growth; develop business practices that incentivize productivity and innovation in industry; develop practices that promote real competition in acquisition; improve acquisition of services by better defining requirements, controlling requirements growth and conducting market research; and working to reduce non-productive processes and bureaucracy.

"The fundamental message is that this is very much a work in progress'" he said. "We're not defining a bunch of policies and focusing on implementing them, then that's the end of the story. The follow-through on anything like this is critical and these visits are part of that."