Defense Department appoints director for Strategy and Design

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Dec. 21 (UPI) — The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Ellen Lord appointed Ben FitzGerald as the director for the Office of Strategy and Design on Thursday.

The details of the appointment were announced today in a press statement from the Department of Defense. FitzGerald will officially assume command of the office on Jan. 2. and will oversee the reorganization of acquisition, technology, and logistics processes within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Earlier this month, Pentagon senior officials testified on Capitol Hill about their plans to reform and speed up the acquisition process that has dogged the agency for years. The current process in military procurements has long plagued the Defense Department, causing an unwanted backlog of acquisition delays and ultimately holding back modernization and hindering military readiness, officials said.

Pentagon officials specifically plan to streamline the Defense Department’s acquisition of services and technology process using authorities granted to them in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act.

The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017 mandates that the Pentagon must disestablish the Office for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, and establish a new office for acquisition, sustainment, research and engineering, including appointing a chief management officer, according to the Pentagon press release.

As director, FitzGerald is considered a highly qualified expert, meaning, he “possess uncommon, special knowledge, skills, and experience in an occupational field, and judgment that is accorded authority and status by peers or the public.”

Before his appointment, FitzGerald was a professional staff member for the Senate Armed Services Committee and a senior fellow and director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

He also previously worked at IBM as a solutions specialist, according to his LinkedIn profile, “helping federal government organizations align technology with organizational objectives.” He has written articles about technology, the private sector and the military for War on the Rocks, a popular foreign policy and national security blog.

FitzGerald is slated to serve in his position for five years.

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