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Air Force Chief to Contractors: Keep Your Promises

Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz, Photo: af.mil

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said, with the Defense Department’s budget expected to flatline over the next few years, government contractors, now more than ever, will have to keep their promises.

“It’s a simple thing to me — deliver what you promise and don’t promise what you can’t deliver,” Schwartz told an industry audience at the National Defense Industrial Association forum last week.

“There will be less tolerance … for not delivering,” he added, meaning either a cost or schedule over-run, according to a report in The Hill.

In return for industry producing realistic proposals, he said DoD would scale back its requirements on future projects.

In fact, Schwartz said the department had responsibilities as well and cautioned against the notion “that every challenge we have is industry’s fault alone,” he said, according to a Government Executive report. “It’s not.”

The Pentagon’s role comes in reducing the uncertainties that often plague acquisition outcomes by “fixing requirements and stabilizing assumptions,” he said.

“That probably will require we be more conservative,” Schwartz added, explaining the Air Force will “have to scale back our ambitions a bit.”

Schwartz’s remarks were generally delivered to what The Hill described as a “tense” crowd. In admonishing contractors to deliver on time and within the budget, he used a particularly colorful phrase.

In the end, Schwartz said he was just doing his job by making sure the Air Force is doing its part. But, “industry has to do better,” he told The Hill.

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