Ellen Lord Sets Plan to Promote Pentagon-Wide Acquisition Transparency

Ellen Lord, under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, has announced plans to increase transparency of the Pentagon’s acquisition efforts following recent pressure from Congress, Bloomberg reported Friday.

The plan comes after lawmakers questioned the Navy for restricting access to information in a 2017 report on its multi-billion dollar Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers. 
The service stamped the report as “For Official Use Only,” which was previously open to the public during the Obama administration. 

To address concerns in Congress, Lord said her office is working on “a bunch of guidelines and internal rules” to promote transparency. 

The Department of Defense’s acquisition chief intends to encourage the agency to refrain from using the “For Official Use Only” designation in the reports, according to her spokesperson.

In October, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, also expressed concern about the Trump administration’s “abuse of processes designed to keep the public informed about the weapons programs.”

He noted previously restricted reports contained information on failed systems.

The fiscal year 2019 defense policy bill already directed the DoD to reduce future Selected Acquisition Reports labeled for official use only, unless allowed by Congress. 

SAR provides lawmakers, defense analysts and journalists with information about the status of major government programs, including original estimated costs and delivery schedules.

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