William C. Greenwalt is a visiting fellow at the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he is working on defense and aerospace acquisition issues and industrial base policy.
Greenwalt has broad-ranging experience in the field and has served in senior positions at the Pentagon, in Congress, and in the defense industry. As deputy under secretary of defense for industrial policy, he advised the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics on all matters relating to the defense industrial base. In Congress, Greenwalt served as deputy director for the Surveys and Investigations staff of the House Appropriations Committee, as well as a professional staff member for the Senate Armed Services and Senate Governmental Affairs Committees. As a Senate staff member, Greenwalt’s work on reforms of management and acquisition practices led to the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. Greenwalt has also worked for Lockheed Martin as director of federal acquisition policy. Immediately before joining AEI, Greenwalt was vice president of acquisition policy at the Aerospace Industries Association where he developed and coordinated the aerospace industry position on a variety of related issues.
Greenwalt has a B.A. in economics and political science from California State University, Long Beach and an M.A. in international relations from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in public policy at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Deputy Director, Surveys and Investigations, House Appropriations Committee, 2011–12
Director, Federal Acquisition Policy, Lockheed Martin Corporation, 2009–11
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense, US Department of Defense, 2006–09
Professional Staff Member, Senate Armed Services Committee, 1999–2006
Professional Staff Member, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, 1997–99
Professional Staff Member, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, 1994–97
B.A., economics and political science, California State University, Long Beach M.A., international relations, University of Southern California, Los Angeles Ph.D. program in public policy (in progress), University of Maryland, College Park
One of the truths of the last 50 years of acquisition practice is that whenever the military really needed something it bypasses the traditional acquisition process and uses a more streamlined approach.
The time is right for real acquisition reform. No, really! You can feel the initial stirrings in the air as the Pentagon finally begins to face the budgetary reality that it can’t afford its current force structure.
Congress might be ready to take another stab at acquisition reform for the Defense Department. Knowing why it hasn't worked in the past could help the House and Senate Armed Services Committees finally get the job done.
For more than 50 years, critics of the acquisition system have in essence been talking past one another. Advocates for aspects of what they believe constitute successful acquisition have gained the upper hand at various times and added new requirements to the system.
Making the federal market attractive to Silicon Valley companies that currently refuse or are unable to do business with the federal government because of non-commercial acquisition barriers and requirements should be the goal of successful acquisition reform.