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Weapon System Acquisition Reform Act Of 2009 - Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, S. 454, the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, is important legislation to improve the organization and procedures of the Department of Defense for the acquisition of major weapons systems and other major defense systems. Chairman Levin and
Ranking Member McCain are to be congratulated for reporting this bill from their committee with strong bipartisan support.

As my colleagues know, many of our most important, and costly, national intelligence programs are acquired by intelligence community agencies that are found within the Department of Defense. Like the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, where the chairman and ranking member of the Armed Services Committee sit as ex officio members, has been concerned for many years about the need to improve the intelligence acquisition process and its oversight in order to ensure we are making maximum best use of intelligence resources.

The Congress looks to the Director of National Intelligence to manage and be accountable for major systems acquisitions funded by the National Intelligence Program, NIP, even though these acquisitions are executed in other departments and agencies of the Federal Government. While many of us have had concerns about the implementation of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, IRPTA, of 2004, the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, DNI, and the establishment of the roles and responsibilities of that office were important accomplishments that we on the Intelligence Committee wish to see strengthened through robust implementation of the provisions of that act.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act gave the DNI broad acquisition authorities over the NIP, but for NIP programs conducted within the DOD, the act required that the DNI and the Secretary of Defense share these authorities. Specifically, the act required: ``For each intelligence program within the National Intelligence Program for the acquisition of a major system, the Director of National Intelligence shall ..... serve as exclusive milestone decision authority, except that with respect to the Department of Defense programs the Director shall serve as milestone decision authority jointly with the Secretary of Defense or the designee of the Secretary.''

Subsequently, Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates agreed in a memorandum of agreement, MOA, signed in March 2008 that this joint milestone decision authority would be extended to majority NIP-funded acquisition programs as well. They agreed that wholly and majority NIP-funded acquisition programs would be executed according to intelligence community acquisition policy. The MOA states that its purpose is to provide for ``a single acquisition process'' for programs covered by it. I am sure that we will all agree, as the DNI and the Secretary of Defense have done, that it is vitally important that these important intelligence acquisitions be governed by a clear process with clear lines of responsibility as provided for by the MOA.

The MOA of the DNI and Secretary of Defense was later implemented in DOD Instruction No. 5000.2 on December 8, 2008.

It should also be pointed out that in fact wholly and majority NIP-funded major system acquisitions executed in accordance with intelligence community acquisition policies are now usually deemed to be ``highly sensitive classified programs'' under title 10 U.S.C. 2430

Because S. 454 would cover all ``major defense acquisition programs'' within the meaning of title 10 U.S.C. 2430, not just major weapons systems, I appreciate Chairman Levin agreeing to this colloquy to clarify the impact of the legislation on NIP-funded acquisition programs executed within the Department of Defense.

Mr. Chairman, is it the case that S. 454 would not extend DOD's jurisdiction to any programs over which it does not already have authority and that to the extent that NIP programs are outside the DOD acquisition system today, they would not be brought into the DOD acquisition system by this bill?

Mr. LEVIN. That is the case. This bill would neither extend nor contract DOD's jurisdiction or authority over the acquisition programs of DOD components that are a part of the intelligence community.

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. Chairman, do you further agree that this bill is not intended to change the DNI's roles and responsibilities under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act of 2004 or to require revision of the March 2008 memorandum of agreement between the DNI and Secretary of Defense concerning NIP-funded acquisition programs?

Mr. LEVIN. I agree with the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. S. 454 is not intended to amend IRTPA or to modify the respective authorities of the DNI and the Secretary of Defense under that statute. S. 454 does not address the March 2008 memorandum of agreement between the DNI and the Secretary of Defense concerning NIP-funded acquisition programs. It neither ratifies that memorandum of agreement nor requires any modification to the memorandum of agreement.

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I thank the distinguished chairman of the Armed Services Committee and manager of this bill.

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