Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment introduced by U.S. Rep. Travis Childers (MS-01) to ensure that Department of Defense acquisition personnel take into account local economies surrounding potential defense contracts, as well as how the unique make up of the local community can help cut costs. The amendment was passed as part of the bipartisan IMPROVE Acquisition Act, which reforms the defense acquisition system to save American taxpayers $135 billion over the next five years and make sure that the men and women who are risking their lives to safeguard our country get the proper equipment they need to do their jobs and protect themselves on the battlefield.
Specifically, Rep. Childers' amendment would revise section 205 of the IMPROVE Acquisition Act by adding "market research strategies" to required training for acquisition personnel.
"This addition would ensure that acquisition personnel are trained to take into account local communities surrounding potential defense contracts, as well as how these communities can provide added value to the Department of Defense," said Childers. "The inclusion of market research strategies is of great importance to many districts like mine. Today, more than 4,000 North Mississippians are employed by defense contractors and that number continues to grow. These employees work hard everyday to create many of the products that keep our troops safe in theatre and protect our homeland from outside threats. These products include the MRAP, the Lakota Helicopter, the EMALS launch system, and several types of Unmanned Aerial Systems.
The amendment also adds another way that the Department of Defense can potentially exercise fiscal responsibility. It prevents acquisition personnel from considering the relationship with the Department and the contractor inside a bubble and forces them to look at what individual markets have to offer and what growth could be spurred within that market by a potential contract.
"During this difficult economy, it is important that Congress remains focused on job creation and preservation, as well as restoring a balanced budget. My amendment ensures that the Department of Defense considers the impact of defense acquisition on local jobs, that it does more to understand communities essential to the production of critical defense systems, and that the government finds new ways to cut costs and promote fiscal responsibility."
A pro-gun, pro-life Mississippian, Congressman Travis Childers (D-MS) represents the First Congressional District in North Mississippi. He is a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and serves on the House Agriculture and Financial Services Committee. Congressman Childers co-chairs the reestablished bipartisan Congressional Rural Caucus and was appointed to the bipartisan Second Amendment Task Force. For more information, visit www.childers.house.gov.