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Mr. CHILDERS. I would like to add my thanks to Mr. Andrews and the House Armed Services Committee, especially my dear friend and chairman, Ike Skelton, for putting forth this important legislation.
Changing the way the Department of Defense conducts its acquisition activities is essential to restoring fiscal discipline in our government. I commend the committee's efforts to ensure that acquisition personnel at the Department of Defense are well trained to make the best decisions for both our national security and our economy.
My amendment makes a small addition to this training by including ``market research strategies.'' This minor addition is of great importance to many districts like mine. Today, upwards of 4,000 North Mississippians are employed by defense contractors, and that number continues to grow. These employees work hard every day to create many of the products and services that keep our troops safe in theater and protect our homeland from outside threats. These include many contractors on Columbus Air Force Base as well as contractors that produce everything from military uniforms to MRAPS and Unmanned Aerial Systems.
The defense companies are vital to the economy of Mississippi. It is important that when the Department of Defense makes a decision about who receives a military contract and what term that contract contains, it considers how surrounding communities are affected and how these communities can contribute to that contract.
The addition of market research strategies to acquisition training would ensure that the acquisition personnel at the Department of Defense are trained to take into account the local economy surrounding a potential defense contractor and how the unique makeup of the local community could provide added value to the department. It will assist the department in taking into account the unique workforces that communities like the Golden Triangle region in my district encompass and their ability to save the government money.
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 DOD can consider the impact of defense acquisition on local jobs and that the government has additional tools to find new ways to cut costs and promote fiscal responsibility.
I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
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