The House Armed Services Committee's Panel on Business Challenges within the Defense Industry held its first hearing today on "Challenges to Doing Business with the Department of Defense." Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chairman, made the following remarks:
"I'd like to welcome everyone to the first of a series of hearings this panel will hold examining business challenges in the defense industry. Chairman McKeon and Ranking Member Smith established this panel to take a deep-dive into the challenges facing firms that already work with the Department of Defense and those that want to do business with the Department. I'm honored that Chairman McKeon asked me to lead this panel alongside my friend from Washington State, Rick Larsen.
Rounding out the panel membership are:
* Bobby Schilling, from Illinois. Bobby represents the 17th district of Illinois which contains Rock Island Arsenal. Bobby is a small business owner and has firsthand experience of the difficulties dealing with federal and state governments.
* Betty Sutton represents the 13th district of Ohio. As co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on job creation, Betty is dedicated to promoting good business practices and creating American jobs.
* Jon Runyan from New Jersey. Jon represents the 3rd district of New Jersey which contains Ft. Dix/Maguire AFB and has a vested interest in defense business practices across the board.
* Colleen Hanabusa is from the 1st district of Hawaii. She has been involved in Hawaii politics since 1998. With a large defense presence in Hawaii, Colleen understands how important it is bring efficiency and effectiveness to the defense industry.
* Allen West from the 22nd district of Florida. Allen retired from the Army in 2004 after 22 years and brings a unique perspective of experience on both sides of the table--government and industry.
"I want thank all of the members of the panel for taking time to lend their expertise to this effort. We've all heard, in our districts and across the country, from businesses that find it extremely difficult to successfully navigate the DOD acquisition system. This is particularly true for small businesses and those involved in science and technology efforts. While there are programs out there to assist businesses in transitioning innovative ideas and technologies to a final end-product that satisfies a military requirement, there are many obstacles in the way.
"In these current economic times, we must make good use of every tax-dollar we spend on defense and we can do this by leveraging the heart of the American workforce -- small businesses. By reducing barriers to entry, we can generate competition, spur innovation, and stimulate the economy. I look forward to working with Rick and the other members of the panel to find ways to do just that.
"We are meeting today with a terrific panel of witnesses who have years of personal experience facing the challenges of doing business with the DOD and I look forward to hearing from each of them."