Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition)
The Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) (SAF/AQ) is a civilian position in the Department of the Air Force that is appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate. This position is established under Title 10 US Code Section 8016 and is one of four Assistant Secretary positions under the Secretary of the Air Force. The Assistant Secretary reports to the Secretary of the Air Force.
Under the law a Principal Military Deputy serves with the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. The Principal Military Deputy is required to be an active duty officer with a background in acquisition and program management. If the Assistant Secretary position is vacant the law permits the Principal Military Deputy to serve up to a year as the Acting Assistant Secretary. Of the four Assistant Secretary positions established by law, only the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition is required to have a Principal Military Deputy.
On February 12, 2014, Dr. William A. LaPlante, Jr. was confirmed by the United States Senate to be the next Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.
President Obama nominated Dr. William A. LaPlante, Jr. on October 30, 2013. At the time, Dr. LaPlante had been the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition since May 2013. Prior to serving in the Air Force, Dr. LaPlante was the Missile Defense Portfolio Director at the MITRE Corporation from 2011 to 2013.
Dr. LaPlante resigned from office in November 2015. From November 2015 to February 2018, the civilian Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition performed the duties of the Assistant Secretary. From November 2015 to February 2016, Mr. Richard Lombardi was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. From February 2016 on, Ms. Darlene Costello served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary.
Dr. Will Roper became the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics in February 2018.
The Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition serves as the single service acquisition executive (SAE) and the Senior Procurement Executive for the Department of the Air Force. He/she is responsible for acquisition and product support for all Air Force acquisition programs and manages the Air Force science and technology program.
He/she provides direction, guidance and supervision of all matters pertaining to the formulation, review, approval and execution of acquisition plans, policies and programs. The Assistant Secretary oversees $40 billion annual investments that include major programs like the KC-46A Pegasus, F-35 Lighting II, B-21 Raider, as well as capability areas such as information technology and command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems.
History of the Position
The Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition position was created in 1987 by National Security Decision Directive 219, following recommendations from President Reagan’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management. The Commission recommended the Department of Defense have clear lines of authority for acquisition management and outlined roles and responsibilities between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military departments. This move established the Defense Acquisition Executive, the Service Acquisition Executives for each military department, Program Executive Officers who manage execution for a portfolio of programs.
Prior to 1987, similar duties and responsibilities now carried out by the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition were performed by offices in the Headquarters Secretariat with the following names and dates:
Assistant Secretary for Material - May 1951 to February 1964
Special Assistant for Research and Development - September 1950-February 1955
Assistant Secretary for Research and Development - March 1955 to May 1977
Assistant Secretary for Research, Development and Logistics - May 1977-April 1987
Assistant Secretaries of the Air Force (Acquisition) (Incomplete List)
- 10 U.S.C. § 8016.
- "PN1050 — William A. LaPlante Jr. — Department of Defense". Congress.gov.
- "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". obamawhitehousearchives.gov.
- "Richard W. Lombardi Biography". www.af.mil.
- "Darlene Costello Biography". www.af.mil. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
- "Dr. Will Roper Biography". U.S. Air Force. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
- "Headquarters Air Force Mission Directive 1-10" (PDF). www.e-publishing.af.mil/. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
- Benson, Lawrence (1997). Acquisition Management in the United States Air Force and its Predecessors. US Government Printing Office. p. 55.
- services, united states. congress. senate. committee on armed. "Image 25 of Nominations of Hans M. Mark, Antonia H. Chayes, Robert Jay Hermann, and John Howard Moxley III : hearing before the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, Ninety-sixth Congress, first session ... July 13, 1979". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
- Directors at the National Reconnaissance Office at Fifty Years (PDF). Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance. 2011. p. 25.
- Nomination of Thomas Edward Cooper To Be an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Dec. 15, 1982. Note: Keel held the title "Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Research, Development, and Logistics)"
- "PN528 - Nomination of Alton Gold Keel Jr. for Department of Defense, 97th Congress (1981-1982)". www.congress.gov. 1981-07-30. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
- Nomination of Thomas Edward Cooper To Be an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Dec. 15, 1982. Cooper was initially appointed "Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Research, Development, and Logistics)". The title changed in the course of Cooper's tenure in office.
- George Bush: Continuation of John J. Welch, Jr., as an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Aug. 9, 1989
- Wincup bio Archived 2011-03-01 at the Wayback Machine.
- Clinton nomination
- "PN695 - Nomination of Arthur L. Money for Department of Defense, 104th Congress (1995-1996)". www.congress.gov. 1996-01-26. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
- "Honorable Arthur L. Money, Senior Fellow". www.potomacinstitute.org. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
- "Air Force Biography". Archived from the original on April 1, 2001. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
- "PN117 — Lawrence J. Delaney — Department of Defense". congress.gov.
- Archived biography
- "PN821 — Marvin R. Sambur — Department of Defense". congress.gov.
- Payton Bio from Air Force
- "PN1473 — Sue C. Payton — Department of Defense". congress.gov.
- "Van Buren bio". Archived from the original on 2011-02-02.
- "LaPlante bio". Archived from the original on 2014-05-02.
- "Air Force acquisition lead moves to MITRE".
- John J. Martin, Robert J. Hermann, Alton G. Keel, Martin F. Chen and Thomas E. Cooper all held the title "Assistant Secretary (Research, Development, and Logistics)." Daniel Rak was the first Acting Assistant Secretary (Acquisition).
- http://ww3.safaq.hq.af.mil/ - Air Force Acquisition