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FEATURE ARTICLE  

Encouraging News to Report On the State of the Association 

2,001 

by Lawrence F. Skibbie 

As we recover from the frantic pace of activities surrounding the NDIA Fall meeting of our Board of Directors and Board of Trustees, I would like to share with you what I believe were some significant accomplishments from that meeting. The word "recover" is appropriate in this context, because these semi-annual meetings of our Boards are all-out efforts for the association’s staff.

The Boards of Directors and Trustees are representatives of you, our members, and, in that sense, provide us with your advice and direction for the future.

The Fall meeting this year consisted of multiple events. For the opening dinner, we had as keynote speaker the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Dr. Jacques S. Gansler. The following morning’s breakfast saw Pierre A. Chao, aerospace and defense industry analyst for Credit Suisse First Boston, who provided a realistic assessment of how the defense industry should deal with Wall Street. We also had scheduled an appearance by the Presidential Transition Team at the end of the meeting. But it was unable to appear, for obvious reasons.

However, these were only the formalities. The core of the meeting was an assessment of our past year of operation, as well as a detailed discussion of the national issues that NDIA will espouse for the coming year.

Our just-completed fiscal year was perhaps our best yet. And I can report the state of the association is excellent. We made several significant accomplishments:

Now, allow me to highlight the issues for the coming year, which were adopted by the NDIA Board.

Issue I: Advocate a balance between our national security strategy and the resources allocated to carry it out. In essence, match the missions assigned to our military with the resources needed.

Issue II: Advocate an increased budget for the Defense Department, to provide for both near-term and future readiness–recapitalization and modernization. We cannot continue mortgaging the future to pay for today’s readiness.

Issue III: Advocate enhanced force readiness through the use of modern simulation and training systems and support for the revolution in military logistics. The era of large stockpiles must give way to a new, fast, responsive distribution-based system.

Issue IV: Advocate implementation of the revolution in business affairs, to include changes to OMB Circular A76, the Civil False Claims Act, the organizational conflict of interest and past performance policies. We must rid the system of disincentives that stand in the way of efficiency and broader participation by commercial firms.

Issue V: Advocate timely implementation of the Defense Trade Security Initiatives, strengthening the Defense Export Loan Guarantee Program, and implement tax law changes needed by the World Trade Organization. Every billion dollars of exports generates more than 20,000 jobs in the U.S. We need to relax the restrictions placed on U.S. firms, so they can compete on a level-playing field.

Issue VI: Advocate revitalizing the defense workforce in both the private and public sectors. Both our government and industry workforces are aging. Improved business environments are needed to attract the next generation of the "best and the brightest" to the national defense effort.

We will provide more details about each of these policy issues in future editions of President’s Perspective and other forums. If you have any immediate inquiries about the NDIA issues for 2001, feel free to contact Pete Scrivner, our Senior Vice President for Government Policy, at 703-247-9470, e-mail at pscrivner@ndia.org, or you can contact me at 703-522-1820, e-mail at lskibbie@ndia.org.

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