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A Pentagon Executive’s Real Hometown

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Shay Assad, director of Defense pricing policy, is based in Boston. Shay Assad, director of Defense pricing policy, is based in Boston. United States Air Force file photo

Last December’s release of the quadrennial “Plum Book,” the congressionally compiled list of top government jobs and supporting positions, contained a curiosity. In the section on the Defense Department’s top management, among the many jobs located in Arlington, Va., home to the Pentagon, was a notation for Shay Assad, director of Defense pricing policy. His location? Boston.

Assad, who has worked for Defense since 2004, was asked by to explain after a recent speech to a contractors group in Arlington. “My home portal,” he said, is at the pricing center at the Defense Contract Management Agency’s south Boston office. The decision to reside there, made when he ascended to the pricing job in June 2011, allowed the department to eliminate one Senior Executive Service position and three GS-15s from the Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy shop.

That would appear to make up for the costs of commuting to Washington, where Assad, who is career SES, is expected to spend about 25 percent of his time, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman.

Assad works directly for Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics on major programs, an arrangement made to “ensure that the entire organization and industry understood the importance of contract pricing,” the spokeswoman said. One of his chief responsibilities is to assist and advise DCMA Director Charlie Williams Jr. in the ”implementation of a departmentwide centralized DCMA pricing capability.”

Over time, the spokeswoman said, Assad “anticipates he will spend more time directly working with his counterparts in the field in the implementation of Better Buying Power Initiatives.”

In a previous life, Assad spent 22 years as an executive with Raytheon Co., based outside Boston in Waltham, and is a red-hot Red Sox fan. ”Of course,” he said, “I was happy to take the job.”

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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