Senate confirms procurement policy chief

The Senate late Saturday confirmed Daniel Gordon, President Obama's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget's procurement policy shop.

Gordon, a former career employee at the Government Accountability Office, is well-equipped to be administrator of OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said Robert Burton, a former OFPP deputy administrator, now a partner at the Washington law firm Venable LLP.

"This is a job that's very specialized," Burton said. "You simply have to have a strong background in the laws and regulations that govern the acquisition system, and there are a lot of them. There are many positions in the administration where a strong management background will serve you well, but this is not just a management position. It has got to be someone with specialized experience."

OMB Director Peter R. Orszag congratulated Gordon on the OMB Blog, saying Gordon will, "be at the center of [the president's] effort to deliver better value to the American people at lower cost to the government's bottom line."

Orszag continued, "During his confirmation hearing, Dan talked about working to rebuild the American people's confidence in the government's ability to produce results. It is a major challenge, but Dan and the team at OFPP are committed to helping agencies improve their performance and achieve the results that the American people expect."

Gordon has named the acquisition workforce as one of the office's greatest challenges. He told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that bolstering procurement-related personnel and improving training would be top priorities, along with finding ways to save money and reduce risk in acquisitions, advancing procurement planning and strengthening contract management.

According to Burton, Gordon must jump in head first to help agencies meet Obama's mandate to reduce procurement spending by 7 percent during the next two fiscal years. That mandate likely will be Gordon's biggest challenge, other than the acquisition workforce, Burton said.

"It's going to be very difficult in light of the upward trend in procurement spending, and with the Recovery Act," Burton said. "In government terms, to implement that kind of reduction over the next two years, that really means immediately."

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