Obama taps new Defense acquisition chief

Frank Kendall’s nomination pleases contractor community.

President Obama on Tuesday sent to the Senate the nomination of Frank Kendall III as undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. If confirmed, Kendall would replace Ashton B. Carter, who became deputy Defense secretary in October 2011.

Kendall, who has been serving as acting undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, would take the key procurement job at a time when defense contractors are bracing for a shrinking Pentagon pie.

In 2009, when Kendall was nominated for the Obama administration, he was criticized by some for not disclosing all his recent consulting clients, some of whom might have been defense contractors.

"The United States of America has the most well-equipped military in the world, but I believe we can do much better at equipping and sustaining our forces," Kendall told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing, according to The Washington Times.

Before his current stint at the Defense Department, Kendall was a managing partner at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, a technical and program management consultant, and vice president of engineering at Raytheon. His past career in government included five years as the Pentagon' s director of tactical warfare programs, three years as assistant deputy undersecretary for strategic systems, and four years as chief of the systems analysis office within the Ballistic Missile Defense Systems Command.

His nomination was welcomed by Stan Soloway, president and chief executive officer of the Professional Services Council, a contractor trade group in Arlington, Va. "Since becoming the deputy USD, Frank Kendall has demonstrated his deep understanding not only of acquisition generally, but the many challenges the current system presents," Soloway said. "He'll be a very strong undersecretary and we're delighted that the president has moved the nomination forward."