Based on her experience working in the acquisition oversight communities in both the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the Trump administration’s nominee to head up the DHS management office told a Senate panel that one lesson for her has been that oversight of acquisitions needs to be measured according to the program.
Clair Grady, who was nominated in May to be under secretary for Management at DHS, said that “From a Department of Defense perspective, one lesson I took away is that one size does not fit all and you really need to tailor both documentation and oversight appropriate to the investment, and there needs to be metrics and data and accountability associated with delivering results.”
Grady is currently the director of DoD’s Procurement and Acquisition Policy, serving as the principal advisor to the under secretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Her Pentagon position gives her a role assisting the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB), a senior leadership council that makes milestone decisions on major defense acquisition programs.
Grady previously served as the Coast Guard’s deputy assistant commandant for Acquisition, and in the DHS management directorate, leading strategic initiatives for the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer.
In both her DHS and DoD roles, Grady said he has experience the DAB and the DHS Acquisition Review Board, which like the Pentagon board, also provides senior decision-making authority for key acquisition program milestones.
Responding to a question from Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) at her June 28 confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Grady said that one of the key differences between the two departments’ acquisition processes is how requirements are done.
Grady said the Pentagon’s Joint Staff validates requirements across the department. Pointing to the DHS Joint Requirements Council (JRC), which was resurrected by then Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in the last few years of the Obama administration, Grady said that was a “tremendous step because acquisitions live and die by getting the requirements right. And by getting the requirements right, I mean meeting the needs and the mission gaps of the end users who are actually on the front line.”
Strengthening the DHS requirements process “is really important in terms of delivering value through acquisition as well as unity of effort.”
Unity of effort refers to an initiative begun by Johnson, and embraced by current DHS Secretary John Kelly, to eliminated stovepipes across the department and boost efficiencies.
Grady had no troubles during her confirmation hearing and is expected to be confirmed to the top management post at DHS.