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US Army acquisition head eyes tenure priorities, lessons learned from time on Capitol Hill

Douglas Bush (left), then the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, and Timothy Goddette (right), at a ceremony at the Detroit Arsenal in Michigan in May 2021. (Ted Beupre)

Douglas Bush's tenure helping guide and craft defence policy from the legislative side of the government is a driving force behind several key priorities guiding his time as the Assistant Secretary of the US Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, he recently told Janes .

After a handful of years donning the army uniform, Bush spent nearly two decades as a Congressional staff member, including 14 years working for the House Armed Services Committee. On this committee, he helped lawmakers craft their annual defence oversight bill at a time when the army encountered several high-profile acquisition setbacks including the demise of the Future Combat System (FCS), Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, and Ground Combat Vehicle programme.

“What I learned on (FCS) and from other programmes, was the army, with the best of intentions, didn't get the outcomes they wanted,” he said during a May interview. “The primary mistake [the army] usually made was that the requirements were not achievable given the time and resources devoted to a programme.”

Other times, the blame was because of contractor performance or a change in army leadership and associated priorities, Bush added.

“Most programmes actually were fine, delivered on time and did well, but [with] the ones that didn't go well, it was usually one of those three reasons,” he added. “Rarely was it … an acquisition technicality, like the choice of type of contract, or a competition that wasn't done correctly.”

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