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Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics)
Appointed by The President
with the advice and consent of the Senate
Incumbent William B. Roper, Jr.

The Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) (SAF/AQ) is a civilian position in the Department of the Air Force that is appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate. This position is established under Title 10 US Code Section 8016 and is one of four Assistant Secretary positions under the Secretary of the Air Force. The Assistant Secretary reports to the Secretary of the Air Force.

Under the law a Principal Military Deputy serves with the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. The Principal Military Deputy is required to be an active duty officer with a background in acquisition and program management. If the Assistant Secretary position is vacant the law permits the Principal Military Deputy to serve up to a year as the Acting Assistant Secretary. Of the four Assistant Secretary positions established by law, only the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition is required to have a Principal Military Deputy.[1]

On February 12, 2014, Dr. William A. LaPlante, Jr. was confirmed by the United States Senate to be the next Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.[2]

President Obama nominated Dr. William A. LaPlante, Jr. on October 30, 2013. At the time, Dr. LaPlante had been the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition since May 2013. Prior to serving in the Air Force, Dr. LaPlante was the Missile Defense Portfolio Director at the MITRE Corporation from 2011 to 2013.[3]

Dr. LaPlante resigned from office in November 2015. From November 2015 to February 2018, the civilian Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition performed the duties of the Assistant Secretary. From November 2015 to February 2016, Mr. Richard Lombardi was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary.[4] From February 2016 on, Ms. Darlene Costello served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary.[5]

Dr. Will Roper became the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics in February 2018.[6]

Responsibilities[edit | edit source]

The Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition serves as the single service acquisition executive (SAE) and the Senior Procurement Executive for the Department of the Air Force. They are responsible for acquisition and product support for all Air Force acquisition programs and manages the Air Force science and technology program.[7]

They provides direction, guidance and supervision of all matters pertaining to the formulation, review, approval and execution of acquisition plans, policies and programs. The Assistant Secretary oversees $40 billion annual investments that include major programs like the KC-46A Pegasus, F-35 Lighting II, B-21 Raider,[5] as well as capability areas such as information technology and command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems.

History[edit | edit source]

The Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition position was created in 1987 by National Security Decision Directive 219, following recommendations from President Reagan’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management. The Commission recommended the Department of Defense have clear lines of authority for acquisition management and outlined roles and responsibilities between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military departments. This move established the Defense Acquisition Executive, the Service Acquisition Executives for each military department, Program Executive Officers who manage execution for a portfolio of programs.

Prior to 1987, similar duties and responsibilities now carried out by the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition were performed by offices in the Headquarters Secretariat with the following names and dates:

Assistant Secretary for Material - May 1951 to February 1964

Special Assistant for Research and Development - September 1950-February 1955

Assistant Secretary for Research and Development - March 1955 to May 1977

Assistant Secretary for Research, Development and Logistics - May 1977-April 1987[8]

Assistant Secretaries of the Air Force (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) (Incomplete List)[edit | edit source]

Name Assumed Office Left Office President Appointed By Secretary Served Under
John J. Martin[8] May 1977 May 1979 Jimmy Carter John C. Stetson
Robert J. Hermann.jpg Robert J. Hermann[9] July 1979 August 1981[10] Jimmy Carter Hans Mark
Alton Keel 1986.jpg Alton G. Keel, Jr.[11] July 30, 1981[12] 1982 Ronald Reagan Verne Orr
Thomas E. Cooper[13] January 1983 April 1987 Ronald Reagan Verne Orr, Russell A. Rourke, Edward C. Aldridge, Jr.
[Acting] Daniel S. Rak April 1987 October 1987 Ronald Reagan Edward C. Aldridge, Jr.
John J. Welch, Jr.[14] Oct 1987 April 1992 Ronald Reagan Edward C. Aldridge, Jr., Donald Rice
G. Kim Wincup[15] May 1992 December 1992 George H. W. Bush Donald Rice
86x86px [Acting] Darleen A. Druyun January 1993 May 1994 William J. Clinton Michael B. Donley
Clark Fiester.jpg Clark G. Fiester[16] May 1994 April 1995 William J. Clinton Sheila Widnall
95x95px [Acting] Darleen A. Druyun April 1995 January 1996 William J. Clinton Sheila Widnall
MoneyArthurL.gif Arthur L. Money[17] January 26, 1996 1998[18] William J. Clinton Sheila Widnall, F. Whitten Peters
Dr Lawrence J Delaney, Acting Secretary of the Air Force.jpg Lawrence J. Delaney[19] April 29, 1999[20] 2001 William J. Clinton F. Whitten Peters
Marvin R Sambur.jpg Marvin R. Sambur[21] November 8, 2001[22] January 2005 George W. Bush James G. Roche
Sue C Payton.jpg Sue C. Payton[23] July 21, 2006[24] 2009 George W. Bush Michael Wynne, Michael B. Donley
David M Van Buren.jpg [Acting] David M. Van Buren[25] 2009 March 2012 Barack Obama Michael B. Donley
Dr. William A. LaPlante, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition).jpg William A. LaPlante, Jr.[26] Feb 12, 2014 November 2015[27] Barack Obama Deborah Lee James
Richard W. Lombardi.jpg [Acting] Richard W. Lombardi November 2015 February 2016 Barack Obama Deborah Lee James
Darlene J. Costello.jpg [Acting] Darlene J. Costello February 2016 February 2018 Barack Obama Deborah Lee James
Donald Trump Heather Wilson
Will Roper official photo (cropped).jpg William B. Roper, Jr. February 2018 Present Donald Trump Heather Wilson

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 10 U.S.C. § 8016. 
  2. "PN1050 — William A. LaPlante Jr. — Department of Defense". https://www.congress.gov/nomination/113th-congress/1050?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22william+laplante%22%5D%7D&r=2. 
  3. "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2013/10/30/president-obama-announces-more-key-administration-posts. 
  4. "Richard W. Lombardi Biography". http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/107926/richard-w-lombardi/. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Darlene Costello Biography" (in en-US). http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/717891/darlene-costello/. 
  6. "Dr. Will Roper Biography". http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/1467795/dr-will-roper/. Retrieved 2018-03-24. 
  7. "Headquarters Air Force Mission Directive 1-10". http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/saf_aq/publication/hafmd1-10/hafmd1-10.pdf. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Benson, Lawrence (1997). Acquisition Management in the United States Air Force and its Predecessors. US Government Printing Office. pp. 55. 
  9. services, united states. congress. senate. committee on armed. "Image 25 of Nominations of Hans M. Mark, Antonia H. Chayes, Robert Jay Hermann, and John Howard Moxley III : hearing before the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, Ninety-sixth Congress, first session ... July 13, 1979." (in en). The Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/resource/conghear08.0010037609A/?sp=25. 
  10. Directors at the National Reconnaissance Office at Fifty Years. Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance. 2011. pp. 25. http://www.nro.gov/about/50thanniv/DNRO_history.pdf. Retrieved 2017-04-21. 
  11. Nomination of Thomas Edward Cooper To Be an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Dec. 15, 1982. Note: Keel held the title "Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Research, Development, and Logistics)"
  12. "PN528 - Nomination of Alton Gold Keel Jr. for Department of Defense, 97th Congress (1981-1982)" (in en). 1981-07-30. https://www.congress.gov/nomination/97th-congress/528?q=%7B%22search%22:%5B%22%5C%22assistant+secretary+of+the+air+force%5C%22%22,%22robert+jay+hermann%22%5D%7D&r=1. 
  13. Nomination of Thomas Edward Cooper To Be an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Dec. 15, 1982. Cooper was initially appointed "Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Research, Development, and Logistics)". The title changed in the course of Cooper's tenure in office.
  14. George Bush: Continuation of John J. Welch, Jr., as an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Aug. 9, 1989
  15. Wincup bio Archived 2011-03-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. "Clinton nomination". http://clinton6.nara.gov/1993/11/1993-11-01-four-nominations.html. 
  17. "PN695 - Nomination of Arthur L. Money for Department of Defense, 104th Congress (1995-1996)" (in en). 1996-01-26. https://www.congress.gov/nomination/104th-congress/695?q=%7B%22search%22:%5B%22%5C%22assistant+secretary+of+the+air+force%5C%22%22%5D%7D&r=13. 
  18. "Honorable Arthur L. Money, Senior Fellow" (in en-gb). http://www.potomacinstitute.org/fellows/2232-the-potomac-institute-welcomes-senior-fellow-art-arthur-l-money-2. 
  19. "Air Force Biography". Archived from the original on April 1, 2001. https://web.archive.org/web/20010401042514/http://www.af.mil/news/biographies/delaney_lj.html. Retrieved 2017-05-12. 
  20. "PN117 — Lawrence J. Delaney — Department of Defense". https://www.congress.gov/nomination/106th-congress/117?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22lawrence+delaney%22%5D%7D&r=1. 
  21. Archived biography
  22. "PN821 — Marvin R. Sambur — Department of Defense". https://www.congress.gov/nomination/107th-congress/821?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22martin+sambur%22%5D%7D&r=2. 
  23. Payton Bio from Air Force
  24. "PN1473 — Sue C. Payton — Department of Defense". https://www.congress.gov/nomination/109th-congress/1473?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22sue+c.+payton%22%5D%7D&r=1. 
  25. "Van Buren bio". Archived from the original on 2011-02-02. https://web.archive.org/web/20110202102522/http://www.af.mil/information/bios/bio.asp?bioID=10926. 
  26. "LaPlante bio". Archived from the original on 2014-05-02. https://web.archive.org/web/20140502032005/http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/108874/dr-william-a-laplante.aspx. 
  27. "Air Force acquisition lead moves to MITRE". http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/630293/air-force-acquisition-lead-moves-to-mitre/. 
  • John J. Martin, Robert J. Hermann, Alton G. Keel, Martin F. Chen and Thomas E. Cooper all held the title "Assistant Secretary (Research, Development, and Logistics)." Daniel Rak was the first Acting Assistant Secretary (Acquisition).

External links[edit | edit source]

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