Acquisition reform will be in the spotlight as the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee unveils his plans for the upcoming annual defense policy bill.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) will outline his acquisition reform proposal at a speech Tuesday at the Brookings Institution.
He plans to introduce his proposal as standalone bill, elicit feedback and then fold it into the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Thornberry has said his proposal will focus on two areas: allowing the Pentagon to experiment with new technologies and clarifying the responsibilities of each of the different officials involved in buying decisions: the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
The latter topic was addressed in the 2016 defense bill, but Thornberry wants to do more in the upcoming legislation.
“In a lot of respects, I’m looking at going back to basics here,” he told reporters earlier this month. “Adding bureaucracy to deal with a problem is usually not a very good answer.”
On experimentation, he wants the Pentagon to have more latitude to experiment with technology without it being a so-called program of record.
Monetary policy in the United States and other developed countries “is reaching its limits,” but the Federal Reserve has not yet run out of responses to a potential slowdown, former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke wrote Friday.
In a blog post for the Brookings Institution, he argued a “balanced monetary-fiscal response” would better boost the economy than monetary tools alone. Bernanke assessed policy options for the Fed, saying negative interest rates hold “modest benefits” but are unlikely.
“I assess the probability that this tool will be used in the U.S. as quite low for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, it would probably be worthwhile for the Fed to conduct further analysis of this option,” Bernanke wrote.
Recently Senator Ted Cruz aggressively questioned Janet Yellen on the Fed’s possible role in causing the financial crisis and subsequent recession. In particular, he claimed that “in the summer of 2008” the Fed “told markets that it was shifting to a tighter monetary policy,” and that this announcement “set off a scramble for cash, which caused the dollar to soar, asset prices to collapse, and CPI [growth — RPM] to fall below zero, which set the stage for the crisis.” Cruz asked Yellen if she agreed with Bernanke’s view from his new book, in which he says the Fed made a mistake by not cutting rates in September 2008.
In response, Yellen at first seemed befuddled by Cruz’s line of inquiry. She said that without further review she wasn’t going to second-guess Bernanke’s opinion that the Fed should’ve cut rates sooner. But she was quite sure that the Fed’s possibly delayed reaction didn’t cause the financial crisis, and in any event, Yellen reminded Cruz that by December 2008 the Fed had cut the federal funds rates down to 0 percent.