Mattis wants closer ties with defense industry

By Tony Bertuca / September 20, 2017 at 5:37 PM

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today he wants to establish more robust lines of communication between the Pentagon and the defense industry.

Mattis, who spoke at the Air Force Association's annual convention at National Harbor, MD, said he spurred Pentagon concern when he chose to meet with industry leaders shortly after becoming defense secretary.

"Last time I checked, they were on our side," he said. "I think the most important thing is to get the communication going again in the areas where it languished."

Mattis also said DOD is continuing to seek reform opportunities in its business processes.

"The heart of our competitive edge … is reforming the department and its business processes and gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar," he said.

Additionally, Mattis said DOD is seeking to tighten up its acquisition system.

"We're looking at how we break that out between software and hardware to take advantage of software development," he said. "Do we really need to have the same procedures when we're doing a small program as when we're doing a major aircraft program? All these things are being looked at and I've got some great people coming in to help."

The Pentagon, meanwhile, is in the midst of a major acquisition system shake-up directed by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

"It's also important to integrate this across the joint force, because the real strength we've exhibited over 16 years of war is jointness," Mattis said.