Acquisition

OFPP nominee lays out agenda

Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

Anne Rung, the president's pick to head the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, had her confirmation hearing on July 24.

Anne Rung, President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, told lawmakers that she wants to "break down the barriers" that stall innovation in federal acquisition.

At a brisk, sparsely attended confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on July 24, the former chief acquisition officer at the General Services Administration also cited as priorities better category management and giving the acquisition workforce the tools it needs to succeed.

Rung said she is particularly interested in creating topic specialization for acquisition officials. Often people who are buying pens and pencils for their agency are also tasked with major IT purchases.

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, the panel's ranking Republican, concurred.

"When it comes to acquisition, you need to know what you don't need," Coburn said. "We don't have people in the federal government that are knowledgeable to buy IT."

Rung also said that to spur innovation she would work "hand-in-hand" with U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel, U.S. CTO Todd Park and other senior IT officials to "streamline the acquisition process for agencies and industry, particularly small businesses, and break down the barriers that can keep innovation out of federal government procurement."

Rung said strategic sourcing presents a huge opportunity for innovation, increased efficiencies and cost savings.

"Strategic sourcing, or leveraging the federal government's vast buying power to get better prices and faster delivery, is one effective approach under this broader strategy of category management that will continue to be a priority for me if confirmed," Rung said.

The post of administrator for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy has been vacant since the departure of Joe Jordan, who stepped down in January and is now president of public sector at FedBid.

Rung served as GSA's chief acquisition officer from May 2012 to June 2013, when she was named associate administrator for the Office of Government-wide Policy at GSA.

Coburn and Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the Financial and Contracting Oversight Subcommittee, both expressed support for Rung during the hearing, which lasted less than an hour. Only two other members of the 16-member panel briefly attended the hearing.

The committee has not yet scheduled a vote on Rung's confirmation.

About the Author

Colby Hochmuth is a staff writer covering big data, cloud computing and the federal workforce. Connect with her on Twitter: @ColbyAnn.

Reader comments

Sat, Jul 26, 2014 Johnny Pottie

One has to agree re the thin resume. But the Federal Gouvernment is like a teaching hospital. We should expect learning on the job, some grievous/lethal failures, and negligible responsibility or accountability. Thus every appointment like this can be declared a success from the get-go. And we can sing Kumbaya every night, eh?

Fri, Jul 25, 2014 TW DC Area

Agree with first Reader's Comment (David) about nominee's sparse quals. This position needs a seasoned acquisitions professional, not a young eager-beaver. There are plenty in both Government and industry with the requisite quals but then even a male might have to be picked.......an Obama tilt!

Fri, Jul 25, 2014 Fair & Open

The answer is: bid out the hosting of the federal government to other cities (rotate just like the Olympics but every 10 years), nothing can be accomplished in DC.

Thu, Jul 24, 2014 David Mischbuccha

Certaintly a worthy candidate for OFPP by dint of her titles. But can't see where she did anything but learn on the job. Would fit well with appointees of this administration, heavy on titles and degrees, but limited practical experience at the midlevels, or even high levels. We wish her good fortune in any case, as OFPP, during some periods, has mad some important pronunciamentos.

Thu, Jul 24, 2014 Jen Ostrow

Funny how long vacancies at OFPP can go before anyone is motivated to fill them. This may suggest it is outlived its usefulness, or at least its location within OMB. It will never be allowed to have real influence again, as long as the WH and career ranks are compromised by conflicts of interest with contractors, including universities, FFRDCs and other mega nonprofits.

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