DOD acquisitions director retiring

After devoting more than 30 years of her life to government service, Donna Richbourg, the Defense Department's director of acquisition initiatives, will be retiring Feb. 3.

In her current role, Richbourg leads DOD efforts to improve and streamline policies and practices governing the development, procurement and support of defense material, weapon systems and associated activities.

Richbourg said she has been "working long and hard hours" in the DOD's procurement shop for about nine years and is satisfied with what has been accomplished. Now, she would like to spend more time with her family and doing volunteer work.

"I have a son in ninth grade, and I'd like to be available there, and I'd also like to volunteer to teach at an elementary school, helping underprivileged kids learn to read," Richbourg said. "The president said we should all think about volunteering...and I'm proud to have devoted my whole life to serving our nation, and now I'd like to devote more time to my community."

DOD merged its acquisition and procurement shops last year, but Richbourg said that is not why she is leaving, considering she is responsible for myriad initiatives including the Defense Acquisition University, Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS), and the new DOD Directive 5000 series.

Late last year, DOD started revamping the 5000 series policies, which outline the process for buying and managing major systems, including automated information systems. That work is now in the "final stages" and should be ready "any day now," perhaps later this week, she said.

Before assuming her current job in July 2001, Richbourg had been the acting deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition reform starting in December 2000, after serving as the principal assistant deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition reform since April 1998.

Prior to joining the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Richbourg held numerous program and acquisition management positions in the Navy, including deputy program executive officer for acquisition in the office of the program executive officer for air, anti-submarine warfare, assault and special mission programs. She also held various deputy program manager positions in the Naval Air Systems Command's F-14 Tomcat Aircraft Program Management Office.

Richbourg has earned numerous awards during her government tenure, including the Bronze Palm to the DOD Distinguished Civilian Service Award, Secretary of Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Medal and the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence for her work in acquisition reform.

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