DOD acquisition chief retiring

Edward "Pete" Aldridge Jr., undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L) announced March 31 that he will retire from government, effective May 23.

"Now it is time, for personal reasons, to move on to a more relaxed period of my career," Aldridge said in a statement. "I will continue to support the national security interests of this country, albeit in a less direct way."

The Pentagon announced that Michael Wynne, principal deputy undersecretary of AT&L, will serve as acting undersecretary of defense (AT&L) when Aldridge leaves his office.

In his resignation letter to President Bush, Aldridge summarized his top five goals for achieving "acquisition excellence" within DOD:

* Improve the credibility and effectiveness of the acquisition and logistics support process.

* Improve the morale and quality of the acquisition workforce.

* Improve the health of the defense industrial base.

* Support the decision process by rationalizing weapon systems and defense infrastructure with the new defense strategy.

* Initiate high-leverage technologies that would provide the war-winning capabilities of the future.

"All in all I think we have made significant progress on accomplishing these five goals and setting in place the acquisition, technology and logistics support activities that you and Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld want to have for DOD," his letter said.

In recent weeks, Aldridge has been testifying on Capitol Hill about DOD acquisition workforce issues, including the ongoing revision of the Office of Management and Budget' Circular A-76 and how it will affect the department.

In February, he announced the formation of two oversight boards, including one that he is chairing, focused on ensuring that the Total Information Awareness project proceeds legally and without infringing on public privacy. He also oversees DOD's Business Initiatives Council.

Aldridge's more than 40-year career includes 18 years of service in the Pentagon, first as an operations research analyst as the director of planning and evaluation under Rumsfeld during his first tour as secretary of defense, and then as undersecretary and then secretary of the Air Force under President Reagan before being sworn in to his current position on May 11, 2001.

Immediately prior to his current position, Aldridge served as president of The Aerospace Corp., a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving critical national problems through science and technology. Prior to that he was president of McDonnell Douglas Electronic Systems Co.

Rumsfeld said that Aldridge's 18 years of accomplishments "will be felt for many years to come," and that the Pentagon intends "to turn to him frequently for counsel and advice."

Aldridge was born in Houston in 1938 and spent his youth in Shreveport, La. He earned his bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from Texas A&M University in 1960 and a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1962.

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