Shay Assad becomes director of defense pricing

Shay Assad, a senior procurement policy official at the Defense Department, is now the director of defense pricing, according to an announcement made May 31.

Assad had been director of defense procurement and acquisition policy in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, where he dealt with policy matters throughout DOD. Assad had held that position since 2006.

In an interview with Federal Computer Week in April, Assad said DOD was developing a pricing center of excellence in the Defense Contract Management Agency. Officials wanted to have experts in specific areas, such as market research, offer help to contracting officers in making what are typically ancillary purchases compared with major weapons systems.

Read the interview.

Ashton Carter, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, has sought to improve efficiency through the Better Buying Power initiative and other activities that drive down costs, such as increasing competition for contracts.

DOD has also focused on managing program costs. Senior officials are trying to control spending and comparing what an acquisition should cost and what it will cost in the end.

David Berteau, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group, said Assad's new position will help reverse 15 years or more of a decline in managing defense contracts and controlling prices. Such a position is long overdue and will have lasting value for DOD.

"It is central to the success of Carter's initiatives," he said. "But more importantly, it will have benefits across all $360 billion of DOD contract dollars."

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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