U.S. Air Force acquisition executive David Van Buren will step down at the end of March and return to private industry.
Air Force Secretary Michael Donley announced Van Buren’s departure in an internal email late last week.
Van Buren has served as the Air Force’s top weapon buyer since April 2009.
“During his tenure, Dave has led the Air Force’s Acquisition Improvement Plan, which resulted in the successful KC-46A tanker source selection, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter restructure, the Long-Range Strike family of systems, the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle new entrant strategy, Project Liberty, Space Acquisition Improvement, and many other acquisition program enhancements and cost effective improvements,” Donley wrote in the Feb. 3 email.
“Dave’s vision, leadership and business acumen have been instrumental to the Air Force and the Department of Defense,” Donley wrote.
In Donley’s email, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter called Van Buren “one of the most gifted and skilled acquisition executives the Defense Department has.”
“He has not only delivered new capabilities and saved billions [of dollars] for the Air Force, he has taught all of us in DoD how to improve our acquisition performance,” Carter said.
Prior to 2008, Van Buren spent more than 25 years working in the private sector, most notably as a deputy program manager on Northrop’s B-2 stealth bomber program in the 1980s.
There was no mention of a replacement for Van Buren, who does not have a civilian deputy.
Industry sources say Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, the Air Force’s military deputy for acquisition, will likely oversee weapon purchases after Van Buren’s departure.