Now, however, Lord believes her Acquisition and Sustainment office will beat that target, easily.
“I believe we are going to be pretty squared away” by the first quarter of calendar year 2019, Lord told Defense News in an interview following her appearance at the second annual Defense News Conference.
“I believe those last critical slots — a lot of [deputy assistant secretary of defense] slots, a few director slots — will all be filled by March of ’19. We’re excited to get going on the work,” she said.
The AT&L reorganization included splitting the office into two new units — the undersecretaries of Acquisition and Sustainment, led by Lord, and of Research and Engineering, led by Mike Griffin.
In July, Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan released a memo — obtained first by Defense News — finalizing the structures of the new organizations.
The biggest changes for A&S came in the ASD-Acquisition column, with other, smaller changes spread throughout the department.
Asked why the reorg moved more quickly than she predicted, Lord said: “We didn’t know what we didn’t know.” She noted that her team was able to move more quickly than expected to fill critical spots.
“We worked through the body of work that we needed to complete, decided what the framework should be,” Lord said. “I was very fortunate to get some excellent leaders on my team, and they have worked together to come up with some constructs that make sense.
“So I have people in the key positions, and they’re fleshing out the rest of the organization. We continue to bring some great talent on.”
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.