The most important asset in the Defense Department is its people, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks said at the virtual 2021 Defense Acquisition Workforce Awards ceremony.
"Across all of DOD, we are committed to taking care of the women and men in uniform and the civilians who serve with them," she said.
Hicks said part of doing so is highlighting and rewarding the work of those who have gone above and beyond in their service to the department.
Their achievements not only exemplify the culture of innovation that the department needs, but also demonstrate just how valuable its acquisition workforce is to national security, she said.
The award recipients' achievements were varied and included guiding a cybersecurity team through systems engineering, design, requirements, testing, and technical baseline management to ensure the cyber-resilient operations of a $6.4 billion national satellite command and control program, Hicks said.
Another awardee negotiated successful contracts in support of the COVID-19 White House Presidential Task Force to enable a team of logisticians to deliver rapid test kits and syringes for the nationwide testing and vaccination program, she said.
"Our winners this year are the best of the best among our nation's public service professionals," she said, adding that the work of the department's acquisition professionals is vital to supporting our nation's military.
Gregory M. Kausner, performing the duties of undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said the awardees exemplify the dedicated professionals and the work they do to develop, acquire and sustain the capabilities that increase the readiness and lethality of America's fighting forces.
The defense acquisition workforce is comprised of nearly 186,000 military and civilian personnel from across the department.
"Their work is critical to the rapid and cost effective delivery of capabilities to the warfighter and to ensuring that America's military forces are ready to fight today and tomorrow," he said.
Navy Vice. Adm. Ronald A. Boxall, director of force structure, resources and assessment, the joint staff, said the department's goals are to ensure military readiness, build a highly capable joint force, strengthen alliances and reform business processes.
"It is critical in today's environment [that] we get it right so that we are ready when called upon to defend our nation, our allies and our way of life. Through your efforts, our nation continues to field the material solutions that equip a more lethal, resilient and rapidly adaptable joint warfighting force," he said.