The Twenty-Ninth Gilbert A. Cuneo Lecture in Government Contract Law

Author:Jacques S. Gansler
Position:Joined the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs, in January of 2001 where he holds the Roger C. Lipitz Chair in Public Policy and Private Enterprise
* This article is based on the transcribed edited lecture delivered by the Honorable
Jacques S. Gansler to members of the staff and faculty and students attending the 2012
Government Contract and Fiscal Law Symposium on November 16, 2012, at The Judge
Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, U.S. Army, located in Charlottesville,
The Cuneo Lecture is named in memory of Gilbert A. Cuneo, who was an extensive
commentator and premier litigator in the field of government contract law. Mr. Cuneo
graduated from Harvard Law School in 1937 and entered the United States Army in
1942. He served as a government contract law instructor on the faculty at The Judge
Advocate General’s School, and he then taught at the University of Michigan Law School
from 1944 to 1946. For the next twelve years, Mr. Cuneo was an administrative law
judge with the War Department Board of Contract Appeals and its successor, the Armed
Services Board of Contract Appeals. He entered the private practice of law in 1958 in
Washington, D.C. During the next twenty years, Mr. Cuneo lectured and litigated
extensively in all areas of government contract law and was unanimously recognized as
the dean of the government contract bar.
The Honorable Jacques S. Gansler joined the faculty of the University of Maryland
School of Public Affairs, in January of 2001 where he holds the Roger C. Lipitz Chair in
Public Policy and Private Enterprise. He teaches graduate school courses and leads the
school’s Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise, which fosters collaboration
among the public, private, and non-profit sectors in order to promote mutually beneficial
public and private interests.
Previously, Dr. Gansler served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition,
Technology and Logistics from November 1997 until January 2001. In this position, he
was responsible for all matters relating to Department of Defense acquisition, research
and development, logistics, acquisition reform, advanced technology, international
programs, environmental security, nuclear, chemical and biological programs, and the
defense technology and industrial base. Dr. Gansler oversaw an annual budget of over
$180 billion and a workforce of over 300,000.
Prior to this appointment, Dr. Gansler was Senior Vice President and Corporate
Director for The Analytic Sciences Corporation (TASC), Inc., an applied information
technology company, in Arlington, Virginia, from 1977 to 1997. During his tenure, Dr.
Gansler played a major role in building the company from a small operation into a large,
widely-recognized and greatly-respected corporation, serving both the government and
the private sector.
From 1972 to 1977, he served in the government as Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Defense (Material Acquisition), responsible for all defense procurements and the defense
industry; and as Assistant Director of Defense Research and Engineering (Electronics),
responsible for all defense electronics Research and Development.
His prior industrial experience includes: Vice President (Business Development),
International Telephone and Telegraph (I.T.T.) (1970–1972); Program Management,
Director of Advanced Programs, and Director of International Marketing, Singer
Corporation (1962–1970); and Engineering Management, Raytheon Corporation (1956–
What I want to do today is talk about 21st century acquisition issues.
I want to start with the most obvious issue, namely the budget cycle. If I
had brought my crystal ball with me, I would tell you what is going to
happen with sequestration, but I did not, I left that at home. So I do not
know where this will go, but I do know that it is not going to go up; it is
going to go down. And that is pretty clear.
I want to point out a couple of things. When I was Under Secretary
the acquisition budget was about 180 billion. Now that has sort of
doubled. And now, as it heads down, the question is: How are we going
to get what we need for the next generation, with fewer dollars? And I
am going to cover that in my talk.
I might point out that the budget peaks have been growing, and there
are some people who erroneously think this is a natural law; every
eighteen years we get another peak. The reality is that it is exogenously
driven; and, of course, and we do not know what is going to happen in
the future (e.g., a Pearl Harbor, a 9/11, or what; and when). Thus,
uncertainty is the big issue. But I can say that historically what has
always happened is that whenever the budget has plummeted, the first
three things to go are these: travel, training, and research. And there is
no question in my mind that training and research are the wrong things to
be cutting. Of course, it is giving up the future for the present, and there
is an institutional inertia that favors that. Thus, that is the problem. The
next thing that goes is the procurement account and that is what
happened in the post Cold War period when we had to cut $100 billion;
and $60 billion of that was out of procurement.
Dr. Gansler has served on numerous special committees and advisory boards,
including Vice Chairman, Defense Science Board; Chairman, Board of Visitors, Defense
Acquisition University; Director, Procurement Round Table; Chairman, Industry
Advisory Board of Visitors, University of Virginia, School of Engineering; Chairman,
Board of Visitors, University of Maryland, School of Public Affairs; member of the FAA
Blue Ribbon Panel on Acquisition Reform; and senior consultant to the “Packard
Commission” on Defense Acquisition Reform. Additionally, from 1984 to 1977, Dr.
Gansler was a Visiting Scholar at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard
University (a frequent guest lecturer in Executive Management courses).
Dr. Gansler holds a BE (Electrical Engineering), Yale University; a MS (Electrical
Engineering), Northeastern University; a MA (Political Economy), New School for
Social Research; and a Ph.D. (Economics), American University. He is the author of five
books and numerous other publications.

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