|WASHINGTON—The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, led by Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Monday reported out the nominations of Martha Johnson to be Administrator of the General Services Administration and Rand Beers to be Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by a unanimous voice vote.
“Ms. Johnson has a deep firsthand knowledge of GSA and brings a wealth of experience from her time in the private, non-profit and government sectors,” Lieberman said. “President Obama has made a wise choice in nominating her as GSA administrator.
“GSA is extremely important in promoting efficiency across the entire federal government, with enormous responsibilities in property management and facilitating the purchase of goods and services, including information technology and telecommunications. With the strong leadership Ms. Johnson will bring, GSA can ensure that the federal government is using cutting-edge technology across all operations to make buildings more energy efficient, lower costs, better engage with the public and detect and defend against cyber attacks.
“Mr. Beers is a highly-qualified nominee who has served his country for more than 30 years, dating back to his service in Vietnam. He has worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations and has been a senior advisor to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Mr. Beers is an experienced public servant whose expertise will be put to good use at DHS.”
Collins said: “The scope and importance of the NPPD’s responsibilities are daunting, including the critical and complex task of protecting the nation’s cyber networks. The complexity arises not just from the technical nature of the issue, but from the disjointed approach the federal government has taken. DHS’s relationships with the critical infrastructure sectors that both provide for and rely on information technology services will remain invaluable in ensuring a coordinated defense against cyber attacks. Should Mr. Beers be confirmed, this is just one of the many critical challenges awaiting his leadership and expertise.
“As the federal government’s primary acquisition agency and landlord, GSA must apply lessons that this Committee has drawn from its investigations into mismanagement of the federal government’s real property and into numerous examples of waste, fraud, and abuse associated with federal contracting practices. With total federal purchases of goods and services exceeding $500 billion a year, federal procurement requires better stewardship of taxpayer dollars. The federal government must also invest significantly in its acquisition workforce. As our contract spending continues to increase dramatically, our contracting workforce continues to shrink. These factors have strained the federal government’s acquisition workforce and greatly increased the risk of acquisition failures. These are just some of the many critical challenges awaiting the next Administrator at GSA.”
Both nominations must now go before the full Senate for confirmation.