July 20, 2009

Venable's Robert Burton, Former Top Federal Procurement Officer, Named to Board of Directors of National Contract Management Association

5 min

WASHINGTON, DC (July 20, 2009) -- Venable LLP Government Contracts partner Robert A. Burton, who served as the nation's top career federal procurement officer, has been named to the Board of Directors of the The National Contract Management Association (NCMA), the nation's leading association of procurement professionals, consisting of almost 19,000 members.

"This is a very critical time for contract management," Mr. Burton said.  "For the first time in my 30-year career, the President is actively engaged in overseeing the procurement process.  President Obama's March 4, 2009 memorandum to agency heads shows that the administration recognizes that an effective procurement process is essential to the accomplishment of each agency's mission.  In this regard, NCMA is uniquely positioned to play a lead role in improving the process and the skills of the acquisition workforce."

Mr. Burton began his three-year term on the NCMA board on July 1. He was officially welcomed during NCMA's Aerospace and Defense Contract Management Conference in Denver, Colorado, July 9 - 10, 2009.

"Rob's strong background and overall business acumen will significantly support NCMA's strategic growth," stated NCMA's past president Steve Ayers. "We are honored that he has joined our Board of Directors."

At NCMA, Mr. Burton is joining some of the leading lights in procurement policy. The organization's membership includes current government acquisition officials and private executives from a host of industries.

Among current NCMA board members are: Elliot Branch, the Department of Navy's Executive Director for Contracts at the Naval Sea Systems Command, and Deidre Lee, the former Director of Management and Chief Acquisition Officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Private sector board members include: Charles Chadwick, vice president of Contracts and Business Conduct for BAE Systems, Inc.; Linda Po Collins, senior manager of contracts and process improvement management for Raytheon's Network Centric Systems Contracts Department; and Karen Wilson, the director of Acquisition Policy and Industrial Affairs at the Boeing Company.

"The acquisition workforce has faced a series of enormous challenges over the last decade, be it increased spending after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina or spending related to the Afghan and Iraq Wars," Mr. Burton said.  "Now procurement officers are tasked with overseeing the hundreds of billions of dollars in spending mandated by the Recovery Act.  NCMA and its members will continue to play a leading role in educating and professionalizing the federal acquisition workforce, and helping to develop a clear strategy for managing these new responsibilities."

Mr. Burton has deep knowledge of the challenges of federal procurement policy. He previously served as Deputy Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), the highest-ranking career official in the government, from 2001 until 2008.  He also spent two years as the Acting Administrator during his time at the OFPP.

Rob Burton Background

As Deputy Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), Mr. Burton was responsible for the government's acquisition policies and procedures for all Executive Branch agencies.  His office was charged with developing policies affecting more than $400 billion in annual federal spending – a figure that doubled during Mr. Burton's time in office due to the Iraq War and other major events.

Mr. Burton was instrumental on a number of fronts, including preparing the Administration's policy positions and testimony on proposed acquisition legislation; working with House and Senate committees on the development of acquisition reform legislation; and serving as a principal spokesperson for government-wide acquisition policy issues and initiatives.  He delivered more than 100 keynote speeches on procurement topics at leading government and industry gatherings.

In 2005, following a scandal that resulted in a criminal conviction of the former OFPP Administrator, Federal Computer Week called for Mr. Burton to be named to the politically-appointed position as head of the Office – a rare endorsement for a career civil servant.  Federal Computer Week, which named Mr. Burton the top "2007 Power Player in Procurement," called Mr. Burton the "steady hand on the wheel," and someone who has gone "above and beyond to make a difference."

Mr. Burton already had an accomplished procurement career when he was tapped to join the OFPP in 2001.  He had spent the previous twenty years as a high-ranking acquisition attorney with the Department of Defense.  At the Defense Contract Management Agency, he advised on the acquisition of major DoD weapon systems, programs and contracts valued at more than $900 billion. 

He served as general counsel for DoD's Defense Energy Support Center as well as associate general counsel for the Defense Logistics Agency, the DoD component responsible for purchasing most of the general supplies and services used by American armed forces personnel worldwide.  He also provided legal and policy counsel on contract management issues, helping manage a staff of over 100 acquisition attorneys globally.

At Venable, Mr. Burton works with one of the nation's largest government contracts groups. The firm's attorneys help government contractors navigate the often complex and heavily rule-driven procurement process. The firm represents companies that conduct business across the entire spectrum of the federal government, from the largest defense manufacturers and system integrators to small, minority-owned companies performing research and development or services contracts.

Venable promotes an integrated approach to assisting government contractors, bringing in attorneys from 17 legal disciplines. The firm has also established a strong record in representing government contractors in mergers and acquisitions, closing 15 deals with a market value over $1 billion in 2007 alone.  Venable was also one of the very first law firms to develop a multi-disciplinary Homeland Security practice in 2002. 



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