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Sean Stackley

50 - Sean Stackley
2012 Rank: 36

Assistant Navy Secretary, Research, Development & Acquisition
In five years as the Navy’s top weapons buyer, Stackley has dramatically quieted the once turbulent world of shipbuilding and aviation programs. Program costs have been dropping, a key to getting more for each available shipbuilding dollar, while performance problems have been dropping. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a Naval Academy graduate — Class of 1979 — with two master’s degrees from MIT. His methodical approach to problem solving combined with his steady engagement with lawmakers and industry has made him one of the Pentagon’s most trusted and respected acquisition officials. So much so, Stackley’s name was widely circulated as a possible replacement for acquisition chief should Kendall (No. 18) be tapped to fleet up to deputy secretary. Even the Navy’s strongest critic, the Government Accountability Office, spends more time talking about pre-Stackley performance problems rather than new issues. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a full plate of challenges, among them, improving capabilities of the littoral combat ship and how to afford a new ballistic missile sub and joint strike fighter without gutting other priority shipbuilding efforts.

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