For Immediate Release: June 6, 2013
By Katherine H. Crawford, Office of Naval Research
ARLINGTON, Va.—The Office of Naval Research(ONR) today announced a new executive director for acquisition management, whose objective is to manage the thousands of grants, contracts and other transactions ONR has with research institutions and industry around the world in the constant pursuit of innovation.
ONR tapped Rick ONeil, recently elevated to the Senior Executive Service, to manage its Acquisition Department. This post will build upon his more than 24 years of experience in overseeing contracts, contracting offices and large acquisition portfolios for various branches of the government.
“The extensive acquisition expertise Rick brings from his previous role as the director of contracts within the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office [NRO] is critical and will greatly benefit ONR,” said ONR Executive Director Dr. Walter Jones. “I look forward to his leadership and innovation as ONR strives to more rapidly deliver its science and technology to our fleet/forces for maintaining our U.S. military superiority, especially in an environment of shrinking economic resources.”
ONeil comes to ONR at a time when the Department of Defense (DoD) is actively engaged in its Better Buying Power 2.0 strategy for implementing best practices to boost the department’s buying power and industry’s productivity to achieve more value for warfighters. He said that he views his role, and that of his staff, as striving to provide the warfighter with the most advanced and effective equipment possible, while being financially responsible.
“Sailors and Marines depend on us to provide them with the tools and support to perform their exceptionally important mission of national defense,” ONeil said. “Providing timely, effective acquisition and logistics support to the warfighter is critical to winning at sea and on the battlefield.”
To provide optimal support, ONeil believes the acquisition workforce must: leverage independent research and development from industry and other organizations; eliminate or streamline requirements where costs outweigh benefits; promote competition; understand what services are being procured, at what cost and how that cost compares to similar services provided at other organizations; and be properly trained and developed. Within his department, ONeil is committed to recruiting and retaining the best and brightest talent and mentoring younger employees.
Prior to joining ONR, he had been at NRO since 2005 in various positions of increasing responsibility. For the past two years, he was a member of a leadership team supervising five teams comprised of 20 acquisition professionals from the Navy, Air Force and CIA. His experience also includes holding various contracting officer positions with the Department of the Navy, including that of chief of the Contracting Office, Naval Sea Systems Support Office at the Washington Navy Yard.
“ONR has a reputation for being one of the best places to work in the Washington metropolitan area, and I believe that is directly attributable to its people and its mission,” ONeil said. “I believe ONR has one of the most exciting and important missions in the entire DoD. We get to shape the future almost every day by pushing the envelope and leveraging the research of our remarkable scientific and engineering communities.”
About the Office of Naval Research
The Department of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps’ technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.