The program manager for a particular acquisition program usually deals with the vendor through its respective program manager — not the company’s lobbyists.
Conversely, program managers work with Capitol Hill primarily through the service’s legislative liaison, as opposed to dealing directly with congressional staff.
One of the purposes of the forum was to better elucidate those lines of communication, Bahnmaier said.
“We want to teach the integrity of the system, that there is a process we have to follow,” he said. “And if you don’t follow that process it can circumvent and undermine the budget process.”
‘A loftier goal’
Contrary to their reputations, both staffers and lobbyists have “a loftier goal than just looking out for their company or their congressman,” Bahnmaier said.
“I think most staffers are really interested in the defense of the United States and having the proper systems in place and capabilities with the Armed Forces,” he said.
Lobbyists, obviously, are interested in securing work for their clients. “But most lobbyists that I have met are also interested in national defense too, and want to make sure that their company does a good job and competes with other companies,” he said.