Executive Mosaic is proud to recognize William LaPlante, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, as a winner of the 2023 Wash100 Award. This marks the second consecutive time William LaPlante has been selected to the annual Wash100 list of highly esteemed leaders who influence and shape the government contracting narrative.
LaPlante took his oath of office in April 2022 as the top Department of Defense civilian official over U.S. military programs on acquisition, the defense industrial base and contract administration.
In fiscal year 2022, DOD invested $6.3 billion in the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and established an extensive partnership with the defense industry to replenish the U.S. weapons stockpile.
“As we work to mitigate supply chain constraints and speed up production lines by getting contracting underway, we have also asked the industry to present options for new systems that can meet strategic objectives,” LaPlante told reporters at a May 6 press briefing.
In September, the department awarded 19 grants worth $90 million combined under the Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program and another six grants totaling $30 million through the Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program.
LaPlante said at the time DOD’s collaboration with public sector organizations, companies and academic institutions is part of the government’s whole-of-nation approach to strengthen the domestic manufacturing ecosystem.
To mark Manufacturing Month, he delivered a speech in October from the Pentagon and recognized the role domestic companies are playing to secure critical supply chains.
“As an engine of economic growth, American manufacturers contribute more than $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy — every dollar spent in manufacturing results in an additional $2.79 added to the economy, making it the highest multiplier effect of any sector,” LaPlante remarked.
For the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, production is a key enabler of deterrence efforts and called for urgency in getting capabilities such as hypersonics technology into the hands of the warfighter.
“We’ve never been in production in hypersonics in this country ever. Hypersonics has been in the science and technology world for 60 years, whereas the Russians and Chinese are in production. So I’m going to be tuning out when you talk about doing a test. When you go into production, I’m going to start paying attention,” LaPlante said at the Potomac Officers Club’s Defense Technology Summit: FY2023 Budget and Priorities.
He served as assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics at the U.S. Air Force from 2014 to 2017 and returned to public service from Draper, which he previously led as president and CEO.
His experience outside the government also included time as senior vice president and general manager at Mitre’s national security organization and a 26-year career at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
Executive Mosaic congratulates William LaPlante and the DOD team for their selection to receive the 2023 Wash100 Award. Visit the official award site to vote for LaPlante and your other favorite Wash100 winners as part of this year’s Popular Vote competition.