William LaPlante, assistant secretary of the U.S. Air Force Credit: DoD

The U.S. Senate confirmed William LaPlante Feb. 12 as the first U.S. Air Force assistant secretary for acquisition in nearly four years.

LaPlante had worked as principal deputy, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition. He previously held positions at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., as the department head for the University’s Global Engagement Department. He also served as the Missile Defense Portfolio director at MITRE Corp.

In answers to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee submitted in advance, LaPlante had few opportunities to weigh in on space programs, but did say that be believed the “initial production of satellites is a situation where cost-type contracting is often appropriate,” he wrote. “Often in this situation, the LRIP (low rate initial production) number is so low that the initial production space vehicles may begin production prior to the LRIP space vehicles completing final integration testing.”

Sue Payton was the previous assistant secretary for acquisition. She left the position in April 2009.