Karla Smith Jackson
Senior Procurement Executive, Deputy Chief Acquisition Officer and Assistant Administrator for Procurement, NASA
Karla Smith Jackson is a seasoned acquisition professional with over 30 years of extensive experience. Overseeing procurement at NASA, she provides senior executive leadership and oversight of all procurement functions, policy and initiatives to an acquisition workforce of over 4,000.
Smith Jackson also serves on the Federal Acquisition Institute board of directors and on the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council. She is one of only three signatory authorities who can execute procurement policies and procedures on behalf of the U.S. federal government. Additionally, she represents NASA’s enterprise procurement organization across government, industry and international organizations.
Before joining NASA, Smith Jackson was acting director for acquisition at the Missile Defense Agency, where she oversaw all aspects of acquisition, contract planning and management. Later, she was director of contracts at MDA, responsible for all agency contracting actions.
Smith Jackson is a veteran in the federal contracting space. She began her federal career in 1991 as an acquisition management intern at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, formerly the Defense Nuclear Agency, and has been involved ever since.
NASA is also launching an Acquisition Innovation Lab in an effort to expand and improve the program. She told Federal News Network, “What we’re looking to do is create a safe place for us to experiment with ways to reduce cycle time and ways to be more cost effective.”