Think, Execute, Improve

Think, Execute, Improve

For the Hon. Frank Kendall, there is no magic called ‘acquisition reform.’ His objective is ‘acquisition improvement,’ and it starts with hard work and critical thinking about Better Buying Power. by Mr. Steve Stark The Hon. Frank Kendall isn’t especially fond of the term “acquisition reform.” He thinks it “conveys the impression there’s some dramatic shift that’s going to make things fundamentally different. I don’t think there’s any such thing.” Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (USD(AT&L)), vastly prefers “acquisition improvement,” he said during an Aug. 16 interview with Army AL&T following his keynote address at the third U.S. Army Innovation Summit, at the College of William […]

Advocate for Innovation

Advocate for Innovation

Ordered to attend the yearlong resident course at CGSC, an acquisition officer thought his career advancement was totally derailed. Instead, the course was life-altering, providing unexpected insight—and a determination to change the status quo in acquisition. by Maj. Andrew Miller My first reaction, when I saw that I’d been selected to attend the yearlong resident course of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) in 2015-16, was that it made absolutely no sense to send me. I was one month into my first acquisition assignment and would have to leave my project office after a year. Additionally, I was living on Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and could have attended […]

DoD, users, industry collaborate on PNT technology development

DoD, users, industry collaborate on PNT technology development

Caitlin O’Neill, PM PNT ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (September 22, 2016) — Charged with delivering next-generation positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) technologies, the Direct Reporting Program Manager Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PM PNT) has taken the lead in providing interoperable and secure PNT services to the Army. In order to support Soldiers in the field, PM PNT needs to understand their PNT environment, including factors such as disruptions in service, system requirements, capability needs, logistical use and others. Through partnership and collaboration with system users, other Department of Defense (DoD) Services, and industry partners, PM PNT uses a whole community approach in developing trusted PNT technologies that ensure the warfighter’s […]

Not quite reform, but it works

Not quite reform, but it works

Integration, both a process and a mindset, holds the key to addressing a range of threats to the U.S., from the near-peer to the low-tech. by Dr. Richard Nabors and Mr. Nathan Burkholder In the past century, the U.S. military met the developing threats of modern warfare with solutions such as increasing mechanization, nuclear arms and precision-guided missiles, using a deliberate, intentional acquisition process. This process involved highly focused programs typically decades long and often executed by a single large defense contractor. These programs began several years after the establishment of requirements and could take 10 to 15 years of development before implementation. However, today’s dynamic and rapidly changing technological […]

Competition Meets Collaboration

Competition Meets Collaboration

Vendors share prototypes for weapon sights in a new mix-and-match approach to building interoperability into integrated Soldier systems for the best overall performance at the best overall price. by Maj. Nicholas Breen On a warm, dusty afternoon at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico, in May 2016, engineers from two competing vendors for the Family of Weapons Sights – Individual (FWS-I) program took the unusual step of swapping their prototypes and discussing the technical merits of each other’s approach to the program. This level of collaboration between competing vendors is highly unorthodox in the fiercely competitive world of defense procurement, yet it was the approach taken by BAE Systems […]

One ‘Peculiar’ Fellowship

One ‘Peculiar’ Fellowship

An Army acquisition officer assigned to a stint with Amazon sees firsthand where the consumer giant’s corporate values and those of the military merge and diverge. by Lt. Col. Steven D. Gutierrez How does it sound to hang up your military uniform, slip into something more casual, challenge convention and maybe even take your dog to work, all while immersing yourself in one of the world’s leading technology and innovation companies? That may sound too peculiar to be possible, but “peculiar” is exactly how Amazon.com Inc. likes to think of itself. The Amazon Military Talent Partnership group runs a portfolio of military fellowship programs to provide just that kind of […]

Interservice Integration

Interservice Integration

Construction contracting in Qatar provides a user-level view of acquisition reform, its possibilities and its challenges. by Maj. Michael J. Carroll and Capt. Sarah Lark Acquisition reform generally happens at echelons above reality for most of the Defense Acquisition Workforce. Successful reform is evident only when it begins to take root at levels below the contracting support brigade or below wing-level contracting. One of the most effective of these initiatives is the use of contracting vehicles to support multiple service component contracting offices. This integration can provide quick wins in terms of manpower and cost reduction. However, the process is not as straightforward or as simple as it might seem. […]

Faces of the Force: Barbara Whitney

Faces of the Force: Barbara Whitney

COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center (HNC) TITLE: Contract specialist YEARS IN THE WORKFORCE: 4 YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE: 21 DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level I in contracting (expected December 2016) EDUCATION: B.S. in liberal studies with a concentration in acquisition and contract management, Athens State University; A.S. in child development, Copiah Lincoln Community College AWARDS: Headquarters U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deputy Commander’s Coin (2); HNC Commander’s Coin (2); HNC Commander’s Certificate of Achievement (2); Army Commendation Medal (2); Army Achievement Medal (6); Army Good Conduct Medal (5)   ‘What I have been called to do’ By Susan L. Follett Although she’s a relative newcomer to Army acquisition with just […]

GROUND TRUTH

GROUND TRUTH

Piggybacks and workarounds: The Acquisition Lessons Learned Portal contains a wealth of information on new ways to use existing processes to get weapons to warfighters in less time. by Ms. Amanda Nappi The acquisition process can be a long and laborious journey for acquisition personnel and stakeholders involved in the development of a weapon system. With a plethora of required documentation, milestone requirements and validations needed from oversight councils, bureaucracy is slowing our ability to rapidly provide the warfighter with innovative weapon solutions. In addition to slowing our support to the warfighter, the lengthy process is costly to taxpayers and could cause our country to be overtaken by a more […]

Lab showcases futuristic resupply vehicle

Lab showcases futuristic resupply vehicle

By David McNally, ARL Public Affairs ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The commanding general of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command met with Army Research Laboratory officials Sept. 8, 2016, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Acting ARL Director Dr. Philip Perconti briefed Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins about the lab’s science and technology initiatives on the general’s first visit since assuming command of RDECOM Aug. 9. Researchers and engineers showcased the Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle, or JTARV. The rectangular-shaped quadcopter, also known as the hoverbike, has generated a lot of interest since Army researchers imagined a distant future where Soldiers order resupply and an unmanned aerial vehicle […]