No One Would Be More Proud

By January 12, 2017September 1st, 2018Acquisition, Army ALT Magazine
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The namesake of the Major General Harold J. “Harry” Greene Awards for Acquisition Writing cherished the talent, creativity and expertise of the defense acquisition workforce.

by Lt. Gen. Michael E. Williamson

The Major General Harold J. “Harry” Greene Awards for Acquisition Writing showcase the tremendous talent, creativity and expertise within the defense acquisition workforce and throughout the larger community of stakeholders with whom we work. Designed to influence the public dialogue about Army acquisition through critical thinking and writing, the thoughtful and insightful articles, essays and opinion pieces that were submitted have been instrumental in shaping our message and driving the discussion, both internally to the Army and DOD and externally to our many audiences.

No one would be more proud of the competition’s success than Maj. Gen. Greene. He was an inspirational leader and a scholar who loved the acquisition profession and the Soldiers we serve. I recall vividly his daily walkabout when, in a loud and boisterous voice, he’d ask, “What have you done for the Army today?”

This was an opportunity for members of the workforce to discuss what was happening in their programs or, at times, in their lives, and get his advice and counsel. It was also an opportunity to discuss the latest news about the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots or the Boston Bruins, his favorite sports teams.

In 2012, upon his assumption of duties as the deputy for acquisition and systems management in the Pentagon, he wrote a letter to the workforce that is as relevant today as it was then. “Our challenge is to prepare for the future,” Harry wrote. “We support the current fight, but can’t let the day-to-day challenges prevent us from looking down the road.” He instructed his professionals to act “as leaders, not as managers,” and to “make the hard calls, as the Army expects of us.” Characteristically, Harry wrote, “I love my job. You must have passion to do this business right. Stay positive. Things are never as bad as they seem.”

We miss the comfort of Harry’s leadership and guidance. His loss on Aug. 5, 2014, while serving as the deputy commanding general of the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, is still painful. These awards help us to honor Harry’s 34 years of distinguished service and his ultimate sacrifice. Through them, we also remember that his contributions to Army acquisition and our acquisition professionals will be everlasting.

This special supplement of Army AL&T magazine includes the 2016 winning authors and those who received honorable mentions in four categories: Acquisition Reform/Better Buying Power; Future Operations; Innovation; and Lessons Learned. Let me extend my sincere thanks to all who have participated in this annual competition, and to their families and teammates who supported them in their writings. I also want to thank our outstanding judges for their expertise, time and energy in making this third competition successful. My congratulations to all.

The winners and honorable mentions are:

Category: Acquisition Reform/Better Buying Power
Mr. David M. Riel

Mr. David M. Riel

Winner: User Requirements: An Enduring Conversation

Author: Mr. David M. Riel is professor of acquisition management for Defense Acquisition University’s (DAU) Midwest Region, teaching and consulting in the areas of program management and production, quality and manufacturing. After a 20-year U.S. Air Force career and several years working in the defense industry, Riel is part of the DAU team providing mission assistance to program offices and teaching the next generation of DOD acquisition professionals the ins and outs of defense acquisition.

Abstract: As the design for a weapon system matures, an enduring conversation needs to take place between the acquirer and the warfighter, carefully explaining the producibility, maintainability, reliability and subsequent cost impacts of each additional mile of range, or mile per hour of speed desired. In short, the conversation needs to take change from “Can this be done?” to “At what additional cost can this be done?” Policy changes introduced by the January 2015 update to DoDI 5000.02, Operation of the Defense Acquisition System, and the Better Buying Power initiatives have created a pathway to this meaningful, continuous dialogue, but it will take culture change and relationship building between the acquisition and user communities to make the conversation enduring. While policy and methodology for top-level affordability are being institutionalized via such initiatives as Configuration Steering Boards and the U.S. Air Force’s “Bending the Cost Curve,” small, incremental affordability tradeoff decisions throughout the detailed design phase need to be consistently and persistently pursued. The opportunity management process as defined in the June 2105 DOD Risk, Issue and Opportunity Management Guide for Defense Acquisition Programs can be expanded to include Requirements Tradeoffs Opportunity Management Reviews, where requirement tradeoffs are further characterized and tracked. These Requirements Tradeoffs Opportunity Management Reviews should become integral in driving an affordability culture for defense acquisitions.

Honorable Mention: How Important is Getting It Right the First Time? A Case in Applying Agile Acquisition Management

Mr. Joe Novick

Mr. Joe Novick

Author: Mr. Joe Novick is the product manager for the Next Generation Personnel Decontamination System and the deputy product manager for the Joint Expeditionary Collective Protection Program in the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Virginia. He is Level III certified in program management and systems engineering.

Abstract: How important is getting it right the first time? For systems where evolutionary improvements and modernization are not logistically or economically feasible, like a new satellite or a Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine, “getting it right” may be paramount. But in many DOD systems, program managers and stakeholders should instead ask: How right does it need to be the first time? As warfare environments and adversaries change, the definition of “getting it right” changes, too. Additionally, human nature is not about perfection; our society thrives on lessons learned. In acquisition, we spend far too much time and resources focusing on absolutely meeting all requirements in our capability documents. We should be coordinating more closely with the user community throughout the acquisition process to focus on meeting the most critical requirements and making key tradeoffs that can be addressed after production. Additionally, as programs progress, the priorities of requirements may change based on performance data, intelligence information and threat information.

Category: Future Operations
Maj. Hassan M. Kamara

Maj. Hassan M. Kamara

Winner: Future Conflict: Adapting Better and Faster than an Adversary

Author: Maj. Hassan M. Kamara is an assistant product manager assigned to the Lower Tier Project Office in the Program Executive Office (PEO) for Missiles and Space. He has served on the U.S. Forces Korea Joint Staff (J-3), and prior to that he commanded a Stryker infantry company at Fort Bliss, Texas, and an armor company in Iraq. He holds a B.A. in political science from Arizona State University and an M.A. in security studies and a certificate in defense procurement and contracting from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Kamara is also an honor graduate of the U.S. Naval War College Command and Staff Course.

Abstract: The problem of wartime adaptation has been an enduring challenge for militaries. The U.S. Army cannot predict future wars with certainty, so it should ensure that it can rapidly adapt to the changing realities—such as technological surprise—that are inherent in war. Moreover, as the potential for U.S. involvement in future conflicts with a major power grows, the following question emerges: How can the U.S. Army technologically adapt better and faster than a peer or near-peer adversary in a future conflict? This paper analyzes the process of wartime adaptation to highlight how the Army can adapt faster than a peer or near-peer adversary in a future conflict.

Lt. Col. James Howell

Lt. Col. James Howell

Honorable Mention: Expeditionary Situational Awareness at the Tip of the Spear, Preparing for Future Operations Through Innovation

Author: Lt. Col. James Howell is an acquisition officer assigned to the Pentagon as a Department of the Army System Coordinator (DASC) for Defensive Cyber and the Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit Program. Previously, he served as the DASC for the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical Increment 1. He also served with the 82nd Signal Battalion, the Red Devils, the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division supporting numerous exercises and missions in Baghdad and Tikrit.

Abstract: Sun Tzu, a Chinese general, military strategist and philosopher, presented a profound principle more than 2,500 years ago, describing the power and importance of information dominance prior to and during combat operations. In “The Art of War,” he wrote, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” In essence, information is power and overmatch. To support this level of understanding, U.S. forces require the most advanced mission command, communications and situational awareness processes and capabilities available as we meet with and engage our nation’s enemies. Today’s mission command network technologies are helping to provide this level of understanding.

Category: Innovation

Winner: Culture: The Foundation of Innovation

Maj. Andrew Miller

Maj. Andrew Miller

Author: Maj. Andrew Miller, a basic branch infantry officer, is the Nett Warrior Fielding and Training assistant product manager in Project Manager Soldier Warrior within PEO Soldier.

Abstract: Innovation is a strategic priority for the Army acquisition community. Unfortunately, our attempts to innovate are hampered by an incorrect understanding of the nature of innovation. On the whole, we tend to associate innovation with technology. Instead, we should focus our efforts to innovate on organizational culture. Culture is the foundation of innovation and is a prerequisite of incorporating technology. Armed with a culture of innovation, our organizations will break free from the status quo and position themselves to develop and integrate technology. Unfortunately, innovative cultures take effort to create and even more to maintain. Four key actions, which, if coordinated, generally lead to success: empower, vigorously evaluate assumptions, prioritize product over process, and advocate.

Honorable Mention: Inspiring Innovation by Changing My Vantage Point on the Battlefield

Lt. Col. Rachael Hoagland

Lt. Col. Rachael Hoagland

Author: Lt. Col. Rachael Hoagland is currently a Training with Industry (TWI) fellow at She has held assistant project management jobs in the U.S. Special Operations Command and Project Manager Tactical Radios within PEO Command, Control and Communications – Tactical. Prior to entering the Acquisition Corps, she taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and held several roles as a military intelligence officer.

Abstract: Changing one’s vantage point on the battlefield can provide a competitive advantage over an adversary by providing a unique view on how the enemy is organized, what weapon systems it is using and what decisions it might make. As an active-duty Army acquisition officer working at in the TWI program for the year, I am changing my vantage point on the battlefield. This experience is helping me gain a competitive advantage on how to stimulate innovation for the future of the Army. Amazon’s agile project management style saves time by giving teams the ability to make decisions in the moment. Eliminating management control allows teams to shift project focus and priorities as needed. To move fast, you must empower your people to make decisions; to ensure that they make the right decisions, you need to put in place a set of core values that everyone internalizes, and reinforce those values in all your training so the right decision at the right time becomes the norm.

Category: Lessons Learned

Winner: Robots and Deal Makers: ­Lessons Learned from an Acquisition ­Officer Serving as a Legislative Liaison

Lt. Col. Patrick “Josh” Baker

Lt. Col. Patrick “Josh” Baker

Author: Lt. Col. Patrick “Josh” Baker is an Army Acquisition Corps member, and is Level III certified in program management. He holds an MBA in systems acquisition management from the Naval Postgraduate School. He served 2 1/2 years as the Army aviation programs legislative liaison in the Office of the Chief Legislative Liaison. He is currently serving as a TWI fellow at General Dynamics.

Abstract: Engaging members of Congress and their staffs can be an intimidating and mysterious venture. Acquisition professionals must choose how they approach Capitol Hill: as a robot or a deal maker. The paper offers practical recommendations that can produce successful results for acquisition professionals as they interact with Congress. The goal is for acquisition professionals to leverage their ability to manage trade space, negotiations and emotional intellect to be a deal maker who emboldens programs.

Honorable Mention: A BIT* of Advice *Built-In Test
Author: Lt. Col. Steven Van Riper and contributing authors Mr. Jim Griffin and Mr. Eugene Buckner. Van Riper is the program director for an Acquisition Category II program within Special Operations Forces acquisition, technology and logistics; Griffin is the deputy program director; and Buckner is the senior systems engineer in the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Program Executive Office Rotary Wing.

Abstract: Reliance on built-in test (BIT) to monitor system performance is now commonplace in all categories of systems. BIT augments human monitoring of systems, performing automated and directed diagnostics and prognostics. BIT planning, development, testing and final implementation are evaluated as critical operational issues influencing overall system suitability and effectiveness. Differentiation between informational or actionable BIT, early activation of BIT functionality and BIT customization can mitigate common risks associated with system-level BIT management.

Major General Harold J. “Harry” Greene Awards for Acquisition Writing Distinguished Judges


  • Maj. Gen. Robert E. Armbruster Jr. (USA, Ret.), Defense Acquisition University (DAU) faculty member and former commander, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC)
  • Maj. Gen. Charles A. Cartwright (USA, Ret.), DAU faculty member and former program manager, Future Combat Systems
  • Professor John T. Dillard, academic area chair for acquisition, Graduate School of Business and Public Policy, Naval Postgraduate School
  • Professor Raymond D. Jones, Graduate School of Business and Public Policy, Naval Postgraduate School
  • Ms. Mary Miller, then deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology
  • Maj. Gen. Roger A. Nadeau (USA, Ret.), senior vice president, American Business Development Group, and former commanding general (CG), ATEC
  • Col. Kurt A. McNeely (USA, Ret.), chief, Warfighter Central, Enterprise and Systems Integration Center, U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center
  • Mr. Kris Osborn, managing editor, Scout Warrior
  • Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard (USA, Ret.), vice president, Defense Programs, Allison Transmission
  • Lt. Gen. Richard G. Trefry (USA, Ret.), Association of the United States Army (AUSA) senior fellow and former Army inspector general
  • Gen. Louis C. Wagner (USA, Ret.), AUSA senior fellow and former CG, U.S. Army Materiel Command
  • Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Yakovac (USA, Ret.), senior counselor, The Cohen Group, and former ASA(ALT) military deputy and director, Army Acquisition Corps

Related Link

2016 Major General Harold J. ‘Harry’ Greene Awards for Acquisition Writing booklet