Category Archives: May-June 2016

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Cybersecurity: The Road Ahead for Defense Acquisition


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Authors: Steve Mills and Steve Monks

The May-June 2014 edition on Defense AT&L magazine included an article by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall, titled “Protecting the Future,” which stressed Kendall’s concern about the United States’ ability to maintain its technological superiority.

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Losing Something In Translation Turning Requirements Into Specifications


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Charles M. Court, Ph.D.

Perhaps the reader remembers the comedy routine in which a performer orates a lyrical, emotive passage in a deep, inspiring voice—except the quotation is in some unintelligible language. Another performer asks, “What does that mean in English?” The translation is something like, “The snake fell out of the tree, onto the baby and ate him.” As audience members gasp in revulsion, they hear the punchline, “It loses something in translation.”

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Another Source of Tools and Resources for Your Programs: The DAU and PMI Agreement— a Commitment to Excellence

The Defense Acquisition University and the Project Management Institute (PMI)—a nonprofit professional membership association—established a Memorandum of Understanding as a mutual commitment to excellence in learning, research and strategic collaboration. This collaboration aims at providing the best training built upon the expertise of the private civilian sector and also the general public and government sectors. As part of the collaboration, PMI makes available for practitioners a wealth of information online. Below is a list of the content and their links for portfolio, program and project managers:

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Why Should We Care About Outsourcing?


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Author: Brian Schultz

Outsourcing: Practice used by companies to reduce costs by transferring portions of work to outside suppliers rather than completing it internally.  (Investopedia)

Outsourcing is a common practice in several industries in today’s global business environment. The concept is fairly simple. A company often will buy or outsource products and services (as depicted in Figure 1) from other companies if doing so is in its best corporate interests. In the defense industry, outsourced work has trended upward and can be as much as 70 percent or even 80 percent of the total work content.


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2015 David Packard Award and Should Cost and Innovation Award

David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award

The David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award was established to recognize organizations, groups and teams that have demonstrated exemplary innovation using best acquisition practices that achieve acquisition excellence in the Department of Defense (DoD). It is the DoD’s highest acquisition team award and was first awarded in 1997 in honor of David Packard, a former Deputy Secretary of Defense during the Nixon administration. Mr. Packard also was the co-founder and chairman of the Hewlett-Packard Co. and chairman of the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management chartered by Ronald Reagan in 1985. He founded the Defense Systems Management College in 1971 and was a strong advocate of excellence in the defense acquisition practices.

The David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award recognizes teams that have demonstrated superior program management and accomplishment in the successful execution of one or more of the Better Buying Power efficiencies and associated initiatives. The principles of acquisition excellence and exemplary innovation using the best acquisition practices remain fundamental to the Packard Award.

Three teams received David Packard Excellence in Acquisition awards, presented at a Feb. 19, 2016, Pentagon ceremony hosted by the Honorable Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense.
The Should Cost and Innovation Award, sponsored by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD[AT&L]), recognizes organizations, groups or teams that have displayed outstanding commitment, innovation and results from should cost management. The concept of should cost management is fundamental to proactive cost control throughout the acquisition life cycle. This initiative requires the active management of cost, starting with the deep understanding of cost structures, followed by identifying specific goals for cost reduction (should cost goals), and the efforts to achieve those cost reductions. Should cost is a core and enduring Better Buying Power initiative, and most programs and contracted activities in DoD now have should cost targets and are managing to them. Two teams received the DoD’s Should-Cost and Innovation Award on Feb. 19.

2015 David Packard Award Winners

“Our 2015 Packard Award recipients have done some pretty amazing things,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said, and described the teams’ achievements.

  • The Space-Based Infrared System Geostationary Earth Orbit 5/6 team saved more than $1 billion in purchasing and modernizing satellites that are critical to U.S. protection from strategic and theater ballistic missile threats.
  • The Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar team replaced five legacy radar systems with a single solution that better protects Marines in the field, while saving more than $334 million.
    And the Joint Program Office’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicles team is delivering tactical vehicles strong enough to meet the Army’s protection requirements and the Marine Corps’ mobility requirements.

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The Space-Based Infrared System Geostationary Earth Orbit 5/6 team: From the left, Darlene Costello, Acting Principal Deputy, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition); the Honorable Frank Kendall (USD[AT&L]); Lt Col Christian G. Elenbaum; Col Fred G. Kennedy, III; Ms. Doreen Grosvirt-Dramen; Maj Peter M. Volpe; Mr. Ibrahim K. Awwad; Mr. Alexander Walter

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The Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar team: From the left, Mr. William Taylor, Program Executive Officer (Land Systems); the Honorable Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition); Mr. Kendall; Mr. John F. Karlovich; CWO5 William A. Kelly, Jr.; Ms. Christine M. Kuney; Ms. Maya R. Jackson; Mr. James A. McGregor

atl-may16-awards-3The Joint Program Office’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicles team: From the left, Mr. Stackley; Mr. Taylor; the Honorable Katharina McFarland, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology); Mr. Kendall; Col Shane Fullmer; Mr. Scott Davis, Program Executive Officer (Combat Support and Combat Service Support); Mr. Andrew Rodgers; MAJ Jonathan Bodenhamer; Mr. Scott Doudna

2015 Should Cost and Innovation Award Winners

Mr. Carter also recognized the two recipients of the Should-Cost and Innovation Award.
“Should cost is a term I coined with [Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank [Kendall] … as a way of highlighting the importance for all program managers—on the government and industry teams—to understand thoroughly every single item and … to make sure they know what each part should cost,” the secretary explained.

By doing so, he added, the two 2015 Should-Cost Award recipients have saved a tremendous amount of money for the taxpayer.

The Air Force Materiel Command’s Armament Directorate saved $694 million while equipping U.S. warfighters with war-winning airpower capabilities, Mr. Carter said.

“They’ve fostered a culture for a 1,800-person organization in which an innovative idea from one program can now be immediately shared and replicated across 83 other programs,” he added.

The E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office built a software platform in its spare time to manage should-cost initiatives for products that extend the Navy’s eyes, ears and logistics capabilities.

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The Air Force Materiel Command’s Armament Directorate: From the left, Ms. Costello; Mr. Kendall; Brig Gen Shaun Morris; Ms. Angela Hager; Mr. Jonathan Pinto; Mr. Joe Allison; Mr. Darin Huler

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The E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office: From the left, Mr. Stackley; Mr. Chris Frayser; Mr. Kendall; CDR Ken Grzymalski; Mr. Stephen Munley; Mr. Clint Osborne