“From Workforce to Warfighter” describes the end-to-end process of developing our nation’s defense capabilities. It begins long before a user requirement is ever written—in the hiring, training, and retention of our Defense Acquisition Workforce. It continues long after a system or service is produced—in the hands and mind of the warfighter downrange.
Authors: Nick Bontis, Chris Hardy, and John R. Mattox
The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) is an integral component in the career of every Defense Acquisition Workforce member, from the time they enroll in their first DAU course until they retire. One of the many keys to DAU’s success is its ability to measure the effectiveness of its training programs, monitor performance, and improve its curriculum. To this end, the authors conducted a data mining exercise within the training evaluation data to determine the key drivers of its success. This article explains the methodological approach used (structural equation modeling) as well as the results, recommended actions, and outcomes. Within the DAU learning enterprise, more than 326,000 training events were evaluated during 19 months between January 1, 2008, and July 30, 2009. Results indicate that DAU’s learning enterprise positively influences job impact and business results.
Commonly accepted economic theory suggests that workers are rational actors and make decisions that will maximize expected outcomes. As such, managers should be able to influence behaviors to meet business goals by manipulating the expectations of outcomes. Conversely, social science practitioners suggest that workers often make decisions that are irrational. Knowledge workers are a growing sector of the workforce and are the backbone for entire federal agencies. The acquisition community falls within this category. Identifying factors that influence the performance of knowledge workers may be critical to maintaining high levels of organizational performance. This research focused on identifying the factors that encourage knowledge workers to maintain high levels of performance.
Most government and industry leaders involved with Department of Defense acquisition programs emphasize the importance of requirements and cost stability. However, despite all the stated support for program element stability and acquisition reform, frequent changes are experienced in acquisition programs that affect the final end product in terms of changes to unit design, number of units procured, system and subsystem capability, as well as affecting the overall cost of the program. This study analyzes the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18A model to identify requirements changes; discern the reasons for change and the impact the resultant change made on the program (funding, schedule, capacity, etc.); and develop recommendations for limiting requirements creep, instability, and cost growth in future programs.
The integrated master plan (IMP) provides a better structure than either the work breakdown structure (WBS) or organizational breakdown structure for measuring actual integrated master schedule (IMS) progress. The author posits that improved understanding of schedule performance and better identification of program risks result when an IMP structure is evaluated in addition to the earned value management-mandated IMS WBS structure. The article examines how the “Hit-Miss” index, baseline execution index, and critical path length index (CPLI) were used to evaluate the life-cycle performance of a 12-month, 900-task IMP program event. CPLI, the author concludes, is subject to interpretation and must be evaluated against four caveats: duration remaining, total float including schedule margin, schedule compression, and schedule avoidance.
Authors: Dennis Duke, Dana E. Sims, and James Pharmer
Today’s warfighter performs more complex, cognitively demanding tasks than ever before. Despite the need for more extensive training to perform these tasks, acquisition professionals are often tasked to reduce training budgets and identify optimal tradeoffs. Tools are available to help them make these decisions that provide empirical evidence of how performance and mission requirements will be affected by design decisions. This article offers insights into the utility of implementing a Workload Task Analysis (WLTA) early in weapon systems acquisition for the purpose of focusing on training system decisions, and provides a description of where WLTA occurs within the top-down functional analysis process. It concludes with several examples of how the WLTA results can be used to guide training development.