Tag Archives: March 2013

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Defense AT&L: March – April 2013


To print a PDF copy of this issue, click here.


To print a PDF copy of this issue, click here.

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The Climate/Team Effectiveness Survey Another ‘Tool’ for the Program Management Office Team


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Authors: Capt. Fred Hepler, USN, Mike Kotzian, and Duane Mallicoat

The challenges facing an acquisition Program Management Office (PMO) team are endless. With the charge to navigate an acquisition process that typically has innumerable moving parts at any one time—and all with a very thin margin of error in terms of meeting cost, schedule, performance, and affordability goals—every PMO team must be effective and adaptable across all phases of the acquisition process. Adding to this complexity is the PMO team’s need to interface and coordinate with various key stakeholders and, potentially, some geographically dispersed organizational supporting sites.

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Competitive Prototyping A PMO Perspective


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Authors: Capt. Paul Overstreet, USN, Bradley Bates, and Duane Mallicoat

A common theme within today’s Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition community is the importance of competition in reducing technical and cost risks, and in ensuring that a program’s technology solution is mature enough based on where the program is located within the acquisition framework. To emphasize how foundational the concept of competition is in today’s acquisition environment, a program’s ability to “promote real competition” is one of the five major areas comprising DoD’s Better Buying Power initiative identified to improve organizational and program efficiencies.

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Big ‘A’ Systems Architecture From Strategy to Design: Systems Architecting in DoD


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Author: Chris Robinson

As a Systems Engineering instructor at DAU, I have engaged in a number of discussions and debates, both in and out of the classroom, on architecture in systems acquisition. Over time, I began to see there was a real lack of consensus about the importance of architecture, how it fits in to the Defense Acquisition System (DAS), and how it relates to system engineering.

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Delivering Military Software Affordably


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Authors: Christian Hagen and Jeff Sorenson

Much of the weaponry now used by the U.S. military—advanced warplanes, drones, smart bombs, autonomous vehicles—is driven by software. In the future, the capacity of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the military commands to defend our country will depend more on their ability to develop the best software rather than on the physical design chosen for the weapons. Like it or not, the DoD now is in the software business.

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‘Technical Debt’ in the Code The Cost to Software Planning


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Author: Don O’Neill

It is time that “Technical Debt” assessment and measurement be recognized in defense acquisition and procurement and that its anticipation, avoidance, and elimination be incentivized. Accomplishing this is essential to the sustainability of the defense software industry. Technical Debt enthusiasts are themselves in technical debt regarding its definition. It is time to put a finer edge on this definition and update it. The early, archaic, and somewhat awkward definition, introduced by Ward Cunningham in 1992, is, “Not quite right code which we postpone making right.”

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Striving for the Optimal Program Structure


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Author: Patrick M. McGinn

The July-August 2012 issue of Defense AT&L published an article by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall titled “The Optimal Program Structure.” The genesis of Kendall’s article was a question concerning the same topic he had fielded from a student during a question-and-answer session with one of the classes at the Defense Acquisition University. His thesis was grounded in his discussions with the acquisition workforce about Better Buying Power initiatives throughout the preceding year.

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Sustainable Acquisition


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Author: Elizabeth Pickering

The Department of Defense (DoD) has the continuous mandate to provide national security by supporting the war-fighter’s mission success and providing the forces necessary to prevent war. To accomplish this mission, the DoD requires several essential resources, including energy, land, air, and water. Changes caused by the post-Cold War international power structure and shifting global economies have increased the competition for these resources worldwide. This global competition has increased their value exponentially. To ensure these resources are readily available, the DoD has focused more attention on sustainability.

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Heads I’m Right, Tails It Was Chance The Strange Case of Irrationality in Program Risk Management


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Author: Lt. Col. Christopher W. Parry, USAF

There’s a difference between having lung cancer (an issue) and living in a way that increases the probability of contracting lung cancer (risk). The former requires treatment, the later requires actions to lower the probability. Some of these mitigations are exercising, increasing intake of healthy food, or quitting smoking. However, we all know people who smoke, don’t exercise, or consistently eat one too many desserts despite knowing the risks. Irrational? Yes. Explainable? Largely.

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On the Job With Emotional Intelligence


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Author: Stan Emelander

“The leader’s fundamental act is to induce people to be aware or conscious of what they feel—to feel their true needs so strongly, to define their values so meaningfully, that they can be moved to purposeful action.”
—James MacGregor Burns, Leadership

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