Like many U.S. companies, the Department of Defense (DoD) invests in leadership development. The DoD recognizes equal benefits and has instituted various programs to enable it. However, not every DoD organization invests in leadership development the same way. The ones that do think more deeply about their future have thoughtful and effective leadership development programs that combine training, practice, and cultivation—all intended to professionally nurture future leaders. DoD organizations that have more defined hierarchical leadership structures such as mid-level managers (MLMs), senior-level managers (SLMs), senior-level leaders (SLLs), or equivalent offer a gateway to learn more about what leadership qualities matter to them. At the Defense Acquisition University, 37 MLMs, and 32 SLMs provided valuable insights in their survey responses. No SLLs participated in this study.
Authors: Col Robert L. Tremaine, USAF (Ret.), and Donna J. Kinnear-Seligman
Managing an acquisition program in the DoD is a complicated process. The turbulence created by funding instability can make it even more difficult. Nonetheless, to help program offices maintain their overall funding execution pace, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) instituted Obligation and Expenditure rate goals over two decades ago. For numerous reasons, acquisition program managers have found it difficult to meet established Obligation and Expenditure rate goals. For purposes of this article, and based on Defense Acquisition University and OSD subject matter expertise, the authors looked more closely at the potential causal factors that could be interfering with the achievement of these goals.
Several months ago, Dr. Nancy Spruill, director of Acquisition Resources and Analysis, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (OUSD (AT&L)), solicited support from the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) to help uncover the causal factors that could be interfering with attainment of the Obligation and Expenditure rate goals of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).
Authors: Col Robert L. Tremaine, USAF (Ret.) and Donna J. Seligman
The success of the Defense Acquisition Workforce depends on experience, and since the majority of what it learns is on-the-job, a wide array of learning techniques dominates. Together, they behave as a learning ecosystem full of opportunities—and even learning hazards. While all these learning techniques jockey for the fastest learning lane amid variable workplace demands, proven learning methodologies help form the foundation of an organization’s learning faith. Many organizations already promote learning in the workplace. But, what have Department of Defense acquisition organizations that operate as Learning Organizations (LOs) implemented to achieve performance gains? The authors of this research sought out such organizations to better understand the key ingredients that make them authentically high-performing and appropriately armed LOs.
In any business, trade, or profession, experience matters. Not surprisingly, the public tends to look at experience as a necessity when personal safety is paramount. Professions like the medical, transportation, and construction industries all rely heavily on experience. They take considerable time to qualify their respective corps through various experience incubators like internships, fellowships, apprentices, etc.—all on the job. They learn by “doing.” Without “doing,” these personnel may face challenges later they cannot easily overcome when “know-how” matters the most. The defense acquisition profession is no different. Experience has always been a vital constituent component. This article addresses the experience catalysts that matter most to the Defense Acquisition Workforce.