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Office of the Under Secretary of Defense
for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S)

2014 Awards

2014 USD(AT&L) Defense Acquisition Workforce Achievement and Development Award Winners

On December 9, 2014, at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes, the Honorable Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense, in partnership with Admiral Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, awarded the 2014 Defense Acquisition Workforce Individual Achievement and Workforce Development Awards. The Defense Acquisition Workforce is composed of devoted civilian and military professionals from the Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force, Defense Agencies, and Field Activities. With excellence, the more than 150,000 members of this prestigious workforce strive to provide great support to the warfighter and protect the taxpayer through their complex development, acquisition, and sustainment efforts.

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Individual Achievement and Workforce Development Awards highlight premiere examples of individual excellence and outstanding organizational workforce quality initiatives. Photos and accomplishments of the winners will be on display for one year in the Pentagon Defense Acquisition Workforce Wall of Recognition display.

2014 Award Program Press Release: Pentagon Leaders Honor Excellence in Acquisition, December 9, 2014

Individual Awards

Matthew McLean Portrait

Mr. Matthew A. McLean
U.S. Air Force

Mr. Matthew A. McLean, 10th Contracting Squadron, United States Air Force Academy, provided outstanding mission support to the United States Central Command (CENTCOM)-Joint Theater Support Contracting Command. Mr. McLean volunteered as a contingency contracting officer supporting U.S. and Coalition forces under the International Security Assistance Force on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. During his deployment, Mr. McLean proved his mettle by forward deploying to numerous combat outposts and forward operating bases to ensure that contracted services were being performed. His primary responsibility was to effectively transition U.S. and Coalition outposts from contracted private security to the Afghan Public Protective Force. As a senior warranted contracting officer for Regional Contracting Center–South (RCC-South), Mr. McLean was recognized as the primary technical expert and advisor regarding Base Operating Support service contracts. He managed the largest contract portfolio of all RCC-South contracting officers. His knowledge allowed Battle Space Owners to structure resources properly and prioritize both the ongoing military mission and the plan for retrograde operations. He maintained a strategic mindset and mentored less experienced contracting officers and personnel to lead future contingency contracting operations. Mr. McLean’s actions directly enabled military retrograde operations and the downsizing of contracted support in theater. Mr. McLean assumed 90+ contracts from the previous contracting officer, absorbed an additional 12 World Wide Express shipping contracts, awarded more than $5 million in support of U.S. and Coalition forces and, as of the end of the rating period, held 50 active contracts vital to providing life-support services to the Regional Command South mission. Mr. McLean was also aggressive at contract closeout, tackling old contracts and blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) left in disarray by previous contracting officers and closing 96 BPA calls, six DHL task orders, four master BPAs, and 45 purchase orders. Outstanding DHL orders were up to 22 months old with nearly $90,000 owed to the contractor. Mr. McLean located all necessary documentation, substantiated delivery of service, processed invoices, made the contractor whole again, and returned $200,000 in deobligations to the government. Mr. McLean mentored and educated four active-duty and National Guard military members, enlisted and officer, on contracting processes and procedures. He passed on knowledge and skills to ensure that a capable 51C/6C0X1/64P workforce will lead future contingency contracting operations. He led training for 55 contracting officer representatives, ensuring contract compliance and receipt of services at 52 combat outposts and forward operating bases. In addition, he effectively led contracting specialists through critical milestones and provided critical life support to 60,000 Coalition forces in Regional Command South. Mr. McLean developed and led BPA administration training for 40 RCC-South military, government civilian, and contractor personnel to ensure the workforce was in full regulatory compliance with FAR, DFARS, AFARS and C-JTSCC policy and acquisition instructions.

Robert LeJeune Portrait

Mr. Robert F. LeJeune
Defense Contract
Audit Agency

Mr. Robert F. LeJeune is the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) resident auditor at the Pratt & Whitney Resident Office. During the summer of 2013, while reviewing the audit working papers for the risk assessment for a large forward-pricing rate audit, Mr. LeJeune became concerned with the increasing expenditure of resources for preparing the audit risk assessment. The increase was not a one-time instance but had become a reoccurring condition. The risk assessment process at the large resident office that he oversees had become voluminous and time consuming. Mr. LeJeune shared his observations with his management team (supervisory auditors and the Field Audit Office [FAO] assistant for quality), and the team felt that the risk assessment process required more focus and was having a negative impact on the duration of audits, particularly in the forward-pricing area. This was affecting the FAO’s ability to meet audit due dates and was causing frequent requests with contracting officers for additional audit time, thus delaying the acquisition process. The management team saw a clear need for improvement in this area but felt locked into the DCAA’s existing template for performing risk assessments. The team concluded that the DCAA template for performing risk assessments was not intuitive, required excessive documentation and repetition of the same information in multiple places, and had become a process of filling out the template rather than clearly understanding where the audit risk was. This template required numerous working papers in order to document the risk assessment, thus needing significant audit hours to document the risk assessment. At the direction of Mr. LeJeune, his management team began internal deliberations to find a solution to the problem identified. During a visit to the office by the deputy regional director, Mr. LeJeune discussed the need to change how DCAA approaches the risk assessment process and the impact the current process was having on meeting audit readiness. Over the course of several months, Mr. LeJeune and his management team met on a regular basis to develop a new risk assessment process. Their goal was to make the entire process more intuitive and facilitate conciseness, while still clearly documenting the inherent risk (what can go wrong); control risk (what controls the contractor has in place to detect/prevent this inherent risk); and detect risk (areas where risk control is lacking or not functioning and thus need to be included in the audit scope). The result was a creation of a risk assessment template with five sections in order to assist the audit staff. The use of the new template combined with tailoring the risk assessment to the company rather than to the intermediate company submissions resulted in increased audit efficiency and hourly savings on forward-pricing and incurred cost audits. This significant savings in hours can be used to perform other high-risk audits despite the shortage of personnel in the organization. Under Mr. LeJeune’s leadership, the buying commands are receiving audits more promptly, resulting in faster negotiations and quicker delivery of products and services to the warfighter.

Maryellen Lukac Portrait

Ms. Maryellen Lukac
U.S. Army

Ms. Maryellen Lukac has distinguished herself through continued exceptional leadership as the business manager for Project Manager (PM) Combat Ammunition Systems (CAS). She provided acquisition resourcing, program support, and analysis essential to the management of 99 products (51 active and 48 in sustainment) supporting Army and other Service acquisitions totaling more than $2.2 billion across the FY14 President’s Budget. Ms. Lukac exercised superior acquisition planning and strategy development in contract management support for all PM CAS products, resulting in award of 401 new contracts, options, and modifications as well as orders to government-owned, government-operated industrial base production plants valued at $663 million over the period. She provided key acquisition and funding direction in accomplishing the urgent production and delivery of 918 60mm Mortar Systems to the Afghan National Army within 7 months from initial request, and she was also responsible for the on-schedule Milestone C and multiple low rate initial production contract awards totaling over $100 million for more than 1,800 M982 155mm Precision Guided Excalibur 1b projectiles. She managed the Urgent Materiel Release and Milestone C for the XM1156 155mm artillery Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) and subsequent contract award within schedule to support the low rate initial production of 7,400 PGK fuzes with a contract value of nearly $99 million. Ms. Lukac’s knowledge and expertise in the performance of her duties were key to the uninterrupted readiness of U.S. Air Force, Army and Marine Corp forces that utilize PM CAS-managed items. Her outstanding efforts contributed directly to nine completed initiatives leading to $1.1 billion in cost savings and avoidance and 27 planned initiatives estimated to yield $283 million through FY25. She excelled at contributing to the overall success of the PM CAS mission of providing safe, reliable, affordable, and effective firepower to U.S. and Coalition troops. Ms. Lukac proved to be invaluable and essential to 10 Urgent Materiel Releases, 13 Full Materiel Release and 9 Type Classifications-Standard, ensuring the success of multiple milestones, especially the ACAT IC 155mm M982 Precision Guided Excalibur Increment la-2 Full Rate Production and M982E1 Increment lb Milestone C decisions and the ACAT II XM1156 155mm artillery Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) Urgent Materiel Release and Milestone C decisions and their associated contract awards. Her efforts led directly to delivery and fielding of critically needed capabilities to the warfighter, including 60mm, 81mm, and 120mm mortar weapons; M95/M96 Mortar Fire Control Systems; M32 Light-weight Hand-held Mortar Ballistic Computers; and “Digital” 120mm Battalion Mortar Systems fielded with the M326 Mortar Stowage Kit and the M151 Mortar Fire Control System-Dismounted. During the sequestration furlough period in 2013, Ms. Lukac developed, communicated, and implemented an optimized furlough plan that resulted in continuous operations for the entire PM staff.

Patricia Watson Portrait

Ms. Patricia A. Watson
Washington Headquarters

Ms. Patricia A. Watson has distinguished herself as a superior acquisition training officer and quality officer in the Washington Headquarters Services Acquisition Directorate (WHS/AD). In everything she has done to develop the contracting activity’s acquisition workforce, Ms. Watson has demonstrated unequaled energy, boundless dedication, unsurpassed focus, masterful management, and stellar commitment to increasing contract quality and developing the professional competencies of more than 115 acquisition professionals. She has continuously demonstrated impressive and specific achievements. As the contracting officer’s representative (COR) and sole Government manager on an innovative multiyear acquisition training contract, Ms. Watson displayed impressive project management skills, evident to all who observed her. Responsible for all aspects of contract management, she was the driving force behind a flawlessly planned and executed expansion of a complex contractor-led Acquisition Directorate professional development program (ADPDP), now in its third year, to include acquisition training for AD’s requiring activities. Working closely with AD leaders, Ms. Watson selected and personally monitored 10 outstanding case-study-intensive training courses. Establishing and leading a new in-house quality assurance process for the contractor’s proposed training materials, she ensured the revised courses included group discussions and exercises based on actual recent work products of AD staff and AD’s requiring activities. As a direct result of Ms. Watson’s performance as COR on a complex training support contract, 216 acquisition professionals participated in customized, focused training tailored to their requirements and relevant to their contracting environment. In addition to the contractor-led ADPDP, Ms. Watson planned, developed, and implemented a new and ambitious internal acquisition training program led by AD instructors personally recruited and managed by her. More than 470 acquisition professionals participated in AD-instructed class sessions. Her ambitious and highly successful internal training program using AD instructors further developed oral communication and training skills of 11 contracting officers/contract specialists and improved key skills critical for success. In all of her acquisition workforce development responsibilities, she demonstrates unmatched leadership skills. Whether working with contractors, junior acquisition staff, acquisition colleagues, senior leaders, or CORs, she consistently achieves results of superior quality because she understands the needs of others and helps others embrace the needs of the acquisition workforce. Ms. Watson clearly “gets it” and motivates a diverse, varied, and demanding group of stakeholders to reach the same right answer. She quickly and correctly identifies problems and does not wait for others to provide solutions. Demonstrating unequalled energy and enthusiasm, she is consistently part of the solution on every acquisition training and contract quality issue facing AD and is a key player in advancing Better Buying Power 2.0 initiatives.

David Kester Portrait

Mr. David R. Kester
Defense Contract
Management Agency

Since the establishment of the PM&I Earned Value Management (EVM) Division, a number of Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS) policies have been reconsidered by Mr. David Kester, the DCMA PM&I EVM director, to address inherent redundancies and inefficiencies in the conduct of assessing contractor EVMS. To improve productivity and to execute the mission and objectives better, a first-of-a-kind initiative was launched to rethink the way in which contractor EVMS validations and follow-on surveillance can be performed simultaneously to test the reliability of core management processes using data sets and algorithms to summarize, detect patterns, and draw conclusions. This data-driven approach eliminates the need for multiple DCMA audits and the labor and travel costs associated with upwards of 30 people visiting a contractor’s plant. In the past year, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ (LMA) response in correcting EVMS deficiencies following the DCMA data-driven approach has resulted not only in the company regaining its DFARS 252.234-7002 EVMS compliance credentials as a condition for doing business with the DoD, but has fundamentally changed the way it thinks about EVMS, and how it will manage work in the future. The JSF Program Office’s (JPO) and LMA’s commitment to using reliable EVMS data for day-to-day decisionmaking on the largest single global defense program has solidified the long-term stability of the program and increased the purchasing power of the Department. LMA estimates that the new approach will save the company upwards of 3,000 hours (an estimated $900,000) in avoidable EVMS surveillance costs per year. At the same time, Mr. Kester’s leadership and courage, in confronting the lack of consistency, standardization, and transparency of the DCMA EVMS mission, drove more favorable EVMS compliance outcomes. The implementation of the DCMA data-driven approach has proven that it advances the Department’s Better Buying Power 2.0 initiatives for incentivizing productivity and innovation while eliminating unproductive processes and bureaucracy. For example, following up on the Department’s EVM recommendations made to the U.S. Congress in September 2009, resulting from the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, Mr. Kester developed a Government EVMS intent guide which defined the purpose of each ANSI-748 guideline, the attributes (or characteristics) of each guideline that make it distinct from other guidelines, and the testing protocols that define compliance for each EVM system attribute. Mr. Kester’s work was recently recognized by the National Defense Industrial Association Integrated Program Management Division chair and LMA president.

Daniel Dittenber Portrait

Mr. Daniel Dittenber
U.S. Army

Mr. Daniel Dittenber serves as one of the Army’s premier Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) experts. He led the effort to acquire the Department of Defense’s first medium-altitude, endurance-class UAS and used his technical expertise to ensure the purchase was competitive and a good value. To date, Gray Eagle systems have been fielded in Afghanistan and stateside at Fort Hood (two units), Fort Riley, Fort Drum, Fort Stewart, and Fort Campbell. An unmanned system of Gray Eagle’s caliber/class increases soldiers’ edge and lethality, and ensures uncompromised long-range support to deployed efforts. Mr. Dittenber did a remarkable job addressing the technical challenges leading to the full-rate production decision in 2013. He personally briefed the staff from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics and the Army Acquisition Executive with a comprehensive description of reliability issues/growth, improvements to the system, test-and-evaluation updates, Follow on Test and Evaluation (FOT&E) planning, and requirements clarification. After the historic acquisition, Mr. Dittenber skillfully oversaw the development of the Gray Eagle system, with a clear goal of ensuring that deployed soldiers receive a reliable, thoroughly tested system. Mr. Dittenber implemented a universal product management plan, including common baseline efforts for Gray Eagle in post-FOT&E software. He established funding requirements to meet common baseline fielding plans and developed a path forward for Gray Eagle reliability. He personally negotiated and briefed new reliability key system attributes with the Fort Rucker commanding general, in support of PEO Aviation efforts, based on Gray Eagle initial operational test-and-evaluation results. Mr. Dittenber also established new reliability growth curves that were endorsed by Army Test and Evaluation Command and OSD. He is credited with enabling or supporting several firsts within the Army. These include the first Hellfire shot from a UAS in the Army; first fully autonomous UAS takeoff and landing; first Air Data Relay between two Gray Eagle aircraft (doubling the effective range); first operation of an UAS by an enlisted soldier (not aviator qualified); first UAS Manned-Unmanned Teaming joint engagement in theater (Army/Air Force); and the first “remote control” of an unmanned (Gray Eagle) aircraft and its payload by an Apache helicopter pilot. Mr. Dittenber has established a Gray Eagle spend plan through FY20 to support future upgrades and modifications to the system within the funding constraints of the program. Contracting processes on the Gray Eagle 4.3.2 (FOT&T) contract reduced total cost by approximately $7 million. Additionally, Mr. Dittenber developed and received approval of the Gray Eagle FOT&E plan to meet the Defense Acquisition Board directives of reducing cost, schedule, and performance risks to the program, while simultaneously fielding the system through FY16. In support of these fielding plans, Mr. Dittenber and his team used modeling and risk mitigation to identify risks associated with the operation of Gray Eagle systems based at Continental United States (CONUS) home station locations. Soldiers are now training with the Gray Eagle system at five CONUS locations.

Leland Fincham Portrait

Mr. Leland A. Fincham
U.S. Army

Leland (“Allen”) Fincham has led the Facilities Engineer Division of the Directorate of Public Works (DPW), Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD), for more than 11 years. As a retired Kentucky Army National Guard officer, he has leveraged his leadership skills and abilities through good times and lean times, but significantly, through one of the longest periods of war in which the United States has been involved. His steady, no nonsense, calm demeanor has allowed the DPW to stay the course through A-76 studies, depot growth, and—most recently—the June 2013 BGAD Reduction in Force, which has propelled the DPW into challenging times. In spite of this bookend starting point for the year, Mr. Fincham has taken stellar care of his employees, managed the DPW’s budget as if it were his own, and used in-depth institutional knowledge to intuitively guide the Depot through the maze of various facilities funding and funding cycles. His duties have made him both a focal point for growth as well as a target for those who might prefer preferential deference. He has worked tirelessly to control facilities maintenance and construction costs. He is keenly aware of the capabilities, weaknesses, and strengths of both employees and our IDIQ and BPA contractors. Even with more than 2,500 facilities identified within GFEBS, his knowledge of the condition of those facilities is superb. By having such keen insight, Mr. Fincham has been able to help the Depot control expenditures during the mandated sequester and furloughs even in the face of the Army’s fiscal uncertainties. This has directly resulted in a more than 15 percent decrease in facilities expenditures without significant impact to—or even the knowledge of—the ultimate end users. He is quiet but driven. He understands the big picture and is innovative in trying to find solutions rather than being stymied by problems. His unflappable demeanor belies a tireless professional who rapidly considers alternatives and presents complete, integrated solutions. Time after time, the accumulated knowledge of “his” depot has been used to great advantage and great cost savings. Mr. Fincham leads a team comprising four engineers and a master planner, with intermittent but nearly continuous support from more than six contracting firms. He interacts daily with the local office of the Rock Island Contracting Center. He regularly contributes solutions to the DPW Logistics and Environmental teams, addressing oversight, quality, problem solving, and procurement. Leading by example, Mr. Fincham is a servant leader as well. He continually mentors and shares best practices in order to leverage success; and he ensures that people holistically understand lessons learned. He was one of the first in the DPW to reach Level III certification in his career field, and he ensured that his team became certified as well. He rewards achievement and makes sure that proper awards and recognition are received for his people, peers, and superiors alike. And at the apex of his career, his concern is that the Depot will continue without him.

Edward Lane Portrait

Mr. Edward Lane
National Reconnaissance

Mr. Edward Lane is deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Application Service Provider, Ground Enterprise Directorate. He identified the need for the NRO Information Sharing Framework (ISF) to enable seamless information-sharing with the emerging DoD Distributed Common Ground Systems-Intelligence Community (DCGS-IC), a primary component of the ISF. Consequently, he fought for and obtained funding, leading to the establishment of DCGS-IC as a program of record. Building on the ISF model, he launched the NRO to the forefront of the Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E), the DoD counterpart to DCGS-IC. Mr. Lane recognized early that developing IT applications that are reusable and shareable across the DoD and the IC, rather than building cradle-to-grave or stove-piped systems, is a cost-effective means to extend the “reach,” timeliness, and value of intelligence to enhance DoD’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities. One such application is Red Dot, a semi-automated system that captures intelligence information about improvised explosive devices from highly classified national technical means (NTM) sources and tools. It quickly generates alert reports and delivers them in minutes (versus hours) to unclassified map displays in tactical vehicles. Numerous battlefield commanders attest that Red Dot saves lives by getting the right information to the right people at the right time. Mr. Lane’s vision of how to transform software development was also realized in the establishment of a new enterprise software acquisition approach and organizational construct, called the NRO Application Service Provider (NASP). The mission of the NASP is to transform the acquisition and delivery of applications, frameworks, and data through the development, management, and evolution of the Software Services Platform (S2P) for the NRO. The S2P is an application-only IT platform that provides a cohesive collection of applications, common software services, development tools, virtual appliances, source code, technical support, and documentation for on-demand reuse across the NRO. Mr. Lane and his group created the IC’s Enterprise Registry and Repository (ER2), a high-capacity metadata catalog that enables users to register their capabilities and to search and discover capabilities developed by others. They have documented and coordinated over 300 DI2E infrastructures, common, and mission enterprise functions across nearly 200 DI2E, DoD, IC, and Federal service providers and assessed hundreds of service offerings for enterprise reuse, thus saving millions of dollars in future development, deployment, cost avoidance, and maintenance costs. Mr. Lane’s group also created a DI2E Storefront (similar to Apple Computer’s App Store), where users publish and share software, widgets, applications, services, guidebooks, and essential information, including capabilities within the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence’s Battlespace Awareness portfolio. The opportunities created by ER2 and the DI2E Storefront have resulted in an initial $8 million in cost savings and $120 million in cost avoidance. Mr. Lane’s pioneering acquisition and deployment methodologies at the National Reconnaissance Office have dramatically and forever changed how the NRO, Department of Defense, and intelligence community acquire information-sharing capabilities that meet the needs of our nation’s decision makers.

Kevin Cormier Portrait

Mr. Kevin M. Cormier
U.S. Navy

Mr. Kevin Cormier’s achievements fully reflect the vast range and depth of his authority and responsibilities as the lead life cycle manager for the nation’s most complex and diverse weapon system, the nuclear powered aircraft carrier. As the principal assistant program manager for life cycle support in the In-Service Aircraft Carrier Program (PMS 312), he is responsible for the full spectrum of logistics and life cycle support functions for all in-service aircraft carriers. Further, his responsibility encompasses all acquisition logistics associated with the aircraft carrier mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) program, a $4.5 billion per ship, 44-month recapitalization in which all integrated product support (IPS) is offloaded, validated, and reloaded to the platform. He concurrently manages all IPS programs that sustain the viability and capability of these national assets. During Mr. Cormier’s tenure, he has led the development of many of these unique logistics requirements, including the strategy to support the forward positioning of an operational nuclear aircraft carrier. He has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in the logistics arena as he balances the logistics requirements of platforms inside and outside the continental United States and the needs of major maintenance activities throughout the Naval Aviation Enterprise, including the inactivation/disposal of the Navy’s first nuclear aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Mr. Cormier’s highly innovative and very successful initiatives focused on warfare wholeness over the 50-year life of the aircraft carrier. His innovative approaches to logistics support directly reflect his understanding of the Chief of Naval Operations’ guiding principles of “maintaining ships and aircraft to their expected service lives is an essential contribution to fleet capacity” while meeting the DoD mandate to “control costs throughout the product life cycle.” Mr. Cormier has reduced RCOH costs by increasing the use of rotatable pools of equipment instead of costly, timely repairs; optimizing the reuse of excess materials following a ship’s decommissioning; and rescoping the effort required to offload and manage spares during the 44-month RCOH timeline. Other RCOH cost-saving and cost-avoidance initiatives put in place by Mr. Cormier include improvement of the IPS estimates used to enable identification of additional cost-reduction opportunities; conducting a logistics-focused detailed review of cost data associated with $640 million in government-furnished equipment (GFE) delivery, and ensuring the repeat application of technical data for developing IPS products for future RCOHs. His efforts resulted in the discovery of $l.9 million in over-estimating during the review of GFE budget information for the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) RCOH alone. Additionally, Mr. Cormier’s direct intervention, leading a team of engineers and logisticians, reduced the lead time for critical pump assembly units from 42 weeks to 21 weeks, thereby reducing risk. His leadership role extends far beyond that laid out in his position description in support of PEO carriers. He has clearly and firmly established himself as a leader among the greater aircraft carriers community. His work in leading best practice organizations such as Knowledge Sharing Networks has significantly improved material support for aircraft carrier maintenance availability and life cycle support.

John Graham Portrait

Mr. John P. Graham
Defense Contract
Management Agency

Mr. John P. Graham distinguished himself by exhibiting the highest level of excellence in the acquisition of products and services in support of the warfighter and protection of the taxpayer. His superior performance as the (AH-64D/E) Apache Attack Helicopter Program Integrator with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) Boeing Mesa continuously exemplifies the tenets of Better Buying Power (BBP) 2.0 focus areas that DCMA can contribute to and influence. Mr. Graham is responsible for oversight of a multifunctional program support team for Acquisition Category IC and ID programs valued at over $2.8 billion. Mr. Graham’s unyielding dedication and resourcing determination provided 117 Apache Attack Helicopters, meeting the highest standards of quality and technical performance, to the U.S. Army and International Foreign Military Sales customers. As a result of Mr. Graham’s diligence, the program continues to deliver aircraft ahead of schedule while simultaneously providing continuous support in Afghanistan to combat flight operations that have amassed more than 466,740 flight hours. Mr. Graham’s dedication to mission as well as steadfast support to the warfighter routinely earned him recognition and distinction from customers and DCMA. He was named DCMA Boeing Mesa Employee of the Year for 2013. Additionally, his efforts enabled DCMA Boeing Mesa to be honored with the designation of DCMA Small Flight Activity of the Year for 2013. Mr. Graham has worked on a multitude of program issues in conjunction with the Apache Project Management Office. His efforts range from receipt of aircraft for depopulation, production/build, and acceptance to final pick-up/delivery by combat-ready units flying back to home station locations. Mr. Graham ensures aircraft are inducted through a premodification process occurring at geographically dispersed locations, providing unique complexities and challenges with respect to levels of customer engagement and premodification requirements. Mr. Graham’s leadership has not only been instrumental in providing oversight of multiple contractor sites but has contributed immeasurably to the management of more than 20,000 line items of government furnished equipment valued at over $1.25 billion. Mr. Graham’s continuous improvement of the Over-and-Above processes from contract to contract had an incredible influence on the BBP 2.0 “Control Costs” initiative. He organized a cross-functional Government team with a mission to review contractor dispositions on basic Over-and-Above repair actions, leading to a cost savings in excess of $1 million. Mr. Graham exemplified the BBP 2.0 “Eliminate Unproductive Processes” initiative by providing a solution on government furnished equipment engines that prevented schedule delays and cost increases. With systemic engine concerns—involving the output drive assembly (ODA) and bearing-oil leakage—he worked tirelessly to manage replacement ODAs personally and prevent increased labor hours and shipping costs for removal and reinstallation of components. Mr. Graham led the collaboration with GE Engine Division to schedule engine removal, testing, and troubleshooting as risk mitigation to the possible cost and schedule impacts of engine leaks during the manufacturing process of the AH-64E Apache aircraft.

Thu Van Hendrey Portrait

Ms. Thu Van Hendrey
U.S. Navy

Ms. Thu Van Hendrey has performed brilliantly as the chief engineer and the principal assistant program manager (PAPM) for the $1.7 billion ACAT ID Cobra Judy Replacement (CJR) program, under the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems. The CJR system consists of the ship USNS Howard 0. Lorenzen; the X band and S-band phased array radar mission equipment; and a mission communications suite. In March 2014, following attainment of Initial Operational Capability, CJR was turned over to the Air Force for operations and maintenance. CJR is a vital national asset, providing technical means to validate treaty compliance of other nations’ space launches. It is a unique platform, replacing the Cobra Judy system onboard USNS Observation Island, which entered the decommissioning process in January 2014. The strong relationships Ms. Hendrey cultivated with the Air Force user community and other DoD stakeholders helped immensely in mitigating potential pitfalls throughout the program. As part of a Navy acquisition program that was building a unique integrated system for the Air Force, she encountered challenges that did not fit neatly into traditional acquisition processes. In one such case, the accreditation of a secure compartmented information facility on the ship needed an operational status, which the Navy acquisition program did not have. The Air Force, which would grant the operational status, was not responsible for the acquisition activities such as security accreditation. Ms. Hendrey was able to coordinate an interservice approach, culminated by a memorandum of agreement with the Air Force to bring on part of the Air Force operational crew early to handle critical security and mission functions. This provided a path to security accreditation and also gave the operational crew valuable hands-on training in advance of operational testing and declaration of Initial Operational Capability, a win for the Navy, the Air Force, and the nation. Her technical acumen provided her with the ability to closely monitor all aspects of radar system integration and testing, which maintained maximum pressure on the contractors to fully meet the “A-Specifications” in support of the system’s operational requirements. Her skillful management of the technically complex CJR program was also evident in the system’s successful performance against all three Target of Opportunity (TOO) live-tracking events. Ms. Hendrey recommended adding the first TOO to the program earlier than planned as a demonstration of CJR’s significant technical capabilities and as a risk-reduction measure for the TOOs that would be conducted later. As a result, lessons learned by the radar contractors from the planning and successful execution of the first TOO were incorporated into the remaining events, which were even more technically challenging and were conducted by the operational crew. The success of all three TOOs is a superb technical accomplishment, reflecting the perseverance of the contractor and Government teams under Ms. Hendrey’s leadership. She consistently set the highest standards for herself and provided a superb example for the CJR team. She regularly evaluated personnel performance and assignments of the program’s limited resources, making adjustments to meet the established objectives most effectively. Ms. Hendrey is a capable leader who guides the CJR team to be successful in spite of the challenges inherent in defense system acquisition and the unique challenges of a Navy-developed, Air Force-operated ship-radar system.

Diane Baker Portrait

Ms. Diane E. Baker
U.S. Air Force

Ms. Diane E. Baker, chief of engineering analysis, Capability Planning and Requirements Division, Directorate of ISR and Requirements, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command (HQ AFMC), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, distinguished herself by exemplifying excellence in requirements management through the study and implementation of cost capability analysis (CCA) for the U.S. Air Force. In 2013, the Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) recognized that the Department lacked a standardized process for performing trade-offs between capability requirements for Air Force (AF) weapon systems and the costs associated with acquiring systems to meet those requirements. Ms. Baker was assigned to lead an AF-wide multidisciplinary team of requirements and acquisition experts to develop methods to improve the understanding of the effects of requirements on cost and cycle time, which is a critical step in addressing the issue of cost growth among AF acquisition programs. Ms. Baker developed a process, now known as CCA, which provides critical requirements and cost insights for senior decision makers. In addition, CCA reinforces affordability as a requirement and energizes the application of rigorous trade space analysis to achieve Better Buying Power (BBP) for the Department. SECAF approved six major “pilot programs” for Ms. Baker’s team to interact with and support. Each program that applied these new cost capability methods saw dramatic results. The Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program traded-off requirements for number of passengers, availability, range, taxiway length, aerial refueling, specialized equipment, and enhanced situational awareness, resulting in a total program cost avoidance of $1.84 billion. The F-15 Eagle Passive Active Warning Survival System program traded requirements on advanced geolocation, survivability systems, and missile warning system and millimeter wave detection, reducing total program costs by $1.66 billion. Another profound impact of Ms. Baker’s ground-breaking CCA approach is that it enables the acquisition community to do their job more effectively by instilling affordability thinking throughout the workforce. Through the early and continuous application of CCA, acquisition programs seek opportunities for cost savings by examining capability requirements early and often in conjunction with the requirements community. CCA not only brings affordability to the attention of acquisition program offices, but it builds a stronger relationship between the acquisition and requirements communities. Ms. Baker has led this high-priority effort since its inception and in doing so, has achieved several BBP 2.0 successes over the past 12 months. The key to the team’s dramatic success was Ms. Baker’s leadership. Her new approach forged a stronger relationship between the requirements and acquisition communities and provided a standardized, repeatable, mathematically based analytical process for trading off requirements of lesser military value to achieve more affordable programs.

Christopher Schlagheck Portrait

Major Christopher
C. Schlagheck

U.S. Air Force

Major Christopher C. Schlagheck distinguished himself by leading numerous advanced Science and Technology analyses, testing campaigns and program acquisitions for applications in space control. During the reporting period he managed a $30 million space threat microsatellite program; led a Secretary of the Air Force-directed program assessment; managed and built a low-cost, cutting edge, space-tracking capability; created a range of operational courses of action for U.S. Strategic Command; executed advanced Global Positioning System (GPS) testing for the Vice Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff (VCJCS); and developed a countermeasure to a new deep-space adversary threat. Major Schlagheck’s microsatellite program set the standard for other advanced Science and Technology space programs in four key areas: (1) he insisted on leveraging commercial off-the-shelf technology for building the microsatellites in an effort to significantly reduce acquisition costs, reducing program cost growth by 70 percent and saving over $50 million in nonrecurring costs; (2) integration challenges typically associated with spacecraft design and manufacture have been mitigated by bench testing of key components, with testing to date being 100 percent successful; (3) by seeking partnerships with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Space Security and Defense Programs (SSDP), and Air Force Research Laboratory, he drove down individual costs while reducing risks for the space protection community; and (4) by leveraging a rideshare opportunity on a future launch to geosynchronous orbit, he overcame the historically insurmountable economic hurdle for small spacecraft launches and saved the program and the U.S. Government over $200 million in launch costs. In addition to his management of a flight program, Major Schlagheck demonstrated the importance of leveraging Science and Technology research and analysis to aid combat operations by having directly impacted VCJCS guidance to Combatant Command commanders by delineating required GPS constellation configurations for optimal precision. In the process of carrying out this testing, he challenged the operational components to decrease tasking timelines, with end results being a reduction of tasking timelines by 90 percent and a 30 percent reduction in GPS error. While leading his staff of 30 engineers and physicists, Major Schlagheck worked directly with and heavily influenced 15 national organizations outside of his administrative control, demonstrating dogged determination, uncommon leadership, and professionalism. He was able to overcome organizational disagreements, false perceptions, and negative predispositions, leading to recommendations of viable Science and Technology options for national decision makers. Major Schlagheck translated the enigma of advanced Science and Technology concepts into hardware solutions, providing groundbreaking defense capabilities for the nation. By using preexisting hardware in the solutions for a new space-tracking capability as well as a deep-space threat countermeasure, he provided tangible options to senior DoD leaders at a cost savings of more than $500 million when compared to other recommendations.

Steven Lahr Portrait

Mr. Steven R. Lahr
U.S. Air Force

Mr. Steven Lahr led the Air Force Enterprise Contracted (AFEC) Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory (PMEL) acquisition and post-award management team from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014. Because of his superior leadership skills and supremely excellent skill in acquisition of services, his AFEC PMEL team led the way by embracing the Better Buying Power (BBP) 2.0 philosophy. He and his team have made highly significant and groundbreaking contributions, demonstrating exemplary innovation and best acquisition practices in many of the key focus areas. Mr. Lahr is a recognized expert in the acquisition and management of contracted PMEL services, and he played a vital role in the development of the business case analysis of the Air Force’s Calibration Network. The in-depth analysis resulted in the AF Council’s ultimate approval of the initiatives recommended, one of which was for strategic sourcing of AF PMEL services. The Logistics Board directed this action as part of the overarching Repair Network Integrations Calibration Network Sizing and Shaping Initiative. This effort, in concert with “Expanding Air Force Strategic Sourcing Opportunities,” led to the AFEC PMEL acquisition being coordinated with the Enterprise Sourcing Group. Subsequently, the AF Logistics Board, in large part due to Mr. Lahr’s proven expertise and team-building skills, specifically identified Air Combat Command Acquisition Management & Integration Center (ACC AMIC) to lead the initiative due to the efficiencies gained by using the current infrastructure Mr. Lahr had developed and his proven track record in awarding and managing multi-command PMEL contracts. Mr. Lahr’s AFEC PMEL team took the lead in aligning profitability more tightly with department goals through the use of Lowest Price Technically Acceptable methodology, resulting in five small business awardees on the multiple award vehicles. On this highly complex effort, an in-depth understanding of the PMEL requirements produced ceilings that were more than 10 percent below previously awarded levels. Based on the ceiling costs established at the multiple award level, an additional savings of at least $24 million over the 5-year life of AFEC PMEL will be gained. These savings, realized from FY14 through FY18, were achieved without loss of capabilities. This is noteworthy and has established the model for future service contracts. This $24 million savings is in addition to the original $16.8 million identified in the Program Guidance Letter achieves a total savings of over $40 million, a reduction of almost 25 percent from FY11 costs. As previously stated, all of this was achieved while still producing quality services in which customers are extremely satisfied. AFEC PMEL also made great strides in increasing small business roles and opportunities. With the total small business set-aside approach that Mr. Lahr devised, small business participation in PMEL support increased Air Force-wide from 47 percent to 100 percent. Mr. Lahr’s efforts resulted in awarding over $230 million, an incredible 44 percent of the Center’s available dollars, to small business. Mr. Steven Lahr and ACC AMIC’s acquisition successes speak volumes, to the point where AMIC has become the Air Force’s “go to” organization for tough services acquisitions and first-ever programs.

Steven Schroeder Portrait

Mr. Steven D. Schroeder
U.S. Navy

Mr. Steven Schroeder is the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) Program Test and Evaluation (T&E) lead. Over the past year, he has successfully coordinated and effectively managed T&E activities that have exemplified Better Buying Power (BBP) best practices, efficiently and effectively used resources, and improved industry and government productivity. Mr. Schroeder implemented innovative integrated test strategies that reduced Initial Operational T&E (IOT&E) costs by 50 percent, a savings of $1.5 million. He reduced the number of required dedicated test events by 25 percent. He led the first-ever, integrated IOT&E and Total Ship Survivability Trials (TSST), which made more efficient use of more than 300 personnel and reduced the test schedule by 4 weeks. Implementing innovative approaches to test execution and scheduling, he reduced the requirement for fleet assets to support T&E nearly 50 percent. Mr. Schroeder successfully implemented the BBP mandate to “Do more without more” and contributed to acquisition mission success. In leading change and maintaining an enterprise-wide perspective, Mr. Schroeder was the key individual responsible for planning, coordinating, and obtaining approvals from stakeholders for the conduct of the first integrated IOT&E and LFT&E TSST. This effort significantly reduced schedule and the resources needed to complete the test program. Throughout the planning process, Mr. Schroeder maintained a laser focus on risk mitigation, sought opportunities to eliminate duplicative testing, and immediately addressed issues that could affect the test’s schedule and overall performance. He demonstrated outstanding business acumen and program management skills by considering program financial requirements as he implemented cost effective T&E. The program’s success established precedents in the ability to reduce costs, expedite schedules, and exceed customer expectations. Mr. Schroeder has mentored other Program T&E leads in PEO Ships on the strategies he implemented for combined IOT&E-LFT&E at-sea testing. His methodology is considered a “best practice” for shipbuilding programs in NAVSEA and PEO Ships. Mr. Schroeder is certified as a Level III DAWIA T&E Career Field professional with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1993) and a Master of Science in systems engineering from Naval Postgraduate School (2009). Mr. Schroder conducts himself with excellence, responsibility, integrity, and accountability as a member of the T&E acquisition workforce. Though JHSV, an ACAT II program that does not require a designated chief developmental tester, Mr. Schroder invested a number of hours to achieve the highest level of qualification and certification for a Program T&E lead. His level of experience, education, and formal and hands-on training easily qualify him for a T&E key leadership position. Mr. Schroeder previously served in the NAVSEA T&E Office to broaden his knowledge on T&E policy and how T&E is implemented across multiple PEOs and programs. For his exceptional T&E work and accomplishments, Mr. Schroeder has received numerous letters of appreciation, the Special Act Award, and the Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award. He was also the NAVSEA nominee for the 2013 DON Lead Tester Award.

Group Awards

Gold Winner - Large Organization Category

Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport

Organization Mission Statement: The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering, and analysis and assessment—as well as Fleet support capabilities for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, and offensive and defensive undersea weapon systems—and it stewards existing and emerging technologies in support of undersea warfare.

Gold Small - Large Organization Category

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Business Financial Management Competency

Mission: To train and organize command business financial managers to act effectively as critical enablers across the spectrum of acquisition programs. This is realized through the delivery of targeted and centralized learning-and-development (L&D) programs, standardized processes, and optimized knowledge management tools.

Silver Winner - Large Organization Category

448th Supply Chain Management Wing/431st Supply Chain Management Squadron Tinker Air Force Base, OK

Mission: Plan and execute the AF supply chain to enable cost effective warfighter support when and where needed.

Silver Winner - Small Organization Category

United States Special Operations Command Special Operations Research, Development, and Acquisition Center (SOCOM SORDAC)

Mission: Provide rapid and focused acquisition, technology, and logistics support to the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and our Special Operations Forces.

Bronze Winner - Large Organization Category

Army Contracting Command – Rock Island, IL

Mission: Providing global contracting support to America’s warfighters. Professional Contracting workforce dedicated to the support of the warfighter through the highest quality contracting solutions

Bronze Winner - Small Organization Category

Air Force Acquisition Excellence & Program Execution Directorate (AFLCMC/AQ-AZ), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH

Mission: Enhance the ability to acquire and support war-winning capabilities by providing program and test management professionals, processes, and expertise.