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The Human Variable: People Matter and Psychological Safetystring;#/News/The-Human-Variable--People-Matter-and-Psychological-SafetyThe Human Variable: People Matter and Psychological Safety2022-06-24T16:00:00Z Variable_v1_EDU_Banner_1170x350-01.jpg, Variable_v1_EDU_Banner_1170x350-01.jpg Variable_v1_EDU_Banner_1170x350-01.jpg<div class="ExternalClassFB287919783C43B78A8556A986DD33B7"><p>“The Human Variable is the essential element” to Reimagining Readiness, said Lt Col Kim Smith, U.S. Space Force and DAU Professor of Program Management, and host for the DAU flagship event of the summer as she introduced the first of the three panels. The Department of Defense (DoD) is continuing to build a “diverse and inclusive force to meet the challenges of tomorrow,” she said.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Meritocracy and Diversity</strong></p> <p> </p> <p>The Navy is exploring a new framework for change that weaves together diversity and meritocracy. Leading that effort is Chuck Barber, Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Department of the Navy. His journey, from Bald Knob, Ark., through the Army to his position in the Navy led him to the realization that “diversity and meritocracy” can work in harmony. To do this, he had to break diversity and meritocracy out of their “rigid definitions and outdated contexts” into a “framework for change.”</p> <p> </p> <p>“We just simply forget that everyone has a different starting line in life,” Barber said about the decision on whether or not the concept of meritocracy was “even right to begin with,” and instead proposed a framework that harmonized “diversity and meritocracy built on empathy.”</p> <p> </p> <p>This lesson was reinforced when Barber worked with Bobby Hogue, Chief Diversity Officer for the Department of the Navy. Barber described Hogue as a “middle aged white male with a background as a civil rights attorney, and someone I’m proud to work with.” During a work trip, the two took a detour to visit the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in 1968. Hogue told his own story, “I have reached a point in my life where I am not afraid of dying; I’m afraid of not living.” Hogue’s “dedication to empathy and his vulnerability was such an impact for me,” that Barber found his own resolve.</p> <p> </p> <p>Empathy is central to the framework and “the gateway to psychological safety.” The framework uses diversity and meritocracy together instead of compromising. “We all are different, from our God-given ability to how we develop, to factors beyond our control,” Barber said.</p> <p> </p> <p>The Navy’s Maturity Model uses empathy through listening sessions. Naval Air Systems Command piloted the model. The model uses a five-phase continuum of DEI capabilities to “measure progress and impact of individual activities while enabling us to champion the leadership behaviors that promote an inclusive environment,” Barber said. By using the model, the Navy can look at data from culture instruments and surveys. These measurements allow organizations to move from being “DEI Compliant” to being “fully inclusive,” Barber said.</p> <p> </p> <p>This qualitative and quantitative data encompasses nearly 30 assessment criteria, Barber said, allowing the Navy to determine if individuals are just being DEI compliant, or if they are being fully inclusive. Barber explained that going above compliance was necessary as “using benchmarks can improve representation and inspire us… but we need to do better than benchmarks to win.”</p> <p> </p> <p>The Navy has also examined under representation as an equity issue and has mapped every military and civilian specialty to Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data to determine what level of diversity is possible. “If the Service’s representation falls short, policy choices can be made to identify or bypass barriers to employment and advancement,” Barber said.</p> <p> </p> <p>The Navy’s uses four DEI lines of effort across more than 90 initiatives. The lines of effort are policy, culture, operations, and talent management. Barber said the framework looks beyond single diversity elements, allowing the Navy to use intersectionality and “take qualitative data and operationalize the DEI.”</p> <p> </p> <p>“We have to be ready to fight and win,” Barber said. “And yes, we can leverage diversity as an imperative. [Diversity is] good for business and readiness and good for humanity.”</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Human Collisions</strong></p> <p> </p> <p>“In the last two years we have gone from talking about near-peer to peer adversaries,” Robin Yeman, Chief Technology Officer, Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation, said. “What will the next two years bring?”</p> <p> </p> <p>Preston Dunlap, a former Pentagon official, described the Pentagon as “the world’s largest bureaucracy that needs to stop focusing on internal turf wars and reinventing the wheel and instead work together to tap the private sector, defend the country, and compete with China.” These problems, Yeman said, have more to do with human elements than any technical ones. One avenue to attack these problems is to improve the number and value of “human collisions.”</p> <p> </p> <p>“Human collisions are organic interactions that happen when we’re working together in shared physical and digital spaces,” Yeman said. “Human collisions could change the narratives.” Increasing collaboration and collisions will help to deliver capabilities at the speed of need.</p> <p> </p> <p>Yeman showed the power of human collisions with a story from her own career. A task was slated to take six months, but she had a solution to reduce that time using a local server. However, she was instructed to follow existing procedure. Yeman scheduled a “collision” with a colleague and learned that when the procedure was written, there wasn’t a local server. This intentional collaboration resulted in a more than 80% reduction in schedule.</p> <p> </p> <p>Collisions can prove challenging because different people communicate using diverse mental models. One solution to this communication gap is the creation of a “Rosetta stone,” prompting the team to build and use a unified vocabulary. Additionally, human collisions rely on the proper authority to make decisions in the room. Yeman quoted W. Edwards Deming, an engineer and statistician, saying “It is not enough that management commit themselves to quality and productivity, they must know what it is they must do” and “if you cannot come, send no one.”</p> <p> </p> <p>In 2010, Yeman was building a “firm-fixed price, agile, bespoke” multi-modal biometric tool. Because different stakeholders attended each demonstration, the program was off budget and schedule. The right people weren't present to make the decisions. Conversely, when supporting the Department of Homeland Security, leadership ensured her clearance paperwork, submitted Tuesday evening, was completed Wednesday morning. “That is the difference of having a person empowered in the development of the solution,” she said.</p> <p> </p> <p>Human collisions are already part of how DoD does business, including Naval X and Catalyst Campus. “If you can only do one thing, invest in shared digital and physical spaces,” Yeman said. Digital spaces do not limit the chance for organic collisions to happen.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Psychological Safety in the Workplace</strong></p> <p> </p> <p>“Today, nearly one in five of us are experiencing the same thing that almost ended my career and convinced me that I was going to die,” Trish Martinelli, Regional Director, National Security Innovation Network said, describing anxiety.</p> <p> </p> <p>“Forty million Americans have been diagnosed with the disease, with many more undiagnosed and untreated,” she said. “What happens to our team members that find themselves in that box? How do they regroup, and how do they get back in the fight?” That box is the Anxiety Zone.</p> <p> </p> <p>“The workplace I was in - locked me into the Anxiety Zone and wouldn’t let me out… ultimately leading to a debilitating panic attack,” she said. “There was no way in that moment that you could not have convinced me I wasn’t dying.” Martinelli got out of the “Anxiety Zone” by achieving “psychological safety.” She has moved to a new position that gives her “the freedom to be creative and make a mistake,” she said.</p> <p> </p> <p>Lacking in psychological security and safety can lead to “zombie team members … who are present… but only giving the team what will provide them safety in terms of contributions and new ideas,” she said. The solution to this readiness issue is to prioritize the “mission essential element of psychological safety,” she said. Psychological safety will not stop all forms of anxiety, but the lack of safety almost always makes anxiety worse.</p> <p> </p> <p>“Anxiety is a top 10 reason we lose teammates,” Martinelli said, with “major depression” being the number 1 reason. Both may jeopardize clearances, and she urged the DoD to recognize that mental health treatment is not a reason to suspend security clearances.</p> <p> </p> <p>“Anxiety with a YOU” is a mnemonic and guide to care for others with anxiety. It instructs individuals to “acknowledge the medical and personal reality of anxiety” first. Next, “establish a safe and meaningful presence” and “invite your person to invest in the help they need.” Next, “open up the treasures you can give” and “unpack the best of your person – remind them why they are worthy of love.” Finally, the guide warns that “sometimes supporting someone with anxiety will stir up feelings within you. Honor that cycle and address your needs too.”</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>People Do Matter</strong></p> <p> </p> <p>“What if I told you that connectedness builds happiness and ensures readiness,” Pete Schramm, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lattus, stated. Schramm’s concept of connectedness is built on a personal board, an idea he generated from his experiences at an early job where he met a mentor who took him under his wing who “helped me get up and running a few years faster,” Schramm said. It was “as if we were cheating.”</p> <p> </p> <p>“The world has changed how we connect,” Schramm said, echoing Yeman’s discussion. “So, how can we reimagine reconnection to reimagine readiness? First, we need to know ourselves and what we want to achieve,” Schramm said. People “require connection” and “need belonging,” Schramm said, similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.</p> <p> </p> <p>“People do matter,” Schramm said. “We have the power, right here in this room, to unlock a force multiplier around reimagining readiness.” Readiness, in Schramm’s case, is improved by developing and staffing a personal board of advisors.</p> <p> </p> <p>The advisors include eight individuals. First is a mentor the employee aspires to be like. Second is a mentor from another team who provides insight into different roles and skill sets. Third is a boss or manager; fourth is a peer the employee confides in and grows with. The next two are above the employee in the organization: a champion two or more levels above who helps the employee understand how they fit in the bigger picture and a sponsor who connects the employee to other conversations. Seventh is someone different from the employee, and finally someone who cares for the employee on a personal level.</p> <p> </p> <p>“Connections don’t have to be top down,” Schramm said. “Insights, perspectives and experiences go all ways. We help one another up along our path.”</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Human Element</strong></p> <p> </p> Smith asked the audience to consider how it could be a “catalyst for change” and thanked the speakers. “We reimagined meritocracy and diversity; highlighted human collisions. … trust and psychological safety and a safe place to work are readiness imperatives, and [Scrhamm] challenged us to assemble a board of advisors because people do matter.”<br> <br> <img alt="" src="/PublishingImages/TEDxDAU_20220608_HumanVariable_png_NM_Qq707%20(1).png" style="width:730px;" /></div>string;#/News/The-Human-Variable--People-Matter-and-Psychological-Safety
Reimagining Readiness: Are You Ready?string;#/News/Reimagining-Readiness--Are-You-ReadyReimagining Readiness: Are You Ready?2022-06-10T12:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass2CDB57911BFD4B1E859955CB8004183A">How is the concept of readiness changing and what must the Department of Defense do to meet the challenges associated with these changes? Experts from government, industry and academia came together to share their insights and offer responses to the question. <br> <br> “I’m excited by big ideas and bringing people together,” Lt Col Kim Smith, U.S. Space Force and DAU Professor of Program Management. She served as the host for the event. She introduced three elements of readiness around which the day's talks were focused: the Human Variable, the Winning Advantage and the Future of Warfare. <br> <br> “Today we’re going to reimagine how we think, move… grow talent, scale efforts and how we manage Defense acquisition processes,” Smith said.<br> <br> Dr. William LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, recognized the value of events like this, saying that taking “a strategic pause in our work to listen to inspiring voices from across the department and industry may provide us with a new perspective and expose us to different ideas and experiences beyond our own.”<br> <br> LaPlante reinforced that reimagining readiness was becoming “increasingly important,” specifically in that better understanding readiness will be a key component in deterring “strategic attacks and aggression and building a resilient joint force and defense ecosystem.” He encouraged those in attendance, whether from industry, academia or government, to think about the possibilities and be inspired to take action.<br> <br> “We must consider how we support and develop our workforce; understand and embrace the digital transformation and how it can provide a winning advantage,” LaPlante said. “We need to be thinking of what the future of warfare will look like so we can prepare today.”<br> <br> DAU President Jim Woolsey introduced the event by laying out how important readiness is by pointing towards great power challenges and near-peer competitors in Russia and China. “Reimagining everything is important,” Woolsey said, from technologies, to weapons to the industrial base. <br> <br> “We should be reimagining everything we do and we should embrace change,” Woolsey said. “We should be suspicious of things that are being done the way they were before.”<br> <br> Frank Kelley, DAU Vice President and chairperson of TEDxDAU, thanked the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment for their support, and took LaPlante's comments even further by sharing his intentions. “I’m going to be asking myself throughout the day, ‘am I ready,’” Kelley said. “And if I’m not, what is it going to take to get me ready?”<br> <br> This is the fourth year DAU has held the flagship event, each year with a different theme. This year, the talks were divided into three readiness elements. <br> <ul> <li>The Human Variable: Speakers discuss the importance of diversity, how trust and communication improve readiness, the importance of mental health, and why people matter. <ul style="list-style-type:circle;"> <li>Chuck Barber, Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Department of the Navy</li> <li>Robin Yeman, Chief Technology Officer, Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation</li> <li>Trish Martinelli, Regional Director, National Security Innovation Network</li> <li>Pete Schramm, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Lattus</li> </ul> </li> <li>The Winning Advantage: Learn about the importance of digital transformation, how to understand chance, finding new ways to cultivate the digital talent ecosystem, and balancing modernizing our legacy systems with developing new capabilities. <ul style="list-style-type:circle;"> <li>Capt John McCrea, Co-Founder, Digital Sustainment Lead, DAF Digital Transformation Office</li> <li>Dr. Sam Savage, Executive Director Probability Management Organization and Adjunct Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford University</li> <li>Cpt. Jay Long, Innovation Officer, U.S. Special Operations Command</li> <li>Susan Alderson, Technical Director, Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity</li> </ul> </li> <li>The Future of Warfare: Learn about the entrepreneurial mindset, the importance of contracting, how to make the most out of learning, and how incentives and innovation matter. <ul style="list-style-type:circle;"> <li>Gene Keselman, Executive Director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Innovation Initiative</li> <li>Kameke Mitchell, Chief of Contracts, U.S. Space Force</li> <li>Andrew Powell, Cofounder and CEO, Learn to Win</li> <li>Chris Cleary, Principal Cyber Advisor, Department of the Navy </li> </ul> </li> </ul> <br> “The challenge before us now is looking at readiness in new ways in order to improve and sustain it in our current and future environments,” LaPlante said. “Looking at readiness from different perspectives will make us stronger and better positioned for success.”<br> <br> Kelley said his takeaway for the day evolved over the day, having asked himself if he was ready. “I am not as ready as I could be. The take away for me is that I’m going to empower myself and the others around me to be more ready.” He said that he, and all of the acquisition workforce, now has 12 more things that they can use to get ready. “We all can hold ourselves accountable and each other accountable to be as ready as we can be,” Kelley said.<br> <br> “I see all three elements of Reimagining Readiness in the <a href="" target="_blank">National Defense Strategy</a>,” Smith said. “The Human Element, the Wining Advantage and the Future of Warfare are core to building enduring advantages and baked into how we are achieving the DoD’s goals.” <br> <br> <em>Follow DAU to see the videos from the event as they are released: </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Facebook</em></a><em>; </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Twitter</em></a><em>; </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>LinkedIn</em></a><em>.</em><br> <hr /> <p id="isPasted">Between speakers, attendees had the opportunity to reimagine readiness in other forums, including watching the Business Illustrator take the speakers’ words and shape them into dynamic illustrations. The annual scavenger hunt also helped visitors to learn more about the speakers and explore the idea of readiness. If you are interested in continuing the discussion on readiness, sign-up for the book club or add your ideas to the idea wall at the <a href="" target="_blank">DAU UNUM community</a>!</p> <p>To sign up for one (or all) of the DAU book clubs, create your UNUM account and click the links below.</p> <ul> <li>June 16: <a href="/event/Book-Report-Team-Topologies-by-Matthew-Skelton-and-Manuel-Pais" target="_blank">Team Topologies</a>, hosted by Robin Yeman</li> <li>June 29: <a href="/event/Book-Club-Connect-by-David-Bradford-and-Carole-Robin" target="_blank">Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends and Colleagues</a>, hosted by Andrew Powell</li> <li>July 19: <a href="/event/Book-Club-Never-Split-the-Difference-by-Chris-Voss" target="_blank">Never Split the Difference</a>, hosted by Capt. John McCrea</li> </ul></div>string;#/News/Reimagining-Readiness--Are-You-Ready



Contract Award Protest Rulings—Highlights From the GAO Report for 2021 Award Protest Rulings—Highlights From the GAO Report for 20212022-08-31T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass322E30326A5B4901A0ED14E92B39B621">Every year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports to Congress on its most prevalent reasons for sustaining protests. It also advises Congress if any agency failed to follow GAO’s recommendations. No agency failed to follow GAO recommendations during the last fiscal year (FY), and the GAO sustain rate remained at 15 percent (also the sustain rate for FY 2020).<br> <br> When GAO sustains a protest, it means that the GAO agrees with the protester that the agency violated a procurement law or regulation in a prejudicial way. The GAO will then recommend that the violating agency handle the violation through corrective action. The violating agency is then required to keep GAO informed as to whether it will comply with GAO’s recommendation.<br> <br> (Editor’s Note: The author’s examinations of the GAO rulings have been published annually since the <a href="/library/defense-atl/p/Defense-ATandL---January-February-2018" target="_blank">January–February 2018</a> issue of the <em>Defense Acquisition Magazine</em>’s predecessor, <em>Defense AT&L</em>).<br> <br> The most prevalent reasons GAO sustained protests in FY 2021 were as follows: <ol> <li>Unreasonable technical evaluation</li> <li>Flawed discussions</li> <li>Unreasonable cost or price evaluation</li> <li>Unequal treatment</li> </ol> In the GAO annual report to Congress for FY 2021, example cases for each of the above most prevalent reasons are discussed. A short overview of each follows. <blockquote> <p style="text-align:center;"><br> THE AGENCY ANTICIPATED AWARDING A SINGLE, HYBRID, FIXED-PRICE AND LABORHOUR TASK ORDER WITH A ONE-YEAR BASE PERIOD AND FOUR ONE-YEAR OPTIONS.<br> <a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="width:8%;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;float:right;" /></a></p> </blockquote> <h2>Unreasonable Technical Evaluation</h2> GAO cited MetroStar Systems, Inc., B-419890, as its example of an agency performing an unreasonable technical evaluation. A protest was brought against the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) because of its evaluation of quotes solicited under the General Services Administration Federal Supply Schedule. The agency anticipated awarding a single, hybrid, fixed-price and labor-hour task order with a one-year base period and four one-year options. The vendors were to submit quotes for classified IT systems and secure communications support to operate and maintain the classified voice, video, and data networks for the White House. Vendors were informed through the solicitation that award would be based on a trade-off between price and the technical/management approach (referred to as “technical” hereafter), with technical considered more important than price. There were four technical subfactors for evaluation: <ol> <li>Personnel management</li> <li>Software engineering-data archival system</li> <li>Software engineering-document collaboration capability</li> <li>Network operations</li> </ol> Subfactor 1 was more important than subfactors 2 through 4. Subfactors 2 through 4 were of equal importance.<br> <br> In a trade-off, the government can award to other than the lowest-price offeror when the decision to do so is consistent with the evaluation criteria and the government reasonably determines that the perceived benefits of awarding to the higher-priced offeror warrants the additional price.<br> <br> The agency did not provide an overall adjectival rating for technical. Instead, each subfactor received its own adjectival rating. The most important technical subfactor, personnel management, required vendors to provide a transition-in plan with their quotes. This plan was to show procedures and actions that the contractor would take to staff up and obtain clearances without interrupting or degrading service.<br> <br> Vendors were required to identify and begin onboarding 50 percent of the staff within two weeks and identify and begin onboarding 100 percent of the staff within 60 days (from the date provided in the performance work statement).<br> <br> The agency rated the awardee as “good” for its personnel management approach, which was one level higher than the protester’s rating of “acceptable.” The awardee’s rating on this technical subfactor was the one discriminator making its quote technically superior to the protester’s since it was considered the most important. The awardee’s rating for its personnel management approach was based on one strength it proposed for its transition-in plan to “onboard all staff in the first 30 days and complete knowledge transfer within 60 days.”<br> <br> The agency documentation revealed the source selection authority’s agreement with the evaluation team’s finding that the awardee’s transition-in plan would benefit the government for the following reasons: <ol> <li>It reduced risk.</li> <li>It ensured that all staffing positions would be on-boarded and executing their duties well before the 60 days provided in the performance work statement.</li> <li>It provided a unique approach that exceeded the solicitation requirements by providing a notional schedule, a clear control process designed specifically for the agency and incorporating critical milestones such as knowledge transfer.</li> </ol> The price evaluation, which was less important than the technical evaluation, revealed that the protester’s price was 7 percent lower than that of the awardee. The agency determined that the awardee’s price premium was worth paying because of its “technically superior approach and its associated benefits and lower performance risk.”<br> <br> The protester filed its protest after receiving a brief explanation from the agency regarding its award decision.<br> <br> The protest filed with the GAO asserted, among other things, that the agency misunderstood the awardee’s staffing approach. The GAO did not address every issue raised by the protester but did review the contemporaneous record (the record existing when the award decision was made) and determined that the protester was correct in that the agency did misunderstand the awardee’s staffing approach. The schedule in the awardee’s quote provided that the awardee would complete knowledge transfer within the 30-day transition period but that the awardee did not commit to onboard all staff within those 30 days. The awardee’s approach met the solicitation requirements, but it was unclear whether the evaluation team and the source selection authority would have assigned the strength for the personnel management subfactor to the awardee’s quote without the flawed interpretation that all staff would be onboarded within 30 days.<br> <br> The GAO determined the trade-off evaluation was unreasonable because it was based upon the incorrectly assessed strength. In other words, the misunderstood strength was the sole discriminator in determining the award. GAO found significant prejudice to the protester and subsequently recommended that the agency reevaluate the technical proposals in accordance with the solicitation and make a new source selection decision based on that reevaluation. <h2><img alt="a pen and paperwork" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July-Aug2022/defacq-datl_fullbook_julyaug2022_article06_image01.jpg" style="width:100%;margin-left:6px;margin-right:6px;" /><br> <br> Flawed Discussions</h2> GAO cited Ohio KePRO, Inc., B-417836, as an example of an agency conducting flawed discussions. The protest brought in the case was based on a task order award made by the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), for beneficiary oversight and claim review services.<br> <br> The GAO heard a series of protests brought by both the protester and the awardee over this requirement. Those earlier protests involved corrective action by the agency. The GAO can recommend corrective action, or it can be invoked by the agency. Corrective action means that the agency is taking action to resolve the protest. The solicitation was amended as a result of the agency’s last corrective action.<br> <br> The solicitation provided for awarding a 54-month period of performance, single fixed-price task order based on a best-value trade-off with price and non-price factors that were listed by importance. There were three Contract Line Item Numbers (CLINs): CLIN 1 (Higher Weighted Diagnostic Review Group [HWDRG] claim reviews), CLIN 2 (Software Specification Review claim reviews), and CLIN 3 (focused claim reviews). The offerors were required to propose a single price per review for the quantities provided in each CLIN. A chart was provided that included the minimum and maximum number of claims reviews to be performed for each claim type, and offerors were directed to provide their proposed prices per claim review type in the business volume of their proposals.<br> <br> Offerors were expected to propose a firm-fixed-price. The agency stated that it would conduct a price analysis of the business volume (an analysis of the total cost versus the individual cost elements). Offerors were also given a sample chart for including the total price for each claim type. Each chart had a spot for the offeror to enter the price per claim review.<br> <br> Discussions were held after receipt of proposals and final proposal revisions were requested afterward. The awardee’s final proposal provided two prices per claim review for each of the three CLINs. The amounts provided by the awardee were based on certain quantities. This resulted in a material omission as some quantities were not priced.<br> <br> The agency requested that the awardee provide the proposed price for the omitted claim reviews. The awardee submitted a revised proposal including two new versions of its business proposal. One version of the business proposal used tracked changes showing the revisions against the earlier proposal. There also was a second, clean version of the business proposal.<br> <br> The agency determined that awardee would provide the best value because of the higher rating for its technical proposal and its lower price. The protester filed its protest after the award, asserting that the communication was unequal since the awardee was permitted to submit two new versions of its business proposal. The GAO agreed and analyzed this case as a negotiated procurement.<br> <br> The rules in negotiated procurements dictate that an agency cannot treat one offeror more favorably than another offeror. The behavior of the parties indicates whether discussions took place. The GAO’s “acid test” in determining if there were discussions considers whether the agency provided an opportunity for a proposal to be materially changed. The GAO found that the exchange between the agency and the awardee was a discussion because the awardee was allowed to supplement its proposal. The communication was, therefore, improper and amounted to competitive prejudice.<br> <br> The GAO routinely states that competitive prejudice is a required element to be proven in a protest, and any doubt of its existence is resolved in favor of the protester. The competitive prejudice alleged here was that the awardee was given opportunities not provided to the protester. Those opportunities included additional meaningful discussions and another proposal revision. The GAO reasoned that the protester might have addressed any agency concerns and made its pricing more competitive if given the same opportunities as the awardee. The protester might then have had a substantial chance of being awarded the task order. <h2>Unreasonable Cost or Price Evaluation</h2> GAO cited DevTech Sys., Inc., B-418273 as the example case of an agency conducting an unreasonable cost or price evaluation. The GAO found for the protester on the issue of unreasonable cost or price evaluation and on the issue of unequal discussions. The GAO dismissed all of the protester’s other complaints.<br> <br> The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) issued a solicitation that anticipated a cost-plus-fixed-fee task order award for public financial management services in Indo-Pacific countries in support of the Indo-Pacific Opportunity Program.<br> <br> The solicitation provided that the award would be based on cost and five non-cost evaluation (technical) factors. Each factor was assigned a possible number of points but was also listed by descending importance. The technical factors were significantly more important than cost, with cost evaluated for realism, fairness, and reasonableness.<br> <br> While evaluating the vendors’ proposals, the contracting officer conducted exchanges with the awardee and the protester during an earlier corrective action regarding the proposed key personnel. In addition to that exchange, the agency sought what it called a clarification from just the awardee. There was no rationale included in the record to explain why the exchange was made with only the awardee.<br> <br> The agency described the exchange as a clarification; it was seeking confirmation that the awardee’s proposed subcontractors would comply with cost provisions of an underlying indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contract. Those cost provisions required that proposed task order rates not exceed the unburdened ceiling daily rates specified in the solicitation. The agency used the compliance confirmation it received from the awardee to find that its proposed rates were no greater than the ceiling daily rates, even though its proposal reflected higher rates. Therefore, the exchange between the agency and the awardee allowed the awardee to address and correct its proposal in an area in which it did not initially comply. This made the exchange between the agency and the awardee a discussion, not a clarification.<br> <br> <img alt="person writing with a pen" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July-Aug2022/defacq-datl_fullbook_julyaug2022_article06_image02.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <br> The protester argued that the agency failed to conduct meaningful discussions and that the discussions were unequal. The GAO disagreed with the protester on the meaningful discussion argument because the discussions with the awardee and the protester were limited to confirmation of key personnel availability and/or identification of replacement key personnel. Limiting the scope of discussion to just the issue of key personnel was reasonable. No other revisions to the proposals were permitted. Therefore, the agency was not obligated to have broader discussions on deficiencies and significant weaknesses of the proposals.<br> <br> However, the GAO did agree with the protester that the discussions were unequal. In sustaining the protest on this argument, the GAO found that the discussions were unequal because the exchange between the agency and the awardee was considered a discussion. The agency calling the exchange a clarification was not enough to make it one, even when the information sought only involved seeking a yes or no answer from the awardee. The GAO found prejudice because the protester was not afforded an equal opportunity for discussion. The GAO determined that affording the protester discussions at that time could have improved its chance of receiving the award.<br> <br> The GAO also agreed with the protester on the issue that the agency unreasonably evaluated the realism of the proposed costs. The costs paid to the contractor would be the actual and allowable costs because this was a cost-reimbursable order. A cost realism analysis considers that the proposed costs may be different from the actual costs and determines whether the proposed costs are realistic, considering the work to be performed.<br> <br> The GAO’s review standard in a protest is to determine the reasonableness of the agency’s analysis. The GAO found that adjustments were made to the awardee’s and the protester’s proposed costs after the cost realism evaluation and that the adjustment resulted in the protester’s proposed price being about $9.9 million higher than the awardee’s proposed price. The agency acknowledged that it mistakenly made adjustments to one of the protester’s proposed subcontractors.<br> <br> The protester also challenged other upward agency adjustments. The GAO found for the protester on some of the adjustments because the agency was unable to explain its basis for making them. Therefore, the GAO could not determine if the agency acted reasonably.<br> <br> <img alt="a clipboard" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July-Aug2022/defacq-datl_fullbook_julyaug2022_article06_image03.jpg" style="margin-left:6px;margin-right:6px;width:100%;" />The agency’s contemporaneous record did not explain the final cost realism adjustment to the awardee’s proposed level of effort, which adjusted that level of effort to 100 days per year. The proposal showed a realistic requirement of 237 days of work for the awardee’s program management staff.<br> <br> Ultimately, the downward adjustments to the protester’s proposed costs and the upward adjustments to the awardee’s proposed costs reduced the difference between the proposals so that the protester’s evaluated costs were about $5.2 million greater than those of the awardee. The GAO found that, absent the adjustment errors, the protester would have had a substantial chance to be awarded the order. <blockquote> <p style="text-align:center;"><br> A COST REALISM ANALYSIS CONSIDERS THAT THE PROPOSED COSTS MAY BE DIFFERENT FROM THE ACTUAL COSTS<br> <a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="width:8%;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;float:right;" /></a></p> </blockquote> <h2>Unequal Treatment</h2> <p>GAO cites DigiFlight, Inc., B-419590 as its example case of unequal treatment. This case involved the protest of an award resulting from a solicitation issued by the Department of the Army, Army Contracting Command Redstone, for advisory and assistance services. The solicitation for quotes was limited to only those small business vendors for which the agency had previously established blanket purchase agreements.<br> <br> According to the solicitation, the award was to be made using a best value trade-off of price and two non-price factors: (1) technical expertise and (2) risk mitigation and management. The two non-price factors were equal and were each individually more important than price. The solicitation required that the offerors provide a “robust” risk mitigation and management approach, which required an explanation of how the offeror would mitigate and manage risk in obtaining and retaining qualified personnel, bringing together the right team to perform the performance work statement, and effectively managing the project.<br> The awardee explained in its risk mitigation and management approach for retention of personnel that its high three-year retention rate was 95 percent partly due to the awardee’s collective benefits, training opportunities, level of communication, treatment of its employees, and tuition reimbursement.<br> <br> The protester’s quote in this same area indicated that it had achieved a greater than 96 percent team retention rate by offering competitive, market-based salaries and a comprehensive benefits package. The protester indicated that its retention plan was proactive and included providing relevant training and defined advancement paths. The protester described parts of its benefits package, which included reimbursement for specialized training and academic degrees in addition to company-paid conferences and seminars.<br> <br> <img alt="a person writing with a pen" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July-Aug2022/defacq-datl_fullbook_julyaug2022_article06_image04.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <br> The agency assessed a strength to the awardee for its ability to obtain and retain qualified personnel partly because it provided opportunities for professional growth, training opportunities, and tuition reimbursement. The agency documented that the training opportunities and tuition reimbursement facilitated employee growth opportunity, career development, and greater job satisfaction and morale. The awardee’s retention rate was also recognized as demonstrating proven methods to retain qualified employees. The agency also assigned a strength to the awardee because of its low turnover rate and the resulting retention of corporate knowledge and higher productivity that would allow it to meet critical milestones and deliveries.<br> <br> The agency, on the other hand, did not likewise assess a strength to the protester for its ability to obtain and retain qualified personnel. The agency said this difference was the result of the protester providing insufficient details—specifically, its failure to provide information on what was included in its proactive retention plan or its training program. The agency justification noted that the protestor failed to refer to its tuition reimbursement in its quote.<br> <br> In making the award, the source selection authority concluded that the awardee’s quote was technically superior, had multiple strengths, was lower risk in the two non-price technical factors, and was superior enough to warrant the price premium of 44 percent. The awardee was the third-highest priced quote. The protester was the lowest priced. The awardee was rated as “good” in both non-price technical factors, and the protester was rated one notch lower as “acceptable” in both non-price technical factors.<br> <br> The protester filed its protest asserting disparate treatment. A protestor must prove disparate treatment by the agency. In order to do so, a protester must show that the agency acted unreasonably in not assessing a strength to the protester for a feature in its proposal while assessing a strength to a competing proposal for an identical or indistinguishable feature.<br> <br> The case was sustained by the GAO because disparate treatment was found in how the agency evaluated the risk mitigation and management in the area of an offeror’s ability to obtain and retain qualified personnel. The agency failed to explain in its contemporaneous documentation or in response to the protest the substantive difference between awardee’s proposed tuition reimbursement and the protester’s reimbursement of academic degrees. The record also did not explain why the agency considered the awardee’s retention rate of 95 percent noteworthy but not the protester’s retention rate of 96 percent.<br> <br> This disparate treatment led the GAO to also determine that the agency’s best value trade-off decision was unreasonable as it too was inadequately documented. The GAO concluded by finding that there was possible competitive prejudice because of the agency’s single evaluation error. It reasoned in its discussion of the case that there might have been a narrowing of the quality gap between the awardee and the protester if the protester was assessed as having similar employee-retention strength. The agency might not have then been willing to maintain its view that the awardee’s quote was superior enough to warrant the price premium.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> Each year we confront consistent themes on how agencies should conduct source selection evaluations and engage with offerors. It is sometimes difficult to know when we may not be complying with the procurement regulations. The case examples above are just a few scenarios for useful, instructive comparisons with our current procurements. Taking these decisions into account, we can perhaps avoid making some of the same errors in our evaluations and award decisions. Conducting reasonable technical evaluations, engaging in equal discussions, conducting reasonable cost or price evaluations, and treating offerors equally are a few of the best practices that we hope will reduce the number of future protests sustained by GAO. <hr /><em><strong>Wallace</strong> is a professor of Contract Management at Defense Acquisition University, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. She is a U.S. Air Force veteran, a former litigation attorney, and a former contract specialist. She holds a law degree from the University of North Dakota.</em><br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>. <h5>The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the Department of Defense. Reproduction or reposting of articles from Defense Acquisition magazine should credit the author and the magazine.</h5> <hr /><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="width:15%;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="subscribe" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/suscribebutton.jpg" style="width:15%;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a><a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July-Aug2022/defacq-datl_Wallace_julyaug2022_online.pdf" target="_blank"><img alt="print" src="/library/arj/ARJ/ARJ%20101/print_button.jpg" style="width:15%;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/GAOReport2021
Breaking The Supply Bottleneck The Supply Bottleneck2022-08-20T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass2FBF5E696FFE445E908E75DBCC3F3F8B">After nearly two years of disruption, supply chains across the globe remain dramatically out of sync, with congestion at seaports marking the latest in a long list of problems. Ocean shipping, facilitated by ports, makes up the lion’s share of global trade, exacerbating the scale of this most recent issue.<br> <br> In 2021, the waiting time for vessels at ports skyrocketed, with 10 percent of the world’s container capacity idling. The congestion this year has been caused by a surge in imports as U.S. consumer demand has shifted away from services to goods and home improvements, and retailers have rushed to restock inventories depleted in the pandemic. Constrained availability of truckers also has contributed to the problem.<br> <br> Experts say that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the U.S. economy are likely to create long-term problems for the ability of the Department of Defense (DoD) to keep weapons flowing. Supply chain stresses are so fraught that the Biden administration has committed to work with suppliers to execute mitigation measures at U.S. ports.<br> <br> Such effects will be felt most strongly by DoD’s second-, third- and fourth-tier suppliers that sell primarily to the civil and consumer markets, and whose military sales represent only a small piece of their revenue streams, experts said during a webinar sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.<br> <br> Data from the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) shows that 106 out of 10,509 primary Pentagon contractors had to close during the pandemic. Of those, 68 companies have subsequently reopened, according to Andrew P. Hunter, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. (Hunter also temporarily had performed the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment). On the subcontractor side, 427 of the 11,413 subcontractors’ DCMA tracks closed initially, but 147 now have reopened.<br> <br> Few citizens realize how much our nation’s defense depends on small- and medium-size manufacturers that struggle to stay afloat. When it comes to defense equipment, we think of massive prime contractors building jets and ships that cost hundreds of millions of dollars. It is less well known that, for every new fighter jet that takes to the sky, there is an older bomber or refueling tanker struggling to get off the ground. In many cases, no one is making the parts necessary to keep in service the venerable B-52 bomber or the trusty KC-135 refueling tanker. Even where a small company is manufacturing the needed part, there is rarely a second optional provider.<br> <br> Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, global supply has been newsworthy. “Supply Chain Resilience” is a buzz phrase, and COVID-19, the Suez Canal closure, and other supply chain disruptions continue. It is one of President Biden’s biggest challenges. If current supply issues are not resolved soon, there is a real possibility of economic slowdown and massive layoffs.<br> <br> Most of America’s fragile supply chain centers at the Port of Los Angeles and its impact on commercial suppliers. Lost has been news about our military’s critical supply chain, and its inability to keep fighter jets, bombers, and refueling tankers operational. The sprawling network of private contract manufacturers of critical replacement parts is known as the defense industrial base (DIB). Recent reports paint a worrisome picture of the DIB’s rapidly declining ability to support our military.<br> <br> To highlight the severity, consider the events of October 2021. Headlines popped up rapidly about shortages affecting U.S. fighter jets. First there appeared an article titled “F135 Depot Rebounds, But F-35 Engine Shortage Worsens” (<em>Aviation Week</em>, Oct. 8, 2021). This followed the release of a DoD Inspector General audit that, among other problems, found a shortage of F-15 and F-16 engines. The Air Force Air Mobility Command published a request for information to the industry to determine the state of our tanker shortage following a report on the challenges faced by Boeing’s efforts to deliver the new KC-46 airborne refueling tanker. These were just three reports in less than a week. <h2>Bolstering the Industrial Base</h2> The United States must ensure that there is a domestic supply of the materials essential to U.S. defense programs, especially key munitions. Policy interventions should be tailored to the unique market failures of a given strategic and critical material market, with strong emphases on private-sector partnerships and accelerating development of diversified and reliable supply sources. The United States must consider an all-of-the-above approach, including high-risk research for advanced production processes and equipment, facilitation of business-to-business ties within the DIB and with U.S. allies, and, where appropriate, bespoke or tailored trade remedies.<br> <br> In the hopes of limiting our use of potentially unreliable or interruptible Chinese sources, the White House is directing the DoD to use more incentives to support U.S. companies accessing critical minerals. The directive is part of the Biden administration’s national <a href="" target="_blank">supply chain review</a>, which recently hit a 100-day milestone.<br> <br> The Pentagon, according to a <a href="" target="_blank">White House fact sheet</a>, will “deploy” Defense Production Act Title III incentives, including “grants, loans, loan guarantees, and offtake agreements—to support sustainably produced strategic and critical materials, including scaling proven research and development (R&D) concepts and emerging technologies from other programs such as the Small Business Innovation Research awardees.”<br> <br> Air freight rates have risen as much as 24 percent this year after more than doubling in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic increased demand for electronic goods such as gaming consoles and laptop computers as more people were required to work from home. The cargo market has been a rare bright spot for U.S. carriers, whose businesses have been decimated by the pandemic.<br> <br> Demand for air freight is growing in the automotive and other industrial sectors, including plastics and chemical goods, as companies restock inventories and economies rebound faster than expected, said Tim Scharwath, chief executive officer of global shipping firm DHL (“The boom of the air cargo industry after the COVID-19 pandemic” (<a href=""></a>)).<br> <br> Delays in seaborne shipping due to bottlenecks at ports and a lack of containers have also diverted some cargo to planes. Sea freight costs have surged, making air freight more competitive. The spot shipping price for a 40-foot container has increased 34 percent this year, while rates for Los Angeles have surged 49 percent, according to the Drewry World Container Index.<br> <br> “We use rail now, which is normally way too expensive. But because ocean-freight rates are so high customers demand it,” Scharwath said. “If ocean freight goes over a certain threshold, rail becomes more attractive.”<br> <br> The Navy and shipbuilding industry are monitoring the supply chain issues caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the industrial base is experiencing some effects, according to Navy and industry sources. While it’s too early to fully grasp the effect of the supply chain slowdown on Navy shipbuilding, some companies are starting to feel constraints, and the Navy focusing more on addressing supply chain problems.<br> <br> Vice Admiral William Galinis, the head of Navy Sea Systems Command, in October told the American Society of Naval Engineers that the Navy was experiencing longer lead times for materials (“Galinis: Navy starting to see effect of supply chain issues” [<a href="" target="_blank"></a>]). Raw material delays are affecting production lines for prime and sub-tier suppliers to Navy platforms, Service spokeswoman Jamie Koehler told Inside Defense. However, Koehler said that no programs are experiencing particularly noticeable effects. However, the prices of steel and other commodities are increasing due to the supply chain issues, an industry source told <em>Inside Defense</em>.<br> <br> Rick Giannini, chairman of the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition and chief executive officer (CEO) of Milwaukee Valve Company, told an interviewer that his company’s reliance on U.S. suppliers had helped the company avoid supply chain problems. But other companies in the aircraft carrier supply base have experienced delays, he said, estimating that 20 percent of the supply base had been affected. “I’m certain that some of them are experiencing delays, because I know it’s a major issue in the industry,” he said.<br> <br> Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) President and CEO Mike Petters said, during the company’s November earnings call, that the company is monitoring material availability from its supply chain and expected to have more to share at the next earnings call. HII Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tom Stiehle said that the company has a significant number of long-term contracts and material orders. Therefore, many requirements are already on order (“Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.’s CEO Mike Petters on Third Quarter 2021 Results—Earnings Call Transcript, ‘Seeking Alpha’ ”).<br> <br> “The preponderance of the material is coming in on time and meeting the contractual needs that we have within the yard,” Stiehle said. “I will tell you recently, in the last three to six months as we have spot orders, what we are seeing is a little bit of volatility in pricing and the validity base is shrinking a bit in terms of what we have to spot buy.”<br> <br> Giannini said that his actuator suppliers have more difficulty than usual in procuring the chips that go into electric actuators. “It is slowing us down, to some extent, from that perspective,” he said. “So, we’re seeing some impact from my supply chain.” The United States does not manufacture enough chips, so U.S. businesses rely on China and Taiwan for their supplies, he added.<br> <br> “For us, it’s a relatively small per-centage of our overall business,” Giannini said. “But nonetheless, when I hear from other suppliers in our industrial base, I know anyone in that space is having difficulty.” The issues began manifesting themselves early this year, he added. The cost of getting a container on a ship to the United States has quadrupled from last year, Giannini said, going from a spot rate of $4,000 a year ago to more than $20,000 at its highest level.<br> Giannini said that U.S. companies should lessen their dependence on China. “The whole thought of a crisis that’s hitting our supply chain as a result of China is a bit scary to me,” he said.<br> <br> Paula Zorensky, vice president, Shipbuilders Council of America, told Inside Defense that the entire economy is seeing the effects of supply chain issues. Shipyards have been affected with cost increases and disruptions, she said.<br> <br> “When you can leverage things like block buys and multiyear procurement, that stability and predictability helps. That helps mitigate potential supply chain issues, or whatever is introduced into the marketplace, because we are businesses that can adapt,” she said. <h2>Increasing Supply Chain Situational Awareness</h2> Koehler said that the Navy has multiple internal organizations working together to monitor the supply chain. “NAVSEA’s Supply Chain monitoring efforts have been in place for a number of years at the [program executive office] level,” Koehler said. “This year we intensified efforts to coordinate and communicate across the entire NAVSEA portfolio.”<br> <br> Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger told the Aspen Security Forum in early November that the Corps has increased its focus on strengthening the supply chain and now has a much clearer picture of it. “Yes, we are feeling the effects,” Berger said. “No, it hasn’t in a large way affected readiness.”<br> <br> <a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="click here to see commandant's address at the aspen security forum" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July-Aug2022/defacq-datl_fullbook_julyaug2022_article05_image01.jpg" style="border-width:0px;border-style:solid;margin-left:6px;margin-right:6px;width:50%;" /></a><br> Pentagon, White House, and congressional leaders are laser-focused on addressing our nation’s critical supply chain. The House Armed Services Committee created a Defense Critical Supply Chain Task Force. Elements of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act seek to tackle some of the challenges. National and state organizations such as the National Defense Industrial Association actively push the issue. However, many of the findings, recommendations, and actions are incremental and will not materially improve the underlying problems.<br> <br> In the face of major supply chain disruptions like port congestion, there are proactive measures contractors can take to mitigate their supply-chain risks, starting with multitier visibility. Even if you know your first-tier suppliers are mainly domestic, greatly limiting exposure to seaports, a staggering 50 percent of disruptions in supply chains occur below the first tier. The following are a few key insights into how the DoD supply chain may be impacted by the reverberations of port congestion, and what program offices can do to protect themselves. With Southern California seaports overburdened by commercial ships, pandemic, and supply-driven delays in moving cargo, the Navy has agreed to allow cargo-carrying vessels to use one of its military wharves at Port Hueneme, California.<br> <br> Port Hueneme is the only deep-water port sited between San Francisco and Los Angeles that can support the heavy, large commercial vessels with deep drafts that require deeper channels and harbors to take on or offload their cargo.<br> <br> The COVID-19 pandemic affected logistics systems due to restricted access to sea and airports, changes in manufacturing focus, and travel quarantine. Defense managers focus on meeting the cost, schedule, and performance goals set and agreed to in the acquisition program baseline (APB), sometimes referred to as the contract between the PM and the milestone decision authority. Although the APB specifies the major goals for the program, it does not explicitly discuss the many underlying factors that contribute to meeting these objectives. Therefore, the PM can become singularly focused on these areas and, unknowingly, miss other indicators of risks until they manifest as issues.<br> <br> Through analytics and data visualization tools, supply chain resilience need not be an academic abstraction. Focused investments in these tools help contractors’ supply chains become more resilient by improving the visibility, flexibility, collaboration, and control of the contractors’ various partners and suppliers. These technologies can also help a supplier prioritize its efforts on supply chain resilience, measure the results of its investments, and strengthen its ability to address vulnerabilities and respond effectively when issues inevitably arise.<br> <br> To avoid the impacts of port congestion, it’s important to first increase visibility into the supply chain—ideally with a view of multiple tiers. I believe that the following steps are great places to start: <ul> <li>Work closely with the program offices’ prime contractors and require supplier road maps to at least the fifth tier in their supply chains in order to ensure that they have adequate situational awareness.</li> <li>Require the prime contractor to maintain a risk register to assess supply chain issues and provide brief mitigation strategies just as they are required to assess technical risks.</li> <li>Review the programs’ Bill of Materials and look for sole-source suppliers that create potential vulnerabilities and develop a Plan of Action and Milestones.</li> <li>Use analytics to understand how much of your material flows through the congested port choke points and across each multitier product supply chain.</li> <li>Rank vulnerabilities of specific ports on a global level. It’s even more meaningful to assess the severity of the issue with respect to specific, long lead-time material.</li> <li>Use artificial intelligence to run delay scenarios to show when material is likely to be delayed or at risk of a supplier going out of business and look for opportunities to increase capacity.</li> </ul> Until sweeping changes occur, and advanced technologies are deployed, there must be unwavering focus by military and elected officials. Moreover, there must be tireless efforts from our policymakers to see these disruptions through. Until then, America’s DIB will remain fragile, and our country’s military potentially exposed. <hr /><em><strong>Wright </strong>is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, Logistics Branch, who served in Iraq and the U.S. Africa Command. He holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, an MA in Humanities from Louisiana State University, and a Post Graduate Certification in Supply Chain and Logistics from the University of Alabama at Huntsville.</em><br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href="" target="_blank"></a>. <h5>The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the Department of Defense. Reproduction or reposting of articles from Defense Acquisition magazine should credit the author and the magazine.</h5> <hr /><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="width:15%;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="subscribe" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/suscribebutton.jpg" style="width:15%;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a><a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/July-Aug2022/defacq-datl_Wright_julyaug2022_online.pdf" target="_blank"><img alt="print" src="/library/arj/ARJ/ARJ%20101/print_button.jpg" style="width:15%;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Breaking-The-Supply-Bottleneck



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Achieve. Your Goals - Within Reach</strong></u></h5> </address> <address> <h5>Achieving your higher education goals as a working adult can seem daunting. American Public University System has the tools to bring them within reach. Join us to hear from our experts about how we evaluate prior education credits, military/public safety training, professional credentials, and non-traditional prior learning to get you closer to the finish line. Also, learn how our shorter programs offer career upskilling opportunities with transferable credit towards APUS bachelor's and master’s degrees.<br> <br> View the recording here: <a href=""></a><br> Password: vCKmYcT3</h5> </address> </address> <hr /> <h5 style="text-align:center;"><img alt="" src="/partnerships/PublishingImages/Bellevue_University.png" style="float:left;width:238px;height:45px;margin:2px 4px;" /> <u><strong> Agile Project Management Webinar –<br> A Methodology That Generates Value</strong></u></h5> <h5>The philosophy of Agile Project Management is “Motivating and empowering team members, so that projects are completed faster and with better quality”. It builds projects around motivated individuals; giving them the environment and support they need, and trust to get the job done.<br> <br> Watch this webinar with Dr. Emad Rahim, award-winning author, educator, TEDx Speaker, and Bellevue University’s Kotouc Family Endowed Chair to learn the 12 Agile Principles and how this process can contribute to successful projects in your organization.</h5> <h5 style="text-align:center;">Link to view on-demand webinar: <a href=""></a></h5> <h5 style="text-align:center;"><strong>___________________________________</strong></h5> <h5>In the <a href="">Tuesday Take Aways</a> series, Bellevue University is sponsoring 52 weeks of inspiration, encouragement, and practical tips with world-renowned speaker, Ryan Avery. The series is designed to provide motivating, real-life tips for being THE best version of yourself. Catch the series every Tuesday at 11 a.m. (central).<br> View our additional Career resources available on-demand here: <a href=""></a></h5> <hr /> <h5 style="text-align:center;"><a href="/partnerships/PublishingImages/Logo-Trimmed.png"><img alt="" src="/partnerships/PublishingImages/Logo-Trimmed.png" style="width:250px;height:93px;margin:2px 4px;float:left;border-width:0px;border-style:solid;" /></a></h5> <h5 style="text-align:center;"><u>New Opportunities will be posted soon!</u><br> <br> <br> <strong>To learn more about Excelsior College and the benefits of being a partnership student, schedule a virtual meeting with your Partnership Manager, Robert Lyons, by emailing - </strong><a href="file:///C:/Users/rlyons/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/MZ7OHOHT/"></a><br> <br> <b>​</b></h5> <hr /> <h5 style="text-align:center;"><img alt="" src="/partnerships/PublishingImages/GW_Law_Logo.png" style="width:206px;height:90px;margin:2px 4px;float:left;" /></h5> <h5 style="text-align:center;">Please join the <a href="" target="_blank"><b>GW Law Government Procurement Law Program</b></a><a href="" target="_blank"><b> </b></a>for a free, two-part <a href="" target="_blank"><b>webinar series</b></a> on the Defense Acquisition System, led by GW Law Professorial Lecturer in Law, Louis Chiarella, on <b>May 25th and June 1</b><a href="" target="_blank"><b>s</b></a><b>t</b><a href="" target="_blank"><b> a</b></a><a href="" target="_blank"><b>t 12pm ET</b></a>.</h5> <h5>The <a href="" target="_blank">Defense Acquisition System </a>(“DAS”) is both complex and essential to U.S. national security. It is the U.S. Department of Defense's plan to invest $1.8 trillion in current and future major defense acquisition programs, in order to procure the aircraft, ships, satellites, and information technology and other systems needed for the country’s national defense. The DAS represents DOD’s overarching framework to successfully manage all aspects of these major defense acquisition programs (i.e., concepts, requirements, budgeting, research, development, engineering, production, program management, contracting), while also complying with all applicable statutes and regulations. In light of these challenges, government procurement law takes on additional importance and intricacy.</h5> <h5>This <a href="" target="_blank"><b>two-part webinar series</b></a> will provide attendees with an introduction to the DAS and a policy discussion regarding its current state, including whether the current process strikes the proper balance between flexibility and accountability.</h5> <h5 style="clear:both;text-align:center;">Learn more and register <a href="">here</a>.</h5> <hr /> <h5><img alt="" src="/partnerships/PublishingImages/UCLA%20Extension%20Logo%20(2020).jpg" style="float:left;width:300px;margin:2px 4px;height:61px;" /></h5> <h5>We recognize the challenges our communities are facing today. We want to help light the way forward and give back by offering professional development and personal enrichment seminars at no cost. These programs give you the opportunity to learn from experts in their field and connect with others. For your convenience and safety, all programs are offered remotely.<br> Visit <a href=""></a> for more information.</h5> <hr /> <h5 style="text-align:center;"><br> <br> <img alt="" src="/partnerships/PublishingImages/finallogo.png" style="margin:2px 4px;float:left;width:300px;height:74px;" /><u><strong>University of Fairfax Webinar: Cybersecurity Awareness</strong></u><br> <br> Join us for a free webinar on Cybersecurity Awareness on <strong>Monday, July 11, 7 pm EST.</strong><br> <br> Presented by John Giordani<br> <br> John Giordani is a student at University of Fairfax in the Doctorate of Information Assurance program. He currently holds an MS in Information Systems Management (City College of NY), graduate certificates in Cybersecurity (Harvard University & Ithaca College of NY), and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Italian Language and Culture (University of Pisa). John speaks fluent English and Italian. He is also currently working on writing a book alongside a University of Fairfax professor in cybersecurity. John is considered a cybersecurity expert, is a Certified Systems Auditor (CISA), and holds an advisory board member position at Pace University's Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.<br> <br> Register here: <a href=""></a></h5> <h5> </h5></div>string;#/partnerships/blog/Upcoming-No-Cost-Virtual-Learning-Opportunities-from-our-Higher-Education-Partners!



DAU Webcasts for the Week of June 27-July 1, 2022string;#/training/career-development/logistics/blog/DAU-Webcasts-for-the-Week-of-June-27-July-1-2022DAU Webcasts for the Week of June 27-July 1, 20222022-06-27T12:00:00ZBill Kobrenstring;#/training/career-development/logistics/blog/DAU-Webcasts-for-the-Week-of-June-27-July-1-2022
New DoD Functional Services Manager Credentialstring;#/training/career-development/logistics/blog/New-DoD-Functional-Services-Manager-CredentialNew DoD Functional Services Manager Credential2022-06-27T12:00:00ZBill Kobrenstring;#/training/career-development/logistics/blog/New-DoD-Functional-Services-Manager-Credential
New SD-23 DoD Item Reduction Program Guidebookstring;#/training/career-development/logistics/blog/New-SD-23-DoD-Item-Reduction-Program-GuidebookNew SD-23 DoD Item Reduction Program Guidebook2022-06-24T16:00:00ZBill Kobrenstring;#/training/career-development/logistics/blog/New-SD-23-DoD-Item-Reduction-Program-Guidebook
New DAU “Logistics LIVE” Webcast Seriesstring;#/training/career-development/logistics/blog/New-DAU-Logistics-LIVE-Webcast-SeriesNew DAU “Logistics LIVE” Webcast Series2022-06-24T16:00:00ZBill Kobrenstring;#/training/career-development/logistics/blog/New-DAU-Logistics-LIVE-Webcast-Series



COR Office Hours Office Hours2022-06-28T15:45:00Zstring;#/event/COR-Office-Hours 06_28_2022
Summer Law Series 2022: Sustainable Procurement Part 1 Law Series 2022: Sustainable Procurement Part 12022-06-29T17:00:00Zstring;#/event/Summer-Law-Series-Sustainable-Procurement
Book Club: "Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends and Colleagues," by David Bradford and Carole Robin Club: "Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends and Colleagues," by David Bradford and Carole Robin2022-06-29T22:00:00Zstring;#/event/Book-Club-Connect-by-David-Bradford-and-Carole-Robin
CONnect Live! Live!2022-06-30T15:30:00Zstring;#/event/CONnect-Live-30-June-2022
COR Office Hours Office Hours2022-07-05T15:45:00Zstring;#/event/COR-Office-Hours 07_05_2022
Summer Law Series 2022: Combating Corruption in Government Contracts Law Series 2022: Combating Corruption in Government Contracts2022-07-06T17:00:00Zstring;#/event/Summer-Law-Series-Corruption-in-Contracts

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