Since its establishment on December 20, 2019, the Space Force has been collaborating with the other military Services and Department of Defense organizations to stand-up best practices for supporting the warfighter. In November, the Space Force asked DAU to conduct a mission assistance workshop focused on Performance Work Statements (PWS).
"DAU has provided on-demand training, consulting, executive coaching and other support over the past 17 years [to the organizations that now are part of the Space Force]," said John Sarakatsannis, DAU Professor of Contract Management and a liaison to Space Systems Command (SSC). DAU’s support to the SSC, formerly Space and Missiles Center, has covered a wide range of topics, including leadership development and upskilling in technical areas such as source selections and project management.
"SSC is an important strategic partner and we have provided them with a wide variety of time-urgent workplace solutions," Sarakatsannis said. "We have become their first choice for acquisition support because of our subject matter expertise and commitment to provide specific workplace learning solutions at the point of need."
Dr. Thomas Mahoney, DAU Professor of Contract Management, supported Space Force’s needs when they were previously aligned under the Air Force, and DAU is excited to continue to support the mission now that it falls under the purview of Space Force. Overall, DAU’s support to SSC impacts more than 6,000 members of the acquisition workforce.
The SSC Training Director recently invited DAU to provide its Development of a Performance Statement of Work workshop to 44 Space Force personnel.
"We were working with them to help get them smarter on the acquisition process," said DAU Mahoney. The workshop included a session that spoke about the range of contracts. DAU’s guidance focused on specific and necessary contracting skills, such as how to determine the most suitable contracting type which opened up a lot more probing questions about the benefits of each type.
"They’re really sharp and have a tremendous wealth knowledge and experience," said Mahoney about attendees. "Everyone at DAU has to be able to perform up to their standards; the U.S. Space Force cadre is the best in the world." In addition to expert field instruction, DAU also provided attendees with ready-to-use tools and helped them to apply their knowledge to better support the Service.
Mahoney explained to participants how the PWS influences the cost of the effort and how the government ensures it is getting the service that was contracted and paid for. The workshop addressed a variety of topics, including: requirements standards, quality assurance surveillance plans and independent government cost estimates. The workshop also provided information on how to review and understand contractors’ quality control plans, work breakdown structures, risk management plans and how Federal Acquisition Regulations Part 11 interacts with the acquisition process.
These efforts are just some examples of DAU’s strategic consulting support, and Rob Tremaine, Associate Dean for Outreach and Mission Assistance at DAU's West Region explained that DAU continues to meet with senior acquisition leaders at SSC and other key partners to explore where else DAU can provide even greater workplace impacts. “We are committed to providing world-class content and frictionless learning in the years ahead,” Sarakatsannis said.
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