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DoD Labs: A Key Contribution to the Defense Mission Labs: A Key Contribution to the Defense Mission2021-04-06T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass12BABC35C1DE4CEC85EE0F9DA65A8CA6">One important way the Department of Defense (DoD) accomplishes its mission is by transferring its inventions to industry for final development and manufacture. This allows the U.S. military to leverage the innovative skills, financial resources, and rapid-response capabilities of the American private sector and benefit from discoveries in DoD’s own nationwide network of research and development labs.<br> <br> This article describes how transferring DoD lab inventions to industry benefits the U.S. defense mission. First, it provides a brief overview of technology transfer (T2). Then, it explains the various ways that license agreements (one of the major T2 mechanisms) directly support the defense mission. Next, it addresses how businesses and entrepreneurs find DoD lab inventions available for licensing. Finally, it highlights several examples of DoD lab-developed technologies that are now benefiting the U.S. Warfighter. <h2>What Is Technology Transfer?</h2> Technology transfer, in simple terms, is the exchange of technology between the public and private sectors. This exchange can flow in either direction—for example, from a DoD lab to a company, or vice versa. Alternatively, new technology can be collaboratively developed by a DoD lab and a company for their respective applications. However it occurs, T2 clearly assists DoD with its defense mission.<br> <br> The prevailing guidance for DoD T2 is summarized in Directive 5535.03: “Domestic T2 activities are integral elements of...the DoD national security mission. ... T2 supports a strong industrial base that the Department of Defense may utilize to supply DoD needs. Those activities must have a high-priority role in all DoD acquisition programs and are recognized as a key activity of the DoD laboratories and all other DoD activities (such as test, logistics, and product centers and depots and arsenals).”<br> <br> DoD has a comprehensive suite of T2 mechanisms to enable partnering with industry. Of these, license agreements are one of the most important. DoD frequently patents inventions made by its approximately 35,000 scientists and engineers. The 65 or so major DoD research facilities nationwide generate approximately 600 patented inventions a year in virtually all technology areas. Through the use of license agreements, many of these inventions, along with certain unpatented inventions (such as software and biological materials), are transferred to industry.<br> <br> License agreements enable companies to transform DoD inventions into new products that support the defense mission and benefit the U.S. economy. They are used when companies intend to produce so-called “dual use” technologies (which have both military and commercial applications), products that have strictly commercial uses, or products for sale to friendly U.S. military allies. License agreements are not needed when companies produce DoD inventions exclusively for U.S. Government use. <h2>Supporting the Defense Mission</h2> License agreements support the defense mission in several essential ways. First, unless DoD lab inventions are transferred to industry, they are not likely to be put into operational use. DoD is not in the business of manufacturing equipment, weapons, and supplies. Instead, it needs to transfer its inventions to companies for conversion into new products that the U.S. military can procure.<br> <br> Second, license agreements provide a cost-effective way to get new technology to the U.S. Warfighter. Only a minor part of the cost of a new product is the expense of developing the underlying technology to the patent stage. By licensing its inventions to industry, DoD is able to offload the very substantial costs of transforming early-stage technologies or lab-bench prototypes into new defense-related products. Industry covers the majority of the product development costs. The alternative—contracting with a defense contractor for custom design and production of a defense-related product—is usually far more expensive.<br> Third, license agreements leverage industry’s capabilities in developing and maturing technologies. While universities and federal labs conduct most basic research in the United States, industry undertakes the majority of the nation’s applied research and advanced technology development. License agreements harness industry’s capability to help get DoD inventions into the hands of the U.S. Warfighter in a timely way.<br> <br> Fourth, license agreements reduce the cost and improve the supply chain for military products that also have civilian applications. Often, the commercial market for “dual use” technologies is larger and more continuous than the military market, which waxes and wanes in direct response to the ebb and flow of military operations. Commercial sales enabled by licensing create economies of scale that reduce DoD’s procurement costs. In addition, ongoing commercial sales help sustain the defense industrial base and ensure a more reliable supply of the military versions of these products.<br> <br> Finally, license agreements engage innovative, agile companies that are not traditional defense contractors. Most DoD licensing partners are small or medium-size businesses that have not previously interacted with the DoD. Many are highly innovative and entrepreneurial. Their capabilities strengthen the U.S. defense mission. Licensing its inventions to these companies enables DoD to expand its industrial base to innovative, nontraditional defense contractors. <h2>How Businesses Find and License DoD Inventions</h2> How do businesses find DoD inventions available for licensing? Some DoD labs list available inventions on their websites, promote them at trade shows, or send out technology availability announcements. However, the majority of DoD license agreements occur through the brokering efforts of TechLink, DoD’s national T2 partnership intermediary. Since 2000, TechLink has helped DoD labs establish more than 850 license agreements with industry. It currently facilitates or brokers nearly 80 percent of DoD license agreements. TechLink’s activities are funded through a line item in the annual Air Force research, development, test and evaluation budget.<br> <br> To help companies and entrepreneurs find DoD inventions available for licensing, TechLink manages the only public-access, continuously updated database of all active DoD patents, accessible at <a href=""></a>. Entities seeking licensing opportunities can search this database by keywords, technology area, and DoD lab. The database provides the platform for TechLink’s nationwide marketing of DoD inventions. This involves targeted outreach to industry and the use of social media to promote specific licensing opportunities, communicate licensing success stories, and build awareness of the DoD lab system as a major source of innovation.<br> <br> Using this platform, TechLink identifies qualified companies and entrepreneurs interested in licensing DoD inventions. It subsequently helps them with their license applications and commercialization plans, to ensure they fully meet federal government requirements. In parallel, TechLink helps DoD labs develop effective licensing strategies. The goal is to maximize the benefits of their inventions. More generally, TechLink is helping DoD expand its use of T2 authorities to provide even greater impacts on the defense mission and U.S. economy.<br> <br> Once prospective licensees have applied for a license, TechLink remains involved in the ensuing negotiations as an objective, third-party facilitator or “honest broker.” This helps reach mutually acceptable agreements and increases the likelihood of practical application of the DoD inventions. <h2>Specific Examples</h2> The following are three representative examples of technologies developed in DoD labs—one each from the Army, Navy, and Air Force—that were successfully transferred to industry and subsequently converted into products supporting the U.S. defense mission. All three are also benefiting the national economy and/or improving the lives of American citizens. The inset box summarizes still more examples of successfully transferred DoD lab inventions. <h3><img alt="A soldier with a STORM 2 rifle-mounted laser rangefinder. U.S. Army photo" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Mar-April_2021/MarApr2021_article01_image01.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:358px;height:200px;" />(1) New miniature laser resonator for rangefinders/target designators</h3> To reduce the size, weight, and cost of laser rangefinders and target designators, enabling their use on individual soldier weapons, the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, C5ISR Center, Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (Fort Belvoir, Virginia), invented a small monoblock laser resonator. This invention combines several laser components into a single strong structure (“monoblock”) that produces short-pulse, eye-safe lasers. Most notably, it is able to operate in harsh environments and withstand enormous shocks, such as those generated by the weapon systems to which the monoblock lasers are attached.<br> <br> After this novel laser was patented, the Army licensed it to Scientific Materials Corporation (Bozeman, Montana), which used its unique capabilities to manufacture the needed laser crystals and components for use in the U.S. Army’s Small Tactical Optical Rifle Mounted (STORM) Micro Laser Rangefinder (MLRF). Subsequently, Scientific Materials was acquired by FLIR Systems (Wilsonville, Oregon), the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of thermal imaging cameras, components, and imaging sensors.<br> <br> The Army laser invention now is widely deployed throughout the U.S. military on weapon systems ranging from special operator rifles to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), attack helicopters, and armored fighting vehicles. NASA also uses this laser to assist docking on the International Space Station. Commercially, the monoblock laser is used in flash lidar systems for various 3D mapping and <h3>(2) Communication systems interference minimizer and clarity enhancer</h3> The Air Force Research Laboratory, 711th Human Performance Wing (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio), developed and patented a unique spatial processor to address an operator problem in command and control centers throughout the U.S. military. The challenge involves monitoring multiple, often overlapping conversations and making split-second decisions based on what is heard. The Air Force invented a device that creates the sensation that the multiple voices being monitored come from different spatial locations. This optimally differentiates these voices, making them more readily understandable and reducing operator stress and fatigue. The invention allows operators to effectively monitor five to eight conversations at once, compared to a maximum of three without the technology.<br> <br> <img alt="U.S. Army soldiers in 613th Air and Space Operations Center at Hickam Air Force Base. U.S. Air Force photo " src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Mar-April_2021/MarApr2021_article01_image02.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:right;width:300px;height:200px;" />The Air Force licensed this unique spatial processor to Compunetix (Monroeville, Pennsylvania), a leading developer and manufacturer of digital collaboration systems. The company used the invention to develop state-of-the-art voice communications systems designed specifically for mission control centers.<br> Today, these systems are widely used for mission-critical operations by all branches of the U.S. military. In addition, they are used by NASA, the Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency, Centers for Disease Control, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other federal agencies. Outside the U.S. Government, these spatial processors are used by oil, gas, and power companies; airlines, railroads, and mass transit organizations; and major manufacturers needing to monitor large-scale industrial processes. <h3>(3) Detection kit for improvised explosive devices</h3> The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (Indian Head, Maryland) developed a deceptively simple invention to address one of the most challenging problems in modern warfare—the constant threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which are deployed using roadside bombs, car bombs, or suicide vests. One reason for their prevalence is that IEDs can be made using low-tech methods and readily available materials. To counter this threat, the Navy invented a simple, rapid, low-cost way to detect the basic energetic materials used in IEDs. These “explosive precursors” include ammonium nitrate, urea nitrate, potassium chlorate, and sodium chlorate.<br> <br> <img alt="U.S. troops using explosive detection kit in Afghanistan. U.S. Central Command photo, courtesy of American Innovations, Inc." src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Mar-April_2021/MarApr2021_article01_image03.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:380px;height:200px;" />In areas where IEDs are prevalent, such as Afghanistan, these materials, although illegal, flow freely through the local economy and are difficult to detect. They are easily disguised as bags of cement, sugar, flour, or other bulk goods. Also, they are difficult to differentiate from legal fertilizer materials. Further complicating matters, combat zones often are highly contaminated with explosive residues, making trace-detection methods, such as the sample swabs used in U.S. airports, virtually useless.<br> <br> The Navy invention enables an easy rapid test that requires little training: a pea-sized sample of a suspected explosive material is placed in a test tube containing a small amount of water, the tube is shaken, and a test strip is inserted into the tube. If the test strip turns red or purple within 5 seconds, nitrate is present. If it remains white, a different test strip is combined with a reagent to test for chlorate, which turns the strip blue or black within 10 seconds if this chemical compound is present.<br> <br> This Navy invention was licensed to American Innovations, Inc. (Monsey, New York), which used it to produce the Bulk Homemade Explosives (HME) Precursor Detection Kit, known as AiHME. Each AiHME kit is able to perform 33 full detection tests and has a shelf life of at least three years. It weighs only 6 ounces, and can be strapped onto Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment or attached to a belt. The kit comes with simple illustrated instructions in 25 languages, including Dari, Pashtu, Arabic, Somali, and Urdu, to enable use by partner-nation security forces. The AiHME kit is credited with detecting 440 tons of illegal IED component materials in Afghanistan in 2012 alone. By helping collapse the supply-chain for IED source materials, this Navy lab invention has substantially increased safety in conflict areas for U.S. troops, coalition forces, and civilians. <h3>Other Successfully Transferred DoD Lab Inventions</h3> <ul> <li>Rapidly deployable port security barrier (PSB) to protect valuable assets within a harbor area from attack by explosives-laden watercraft traveling at high speeds. This innovative, cost-effective PSB was developed by the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (Port Hueneme, California) in response to the attack on the USS Cole. It subsequently was exclusively licensed to Truston Technologies, now Oceanetics (Annapolis, Maryland). The company has extensively installed PSBs at Navy installations worldwide. Other customers include the U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and commercial port facilities.</li> <li>Geospatial application for smartphones called ATAK developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Information Directorate (Rome, New York). ATAK displays an interactive layered map showing the location of team members and other critical positions, and enables information-sharing from multiple communication sources. ATAK now is used throughout the U.S. military, particularly by special operator teams, as well as by first responders, law enforcement, and the recreational industry. It has been licensed to more than 100 companies.</li> <li>Next-generation tool for DNA analysis developed by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory—DoD’s only full-service forensic laboratory, now part of the Defense Forensic Science Center (Forest Park, Georgia). This unique software-based system enables rapid analysis of the DNA of up to three people in a single biological sample. The Army exclusively licensed the system to NicheVision Forensics (Akron, Ohio), which used it to develop a product called ArmedXpert, now used worldwide in crime laboratories.</li> <li>Innovative metal coatings developed by the Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division (Patuxent River, Maryland) that prevent corrosion, increase paint cohesion, and meet strict environmental regulations. These metal coatings have been licensed to multiple major paint and coating manufacturers. They are used extensively for U.S. military aircraft, UAVs, marine vessels, and ground vehicles, saving the DoD hundreds of millions of dollars per year in maintenance costs. These Navy-developed coatings also are used on hundreds of consumer products.</li> <li>Attenuating Custom Communication Earpiece System (ACCES), which was developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory 711th Human Performance Wing (Wright- Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio) in collaboration with Westone Laboratories (Colorado Springs, Colorado). ACCES was developed to optimize hearing protection for pilots while providing clear communications in high-noise environments. The Air Force subsequently exclusively licensed ACCES to Westone, which has developed an improved product that is widely used by both air and ground crews. By reducing noise by an average of 30 A-weighted decibels (dBAs), ACCES has significantly reduced the cost of treatment and disability for hearing loss.</li> <li>Shock-absorbing concrete known as SACON, developed by the U.S. Army Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (Vicksburg, Mississippi) for use in firing ranges and targeted structures. This unique, fiber-reinforced concrete absorbs bullets and hand-grenade fragments and eliminates ricochets, greatly increasing safety during live-fire exercises. In addition, by trapping the lead from munitions, SACON substantially reduces the costs of hazardous waste disposal and environmental remediation. SACON has been licensed to multiple companies and is widely used in constructing live-fire training facilities for the U.S. military, National Guard, law enforcement personnel, and commercial shooting ranges.</li> </ul> <img alt="Next-generation DNA analysis is just one of the many developments by DoD Labs." src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Mar-April_2021/MarApr2021_article01_image04.jpg" style="width:655px;height:200px;margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;" /> <hr />Cusker is executive director of TechLink, DoD’s national technology transfer partnership intermediary. He retired as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force in 2016.<br> <br> Leach, TechLink’s associate director, oversees the organization’s technology licensing program for the DoD laboratory system. He has a PhD in materials science and engineering.<br> <br> Swearingen, TechLink’s senior advisor, served as TechLink’s executive director from 2000 to 2018. He has a PhD in geography.<br> <br> The authors can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>, <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>; <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/A-Key-Contribution-to-the-Defense-Mission
Selecting Alternate Grade Parts The Trials and Tribulations Alternate Grade Parts The Trials and Tribulations2021-03-30T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClassC36EFCD8479E40E8A5801CFFFD33F206"><img alt="An Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, inspects aircraft landing gear. U.S. Air Force photo by Joshua J. Seybert" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Mar-April_2021/MarApr2021_article06_image1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:300px;height:621px;" />Selecting a new or replacement alternate-grade part, such as an automotive grade connector for a military or aerospace system, can be tricky. The best approach would use an already qualified, approved, and preferred part with known reliability and longevity characteristics. However, with lengthening life cycles for military systems, rapid technology development, materiel shortages, and other factors, replacements may be needed for parts that are no longer in production or otherwise available. Given this situation, employing established parts management and diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages (DMSMS) management procedures can assist in finding and selecting alternate-grade parts to fit a system’s need. <h3>The Market Evolution</h3> The commercial parts market—especially the commercial electronics market, has changed dramatically over the last several decades—creating the need and the opportunity for designers and manufacturers to consider alternate-grade parts in military systems. When the DoD led the electronics market, the automotive and aircraft industries and others with special requirements turned to military-grade parts requiring high reliability, high-temperature resistance, hermetic sealing, robust mechanical strength, vibration resistance, and other qualities needed for operating under severe environmental stress.<br> <br> In the 1940s, government demand largely drove the growth of development and manufacturing for the electronics industry. Beginning in the 1970s, the demand for electronic components shifted with the advent of industry automation and computers for business use. The commercial electronic industry further evolved in the 1990s, from demand for personal computers, mobile phones, and other consumer electronics.<br> <br> The electronics business evolved from business-to-government, to business-to-business, and now to business-to-individual relationships. Military and space customers no longer have major influence. According to the 2019 Semiconductor Industry Association Factbook, government accounts for 1 percent of the semiconductor market, automotive and industrial buyers were 24 percent, and the remaining 75 percent of the market went to consumer products, such as smartphones and personal computers. Cellphones and tablet computers drive the electronics industry, so that cost, time to market, and volume production are keys to competitiveness. Systems needing long-lasting components are in the minority. The shorter life cycles of electronic components designed for the individual consumer market contribute to obsolescence issues for military equipment and systems.<br> <br> In the past, automotive and industrial customers looked to the defense market. Today, the automotive and industrial electronics market, with its greater demand, offers the defense market an alternative for effectively sourcing electronic parts. The requirements for parts designed and manufactured for the automotive industry and other industrial operations are closer to the requirements for defense systems and offer less risk than the parts manufactured by the consumer product market. <h3>What Is an Alternate-Grade Part?</h3> An alternate-grade part is designed and manufactured for non-DoD applications, is not documented by military-unique specifications or drawings, and is not manufactured specifically to meet military requirements, leading to wide variation among commercial applications and the associated performance requirements and operating environments.<br> <br> Outside the consumer product segment, a wide variety of parts are designed and manufactured to meet more rigorous requirements and function reliably under stressful operating conditions. Aviation, automotive, industrial plant, and medical devices have applications that may require greater performance and quality, and face more demanding environmental conditions. In addition, the rapid increase of electronics content in automotive applications creates a significant opportunity to leverage the greater choice and availability of electronic functions that can meet many military applications. In some cases, the established standards for quality and performance for these applications can be used to evaluate part acceptability for a specific design requirement.<br> <br> Table 1 shows a few common differences among varying applications of commercial electronic parts compared to parts designed specifically for space or military applications. Environmental stresses refer to operational temperatures, vibration, radiation exposure, and operation in harsh geographic conditions, such as salt spray, sand, and high altitudes. In addition to the physical difference, the markets for these applications differ greatly in demand, production volume, and pricing. <h3>Potential benefits of alternate-grade part</h3> <strong>Newer technology</strong><br> The competitiveness of the commercial market for parts and customer demand drives technological advances, such as enhanced performance, decreased size and weight, and increased quality and reliability, especially for electronic components, which have experienced a great increase in application and demand in recent decades. By tapping the commercial market, DoD accesses newer and improved technology in state-of-the-art parts.<br> <br> However, selecting new technologies has trade-offs. DoD Standardization Document 22 (SD-22), Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages Guide, notes that new technologies can deliver an important defense capability more effectively but care must be taken to balance performance and reliability when employing new technologies.<br> <br> <strong>Better availability </strong><br> The commercial market offers access to a larger supplier base of commercial manufacturers. In most cases, the size of the commercial market for parts dwarfs the defense-unique market. Over time, due to low demand, manufacturers may stop producing defense-unique parts. This causes parts to become obsolete or unavailable to meet defense sustainment requirements, resulting in back orders and system downtime. The larger commercial market can increase parts availability and reduce lead times, especially for replacement parts.<br> <br> SD-22 furnishes the example of selecting field-programmable gate arrays instead of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). This choice enables purchasing of much larger quantities of a part type and thereby results in volume discounts, improved factory support, and reduced development cycle time and cost. However, the lower power and higher performance for an ASIC part designed for a specific task may be desirable where the volume or performance justifies ASIC development. Furthermore, since the commercial market can be more volatile than the defense market, parts may become obsolete sooner.<br> <br> <strong>Reduced cost </strong><br> Defense-unique parts, manufactured to military specifications, are produced in relatively small quantities and must comply with costly defense requirements for manufacturing, qualification, and testing. Commercial parts, produced in large quantities and competitively priced, offer potential cost reduction for defense systems. <table border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width:700px;"> <caption>Table 1. Standard Operating Environment for Electronic Parts Designed for Commercial Versus Military Applications</caption> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong>Part application</strong></td> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong>Operational temp. range</strong></td> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong>Performance and quality assurance standards</strong></td> <td style="text-align:center;"><strong>Relative level of environmental stress </strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">Space</td> <td style="text-align:center;">−55° to 125°C</td> <td style="text-align:center;">AIAA, NASA, and<br> Endorsed Military Standards</td> <td style="text-align:center;">High</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">Military</td> <td style="text-align:center;">−55° to 125°C</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Military Standards</td> <td style="text-align:center;">High</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">Automotive</td> <td style="text-align:center;">−40° to 125°C</td> <td style="text-align:center;">AEC Q Series</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Medium</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">Industrial</td> <td style="text-align:center;">−40° to 85°C</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Industry Specific</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Medium</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">Consumer Products</td> <td style="text-align:center;">0° to 70°C</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Manufacturer Established</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Low</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> AEC = Automotive Electronics Council; AIAA = American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics;<br> NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration.<br> Source: The authors. <h3>Selecting an Alternate-Grade Part</h3> According to SD-19, Parts Management Guidebook, there several factors to consider in deciding on an alternate-grade part (see Figure 1). Specifically, an in-house parts selection process should be established for the parts management representative, the Parts Management Board, or a parts-selection integrated program team to follow and document.<br> <br> Other factors to address include the following: <ul> <li>Part reliability and availability. Will the alternate part work when needed, and will it perform as well as and for as long as needed?</li> <li>Mission and part criticality. Using alternate-grade parts instead of military-grade parts might be appropriate in certain defense applications if the mission and application for these products can tolerate reduced short-term or long-term quality or reliability.</li> <li>Operating and storage environment. Parts that function properly in normal environments may not perform adequately in space under extreme radiation, pressure, vibration, and temperatures. Likewise, a part intended for a dry environment may not perform adequately in a wet and corrosive marine environment. Parts stored in extreme environments without temperature control or monitoring may be unusable when needed.</li> <li>Specific application in the system. A lower-grade part may be adequate for the job based on an evaluation of mission requirements.</li> <li>Availability of testing and usage data. If adequate testing and qualification data are available from the manufacturer, it may be easy to assess the potential use of an alternate part. For example, evaluation can be easier for military uses of a part supported by manufacturer test data of failure rates and performance data, along with methods for excluding parts with defects, weak parts, and counterfeit parts. An example is parts certified by the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC).</li> <li>Accepted standards. Does testing show an alternate part meets (or doesn’t meet) accepted standards, such as mechanical, electrical, and environmental tests detailing part materials, design, and performance, as well as the parts reliability to meet the system requirements?</li> <li>Cost-benefit analysis. Part qualification and testing have an associated cost but may prove worth the investment, depending the criticality of the part.</li> </ul> <strong>To maximize standardization and reduce life-cycle costs, alternate-grade parts should be selected based on the order of preference list in Military Standard 3018, “Parts Management”:</strong> <ul> <li>Parts required to meet government regulatory requirements</li> <li>Parts that are readily available within the DoD system, have projected continued usage within DoD, and have a documented technical description available to DoD and industry</li> <li>Industry standard parts from DoD-adopted non-government standards</li> <li>Military and other government standard parts</li> <li>Industry standard parts from other non-government standards</li> <li>Commonly available manufacturers’ part numbers from catalogs and component manufacturer drawings</li> <li>Other (e.g., parts documented on source control drawings, selected item drawings, and altered item drawings)</li> </ul> <img alt="Figure 1. Alternate-Grade Part Selection" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Mar-April_2021/MarApr2021_article06_figure1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:400px;height:229px;" /><strong>Part qualification</strong> tests a sample of parts from a single production line to verify compliance with performance requirements and validate production process controls.<br> <br> <strong>Part screening </strong>tests every part for conformance to performance requirements and removes parts that fail or show defects indicating potential failure.<br> <br> <strong>Part derating </strong>reduces stress or makes qualitative allowances for a part’s functional degradation to ensure that it will not be exposed to more stress than it can withstand.<br> <br> <strong>Part uprating </strong>assesses the ability of a part to meet performance requirements when the part is used outside of the manufacturer’s specified temperature range. <h3>Additional Measures</h3> Additional measures can reduce the risk from using alternate-grade parts by ensuring reliability and performance in the intended application. These measures may be part-oriented, such as part qualification, screening, derating, and uprating to ensure that the part meets the specific, intended application.<br> <br> Effective measures can come from process changes, such as planning for more frequent part refreshes, building in redundancy, and furnishing additional insulation against environmental extremes. Another method uses existing standards—e.g., AEC-Q specifications—to predict performance and reliability.<br> <br> <img alt="Maintenance is performed on an unmanned aircraft system. Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew McNeil" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Mar-April_2021/MarApr2021_article06_image2.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:500px;height:251px;" />The additional overall part acquisition cost and time of implementing such measures must be weighed against the benefits of using an alternate-grade part, which can be considerable. Beyond the potential cost savings, an alternate-grade part may offer improved technology or a value-added reduction in size and weight and may be more readily available from a larger supplier base than a military-grade part, supplying future reductions in lead times and costs. <hr />Acknowledgments: The authors thank their colleagues who reviewed this article, including Greg Saunders, Director, Defense Standardization Program Office (DSPO); Robin Brown, Parts Management and DMSMS Program Manager, DSPO; Brian Mansir, Senior Consultant, LMI; David Locker, Supervisor, Electronic Parts/Processes Technology, Army Futures Command; Tracy Daubenspeck, Operations Lead, Obsolescence Management Division, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport Division; and Sultan Ali Lilani, Integra Technologies, Director, Technical Support. <hr />Greinke is a senior consultant at LMI, where he supports the Defense Standardization Program Office in Department of Defense (DoD) parts and Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages management, strategic objective planning and execution, process improvement, knowledge portals, case studies, and training. He has more than 35 years of experience in a wide range of subjects, including U.S. military operations, parts management, DoD programming and budgeting, science and technology studies and experimentation, international armaments cooperation, and intelligence analysis.<br> <br> Metz is a senior consultant at LMI, supporting the Defense Standardization Program Office and the Defense Logistics Agency. She has more than 35 years of experience in DoD logistics, specializing in product data management, quality assurance, material standardization, parts management, counterfeit prevention, and acquisition of commercial items.<br> <br> The authors may be contacted through <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Selecting-Alternate-Grade-Parts-The-Trials-and-Tribulations
Please Change the Acquisition Culture! Change the Acquisition Culture!2021-03-23T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClassB7E174CE018D4BD3A2BF7EB00B8E0435">One of the recent themes in Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition reform is the need for culture change. The consensus is that our culture is too risk-averse, too resistant to change, and too focused on compliance. While defense acquisition is a very broad subject that involves many different organizations, stakeholders, and cultures, this article will focus on an acquisition program office.<br> <br> The recent rollout of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF) provides impetus and opportunity for significant culture change. The framework empowers milestone decision authorities (MDAs) and program managers (PMs) with broad authority to plan and manage their programs. DoD Instruction 5000.02, Operation of the AAF, directs PMs to “employ a thoughtful, innovative, and disciplined approach to program management” and identifies that the acquisition system needs a culture of performance. PMs should ensure that the culture in their program office suits the new landscape, including actions to shift away from the legacy culture they may have inherited.<br> <br> MDAs and PMs cannot go it alone when addressing acquisition culture change. Congress plays an important role by enabling the change through statutory language that DoD receives every year in defense authorization acts and other statutes. All the oversight and emphasis on legal, regulatory, and policy requirements have contributed to a compliance-focused acquisition environment. Changing this culture, which has existed for decades, will not be easy and must be a concerted effort. Other key stakeholders such as the requirements, test, comptroller, and headquarters staff organizations must support the culture change as PMs rely on their collaboration for success.<br> <br> PMs plan and execute programs in a program office that can include hundreds of business, technical, and functional staff. So, assuming the PM wants to transform the program office culture, how would one go about it, what should it look like, and how would we know when we have achieved it?<br> <br> We will begin by identifying some common issues in the acquisition culture. They often appear in climate or organizational effectiveness surveys when new PMs baseline their new organization to get a feel of strengths, issues, and potential areas for improvement. As I reflect on many of these climate surveys—some of which I have helped administer for other organizations as a third-party consultant—common threads for improvement often emerge. Survey respondents identify issues such as poor communications, unclear roles and responsibilities, too many layers of management, excessive micro-management, lack of trust, and lack of empowerment.<br> <br> Many of these common issues link back to the longstanding risk-averse and compliance-focused culture. These issues will lead to behaviors that become ingrained in the organization, and we can observe the “culture in action” in the daily conversations and behaviors of staff. Newcomers to the organization will quickly learn the unwritten rules as they observe how things operate in different scenarios and routine tasks. For example, one may learn quickly that a poor quality paper or presentation is acceptable, as long as the individual submits it on time and has included a minimum of content. Even though the presentation has multiple errors and does not fully address the important issues, no one provides that feedback to the originator. The message becomes clear: Just submit something on time, even a poor product.<br> <br> Confronted with these issues, PMs should take corrective actions, as the issues will not go away and usually get worse over time. Many of these climate survey issues can be resolved by changing the organizational culture. The imperative to change the culture should follow a process that starts with a baseline of the current organization, identifies issues and weaknesses, and then addresses a plan of action for change. The process will take time to yield results, but it is well worth the time and effort. While there are numerous models from organizational development experts, Figure 1 shows an approach based on my experience and reflects many common elements found in other process models. PMs can leverage the expertise of many organization development specialists as they decide to implement such a process.<br> <br> As the model shows, the critical upfront question is what behaviors do we want to ingrain and reinforce in the new culture? One could come up with a long list, but I will discuss my top three behavior categories. Within each behavior category, I will identify an example of the desired behavior. <h3><img alt="Figure 1. An Approach to Culture Change" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Mar-April_2021/MarApr2021_article02_figure01.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:right;width:357px;height:400px;" />1. Critical Thinking</h3> Outside of the functional core competencies, critical thinking is the top skill needed in defense acquisition. This skill improves with practical application and training. PMs must carefully plan how to establish a critical thinking culture and ensure that integrated product teams embrace this skill. Priority should be given to developing both individual and team skills while establishing group norms and expectations.<br> <br> One important behavior associated with critical thinking is to take an objective view of possible courses of action. This involves active listening and fact finding to avoid the tendency to jump to a conclusion after only a cursory review of information. The critical thinker applies a disciplined analytical approach to the task and employs appropriate intellectual standards throughout the process.<br> <br> Many years ago my team was recommending a sole-source business strategy based on a lack of data rights for a complex integration effort and a legacy of previous sole-source contracts. My boss suggested that I work with the project team and stakeholders to explore other alternatives, including the costs, risks, and benefits. After additional analysis and deeper thinking, we developed a strategy that avoided a sole-source contract to the original equipment manufacturer. The new approach would cost less and open the door to greater competition in subsequent contracting actions. This experience highlighted the general need to analyze alternatives and new possibilities with an open mind and fully explore the realm of the possible. Critical thinking enables these new possibilities, but only if the culture reinforces this behavior. <h3>2. Trust</h3> DoD acquisition has historically lacked trust. We see it in the continued attempts at acquisition policy reform, new policy mandates, and intense oversight. This lack of trust flows downhill and eventually lands in the program office. The data is clear on the importance of organizational trust. Studies show that organizations with high trust not only deliver better outcomes but are more desirable places to work and have higher morale.<br> <br> A common behavior associated with trust is to empower staff. A strong, motivating influence is imparted when team members see that leadership has chartered them to accomplish some important objective and they own it. People like to be challenged, but they also want the support and help they need to meet the challenge without being micro-managed.<br> <br> In my industry experience, I had no choice with a lean staff but to empower my team. The business model, unlike most government organizations, also provided a great deal of autonomy to managers in running their part of the organization. Managers at each level understood that they would be accountable for achieving their business goals. This autonomy actually enhanced communication and teamwork as managers would assess their business progress, identify barriers or issues, and seek assistance from others when appropriate. Assistance included practices such as offering aggressive price discounts, sharing resources across business centers, or approving of the hiring and firing of personnel. Compensation incentives at a larger business-unit level encouraged the teamwork and collaboration to meet the desired outcomes.<br> <br> DoD PMs should empower integrated product teams in the program office and give them the autonomy and support to develop sound plans and strategies. Once the staff believes that leadership trusts them, great things will happen. <h3>3. Continuous Learning</h3> The pace of new technology, emerging threats, and new methodologies means that acquisition professionals must improve and learn new skills. As many have suggested, if we are just staying the same and not improving, then we are going backward. Continuous learning does not necessarily mean that staff must disengage from work while taking training courses. We all have opportunities every day to learn something new.<br> <br> One of my previous organizations instituted regular “integration weeks.” These integration weeks, typically occurring during a shortened holiday week, were devoted to special topics, catch-up training, brown-bag lunch learning sessions, and other events designed to instill a culture of continuous learning. Most sessions were not mandatory, but attendance was usually very robust. As a newcomer to the organization, I asked a colleague why the learning sessions were so popular. She indicated that subject-matter experts conducted the sessions with relevant content, and there was a good exchange of ideas. Sometimes we even follow up with the experts to explore something further or to vet ideas on how to solve a problem. Continuous learners seek new ideas and knowledge and are eager to apply it on the job. <h3>Measuring Culture Change</h3> Culture change, like any significant change initiative, should involve multiple strategies and supporting actions. As we develop the change plan, we should ensure that our efforts are measurable. If we cannot measure the progress with meaningful metrics, we do not have an effective plan.<br> <br> There are many possible metrics, but they should include both soft and hard measures. By soft, we mean things like job satisfaction, trust, communications, and work environment. Climate surveys are a good tool to capture these soft measures. PMs should introduce the survey and its importance in advance and then address results of and actions to make timely improvements. It sends a bad message to the staff when communications and follow-up lag, so consider providing an interim update if needed and communicate the actions and progress.<br> <br> The hard metrics should link either directly or indirectly to business results. These measures provide insight into how well the organization is accomplishing its mission. While each organization will have unique circumstances, items such as process time, quality checks, system cycle time, cost savings, and value assessments of delivered capability are some examples. Most change models suggest establishing some early success metrics to gain confidence in the change and build momentum. <h3>Final Thoughts</h3> Many have suggested that changing the culture is the most difficult challenge in bringing about real change in acquisition. It all starts with leadership setting the standard and then leading by example. Leaders at all levels should continually reinforce the desired behaviors and avoid any temptation to revert to the old, familiar ways. It will not be easy, but now is the time to get started.<br> <br> Please share your ideas and experience with culture change. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and we can all benefit from collaborating on new ideas and methods. I am optimistic that we can complete this difficult task, but only if we fully commit to it and stay the course! <hr />Schultz is a professor of Program Management and an executive coach in DAU’s Capital and Northeast Region at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.<br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Please-Change--the-Acquisition-Culture!
Mindsets: Success Through Focus Success Through Focus2021-03-16T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass65EFEBA008B2473AA55214AA274F15B9">In decision theory and in general systems theory, a mindset is a set of assumptions, methods, or notions held by one or more people or groups of people. A mindset can also be seen as arising out of a person’s worldview or philosophy of life.<br> <br> A mindset may be so firmly established that it creates a powerful incentive within people or groups to continue adopting or accepting prior behaviors, choices, or tools. The latter phenomenon also is sometimes described as mental inertia, or groupthink, and it is often difficult to counteract its effects on analyses and decision-making processes. <h3>Fixed mindset</h3> Situations are inborn, fixed, and unchangeable. “We’ve always done it that way.”<br> <br> In a fixed mindset, individuals working in program management may believe that their basic abilities, intelligence, and talents are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. <h3>Growth mindset</h3> Situations can be developed and strengthened, by focus, commitment, and hard work. “Why do we always do it that way?”<br> <br> In a growth mindset, success-oriented individuals understand that their programs can be enhanced through effort, good management practices, and perseverance. They don’t necessarily believe that they can achieve perfection, but they do believe that their programs can always be made better, more robust, and more defensible if they work at it. Individuals with growth mindsets are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks.<br> <br> The sections that follow describe growth mindsets that I have observed and written about many times over the years. The first is the cornerstone mindset for successful program management: Continuous Improvement. <blockquote> <p style="text-align:center;">A mindset is a continuing focus on the big picture, reminding the manager that something can always be made better.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Continuous improvement</h3> A continuous improvement process, often called a continual improvement process, is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. Continuous improvement seeks “incremental” improvement over time, and sometimes “breakthrough” improvement all at once. Figure 1 summarizes the continuous improvement mindset in action.<br> <br> The continuous improvement cycle means that you: <ul> <li>Analyze the target process.</li> <li>Test the process(es); establish desired performance goals.</li> <li>Develop measurable improvements.</li> <li>Measure the improved process; develop an</li> <li>action plan to achieve the goals.</li> <li>Report findings; establish ongoing feedback.</li> </ul> Note Step 5: If you don’t have feedback, you will never be certain of the success (or failure) of the other steps. <h3><img alt="Figure 1. The Continuous Improvement Mindset " src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Mar-April_2021/MarApr2021_article07_figure1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:250px;height:300px;" />Corporate responsibility management</h3> DoD program managers and DoD contractors need to identify all the ethical issues associated with contract performance. The contractors need to recognize their obligation to deliver value and the direct relationship between their reputation and that value. Contractors put their names on their product, whether they realize it or not; and DoD validates their performance, whether it realizes that or not. Day-in, day-out allegiance to a corporate responsibility management system starts at the top—by example and not by fiat.<br> <br> Organizational ethics concerns systemic reflection on the rules and issues about people’s behavior. A robust corporate responsibility management program institutionalizes those ethical rules and practices in the conduct of the organization. For our purposes, corporate responsibility management is the creation and control of processes by which DoD contractors perform to established, measurable, standards of ethical practice.<br> A DoD contractor’s corporate responsibility management policy and program development should: <ul> <li>Clearly state management’s commitment to high standards of ethical practice.</li> <li>Be consistent with management’s vision and strategies for the future.</li> <li>Permit measurable objectives to be developed.</li> <li>Be widely disseminated within the organization and among other stakeholders.</li> <li>Document its objectives clearly and be reviewed routinely, and be the object of continual improvement.</li> <li>Be reflected in all material written and produced.</li> </ul> <blockquote> <div style="text-align:center;">Warfighters are nearly always the customer or the end user. If the product or service does not meet the specifications, some of them really may not come home.</div> </blockquote> <h3>Risk assessment and management</h3> Terms like risk analysis, risk assessment, and risk management often are used interchangeably and can include various different concepts or strategies. Approaches can be simple or complex, although simpler is almost always better. Properly conducted risk management permits decision making based on realistic scenario assumptions and provides defensible justification, before limited resources are committed.<br> Properly conducted risk assessments based on lifelike scenario assumptions lead program managers to either justify or preclude commitments of time and funding in making their decisions.<br> <br> There are many approaches to meaningful risk management. Modeling (e.g., using an Excel spreadsheet) provides risk planners with a simple but comprehensive management tool for identifying mission threats, criticalities and vulnerabilities. Best of all, it can help identify and assess logical, defensible, conclusions, and potentially mitigating actions and other steps. <h3>Quality management</h3> In my 50+ years of management experience, I know of few expressions more used, abused, or otherwise amateurishly bantered around more than “quality.” The “cop-out” definition of quality used to be “conformance to specifications.” That would bring the hit-the-wall response: “So, then, is a Ford Pinto built to specifications of higher quality than a Rolls-Royce that may not be?” Such is the stuff of broke companies and rich consultants. You need not worry about it.<br> You do need to worry about the thornier follow-on definition: “Meets or exceeds the requirements of the customer.” That begs the question: “Who is the customer, and (therefore) who defines quality?” That’s easy, Mr. or Ms. DoD program manager: You are the customer, and you define quality. You and the contractor must develop a robust quality management plan for the product or service, complete with milestones, metrics, audits, feedback loops, and reviews; and you must totally involve the Warfighters.<br> <br> Management focuses on audit results and milestone achievement; mindset also focuses on mission fulfillment (of the product or service), and the scrupulous involvement and feedback of Warfighters. Warfighters are nearly always the customer or the end user. If the product or service does not meet the specifications, some of them really may not come home. Remember that. <h3><img alt="A person climbing stairs with the past three years written on each stair" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Mar-April_2021/MarApr2021_article07_image1.jpg" style="margin-left:3px;margin-right:3px;float:left;width:392px;height:300px;" />Sustainment</h3> <p>For DoD, sustainment is the provision of logistics, financial management, personnel services, and health service support necessary to maintain operations until successful mission completion. Sustainment operations enable force readiness.</p> <p>A sustainment mindset means the ability to foresee operational requirements and initiate actions that satisfy a response without waiting for an operation order or fragmentary order. Forward-thinking sustainment commanders and staffs visualize future operations, identify required support, and start the processes of acquiring and providing the sustainment that best supports the operation. Tabletop exercises are an excellent venue for such visualization.<br> <br> Sustainment planners should anticipate requirements before maneuver task force commanders ask for them, and posture vehicles and drivers ahead of time.<br> Continuity means providing uninterrupted sustainment across all levels of war. It is achieved through a system of integrated and focused networks that link sustainment to support capabilities and operations across all levels of war. Continuity ensures confidence in sustainment, which allows commanders freedom of action, increased operational reach, and prolonged endurance.</p> <h3>Environmental management</h3> <p>Technically complex environmental problems seem to outnumber simple, effective mitigations. This leads to public confusion, frustration, discouragement, and (eventually) apathy. However, if you think having an environmental management program is expensive, try not having one. Let that sink in. I have given that warning to many clients. Most listened, but some didn’t; and the most necessary DoD program can be stopped dead in its tracks if a DoD contractor (a shipyard, for example) creates an environmentally hazardous incident.<br> However laudable or necessary your program, your contractor will not succeed without a proactive environmental management program, one with strong roots in pollution prevention and energy conservation. It is not enough that a DoD contractor be environmentally compliant. Environmental compliance is not environmental management. Your contractors are not in charge when they are only in compliance. Only when they have effective environmental management programs are they not just compliant, but ethical, responsible, profitable, self-sustaining, and the best neighbor possible.<br> An environmental management mindset constantly reminds contractors and program managers that:</p> <ul> <li>Environmental strategies complement each other. Decreasing the generation of pollutants reduces the complexity of the recycling or disposal effort. Also, conserving energy reduces pollution (e.g., less exhaust gas).</li> <li>Environmental strategies produce opportunities for cost avoidance. For example, initiatives such as “going paperless” or recycling office paper reduces not only waste, but the cost of disposing of it. Conserving energy lowers operating costs.</li> <li>Effective pollution prevention begins with realizing that there is no single all-encompassing solution to environmental problems. Rather, we need to identify all the problems, and then identify a broad spectrum of preventive and corrective measures, looking always for “synergies” whereby one action solves or mitigates more than one problem.</li> <li>Effective pollution prevention can mean technologically improving a process, or just not doing it at all. Simply reducing the number of times that you do something (or stop doing it altogether) does not require a big research and development budget. And it will make a measurable improvement almost immediately.</li> <li>Physical waste is not only an environmental problem that must be dealt with; it is a waste of an organization’s time and resources. Recycling pollutant material is good, but not as good as not creating it in the first place.</li> </ul> <h3>Test planning</h3> Test planning consists primarily of (1) development testing during the component design process and (2) unit qualification testing to ensure that the final production design meets specifications. Component test plans may create attendant requirements for design of the test equipment itself, plus allocation of required support funding.<br> <br> A test-planning mindset means that program managers should identify every point in which a component or system requires testing and validation, the degree of accuracy, and the data to be collected and analyzed. Where management focuses on the test planning, mindset focuses on that plus the feedback from the testing and how it is re-incorporated into the component, the system, the final product, and the mission for which it was created. <h3>Cyber Security</h3> Cyber security, also referred to as “information technology security,” focuses on protecting computers, networks, programs, and data from unintended or unauthorized access, change, or destruction.<br> <br> Governments, military, corporations, financial institutions, hospitals, and other businesses collect, process, and store a great deal of confidential information on computers and transmit that data across networks to other computers. With the growing volume and sophistication of cyber attacks, ongoing attention is required to protect sensitive business and personal information, as well as safeguard national security.<br> <br> A cyber-security mindset means that program managers must be security managers as well, making security one of their missions and then approaching it like any other. They must establish policies and procedures, conduct risk assessments, implement processes, identify corrective actions. And audit. <blockquote> <div style="text-align:center;">If you think that having an environmental management program is expensive, try not having one.</div> </blockquote> <h3>Reliability-Centered Maintenance</h3> Reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) focuses on ensuring that equipment always functions reliably. RCM involves assessing each piece of equipment (or component) individually and as part of a larger system and in terms of how it is being used, or in some quantifiable measurement scheme. RCM identifies weak or failure points and uses that information to develop systems and schedules of preventive maintenance.<br> <br> Comprehensive preventive maintenance programs for systems or equipment will, in turn, impact personnel, training and/or qualification requirements, maintenance down times, simulators, stock inventory, and/or turnover.<br> <br> An RCM mindset requires continuously examining and addressing actual and potential reliability issues and failures, and revising maintenance requirements as appropriate. <blockquote> <div style="text-align:center;">RCM involves assessing each piece of equipment (or component) individually and as part of a larger system.</div> </blockquote> <h3>System Integration and Connectivity</h3> System Integration involves bringing together component subsystems into one system. It is an aggregation of subsystems cooperating so that the resultant system is able to deliver an overarching functionality or capability by ensuring that the subsystems function together as one system. In information technology, it is the process of linking together different computing systems and software applications, physically or functionally, to act as a coordinated whole. An integrated system streamlines processes, reduces costs, and increases efficiency.<br> <br> System Integration connects multiple components, which often come from different sources to work as one (see Figure 2). Some subsystems are old, some are new. Program managers usually find that putting the subsystems together as early as possible in the program’s development improves mission effectiveness and helps to ensure seamless connectivity, enabling commanders at the front and at the rear to better execute and assess strategic and tactical accomplishment.<br> <br> Connectivity refers to a program’s or device’s ability to link with other programs or devices. For example, a program that can import data from a wide variety of sources and can export data in many different formats is said to have “good connectivity,” especially when connecting to or communicating with another computer or computer system.<br> <br> <img alt="Figure 2. System Integration and Connectivity" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Mar-April_2021/MarApr2021_article07_figure2.jpg" style="width:600px;height:329px;" /> <table border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width:800px;"> <caption> <div style="text-align:center;">Table 1. Mindset in Action</div> </caption> <thead> <tr> <th scope="col"> </th> <th scope="col">Mindset</th> <th scope="col">Mindset in Action (DoD and Contractor)</th> <th scope="col">Plus Regular Auditing</th> <th scope="col">Applicable ISO Standard*</th> <th scope="col">Measure of Effectiveness</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">1</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Continuous Improvement</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Program reviews; trends/gap analyses; operator feedback; Customer complaint analyses</td> <td style="text-align:center;">YES</td> <td style="text-align:center;">ALL</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Availability vs. Downtime<br> Mission Effectiveness</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">2</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Corporate Responsibility Mgmt</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Code of Ethics & Standards of Conduct Issue identification and corrective action</td> <td style="text-align:center;">YES</td> <td style="text-align:center;">9000</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Productivity; Morale<br> Contract Execution</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">3</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Risk Assessment and Mgmt</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Ongoing threat analyses/revisions;<br> Course of action (COA) development</td> <td style="text-align:center;">YES</td> <td style="text-align:center;">9000</td> <td style="text-align:center;">COA Feedback</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">4</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Quality Mgmt</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Program reviews; trend/gap analyses;<br> Operator feedback; Customer complaints</td> <td style="text-align:center;">YES</td> <td style="text-align:center;">9000</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Waste Reduction<br> Increased Units/Hour<br> Increased Early/on-time Delivery</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">5</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Sustainment</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Future operations sustainment planning</td> <td style="text-align:center;">YES</td> <td style="text-align:center;">28000</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Supply Chain Responsiveness<br> Mission Completion</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">6</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Environmental Management</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Ongoing pollution prevention/energy conservation initiative; Material substitutions;<br> process improvement</td> <td style="text-align:center;">YES</td> <td style="text-align:center;">14000</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Physical Waste Reduction (tons/gallons)</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">7</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Test Planning</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Test & Evaluation Master Plan review/revision</td> <td style="text-align:center;">YES</td> <td style="text-align:center;">9000</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Mission Effectiveness</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">8</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Cybersecurity</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Firewall development/enhancement;<br> Penetration Testing</td> <td style="text-align:center;">YES</td> <td style="text-align:center;">27000</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Mission Security</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">9</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Reliability-Centered Maintenance</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Preventive maintenance plan development/revision; Ongoing process review/improvement</td> <td style="text-align:center;">YES</td> <td style="text-align:center;">9000</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Availability vs. Downtime<br> FMEA**</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;">10</td> <td style="text-align:center;">System Integration and Connectivity</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Process improvement/streamlining;<br> Increased Connectivity</td> <td style="text-align:center;">YES</td> <td style="text-align:center;">27000</td> <td style="text-align:center;">Mission Effectiveness</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> * ISO 9000: Quality Mgmt; ISO 14000: Enviromental Mgmt; IAO 27000 Information Systems Security Mgmt; ISO 28000 Supply Chain Security<br> ** Failure mode and effect analysis <h3>Summary</h3> A mindset is a matter of maintaining continued focus on the big picture, reminding program managers that something can always be made better.<br> Mindset means that a DoD contractor’s responsibility to his employees and suppliers goes beyond writing checks. The contractor has an obligation to be fair and honest and a right to expect the same in return.<br> <br> Quality management was likely the first official home of the “mindset,” and has been since before the earliest writings of Fredrick W. Taylor. The mindset constantly ponders “How do we make it better? How do we make it faster, or get it to the front faster? How do we make more of them for the same cost?”<br> The finest subsystems are useless (or at least fall short) if they cannot effectively connect with one another and form the system. Connectivity in decision making means harnessing information from many information generators (or sensors) into one total picture—often called the Commander’s Dashboard.<br> This is not the time to worry about “global warming” and “climate change.” DoD program managers and contractors must base environmental management strategy on pollution prevention and energy conservation; and make real, quantifiable, improvements to real, quantifiable, problems. If we all do our best to minimize pollution and conserve energy, the polar bears will be just fine, thank you.<br> <br> Table 1 describes mindset development and operation in action. Note the reference to applicable International Standards Organization (ISO) management standards. Ideally, contractors should certify to those standards. However, downloading them will provide immediate guidance, understanding, and direction to even the most overworked program manager. <hr />Razzetti, a retired U.S. Navy captain, is a management consultant, auditor, military analyst, and frequent contributor to Defense Acquisition magazine and, formerly, the Defense AT&L magazine. He is the author of five management books, including Fixes that Last—The Executive’s Guide to Fix It or Lose It Management.<br> <br> The author can be reached at <a class="ak-cke-href" href=""></a>.</div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Mindsets--Success-Through-Focus

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