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What’s on Your Game Film?https://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=331What’s on Your Game Film?2023-01-27T17:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/Schultz_JanFeb2023.jpg, https://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/Schultz_JanFeb2023.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/Schultz_JanFeb2023.jpg<div class="ExternalClass648A1FBA2B3E424FBA26E9A99ADAA6F6">Football teams rely heavily on game films to assess their on-field performance. Most teams will spend hours looking at the films with a focus on learning from what happened.<br> <br> In some cases, players may have been out of position or did not execute the play as it was designed. In other cases, an individual player may learn that a technique was poor, or the technique was not adjusted to fit the opposing player’s tactics. As they prepare for the next game, many would argue that the best performing teams are the ones that learn the fastest from this film review. Coaches and players try to build on their strengths and address weaknesses.<br> <br> Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Andrew Powell, chief executive officer of Learn to Win, entitled “Agile Learning: How to Win” at TEDxDAU. The discussion included thoughts on fast learning and concepts such as last mile learning, one concept at a time, and learning in fast loops. Powell used football player development lessons from his work with teams to highlight relevant lessons for acquisition training. One of his key questions to the audience was, “What’s on the game film for your team—what does it show?” This powerful question warrants some reflection and an answer.<br> <br> The short answer is that we have no idea. We lack game film in acquisition teams, and this is a serious problem. In my experience, acquisition teams do not typically reflect on how they performed except perhaps to identify risks and issues, with a focus on next steps and getting through the next milestone. Teams may conduct after-action reviews, but only after important decision meetings when the focus is on the way ahead, not on team development. Given the importance of team performance, this lack of game film and the learning associated with it is a major obstacle in improving team effectiveness. So what can we do about it?<br> <br> Like a football team in training camp, acquisition teams should examine how they prepare and how they evaluate and learn from team performance. Beginning with team preparations, some ideas come to mind. First, teams should recognize the need to prepare for performance. This suggests investing the time and resources to build team skills. It can take many hours of practice to improve skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking. Leaders should emphasize skills development, both individually and as a team, and make the necessary investment of time and resources. Leaders should also monitor skill development in a regular rhythm and determine where adjustments are necessary.<br> <br> Another idea is to study the playbook and the game plan. For acquisition professionals, this means staying on top of the latest policies, initiatives, and opportunities. It means gathering and analyzing market research information. Game preparations should also involve an assessment of which plays to plan in a given situation. In acquisition, we can think of plays as alternatives to consider when we design a way forward. This could involve analyzing different pathways and tools to accelerate the fielding of warfighting capabilities. It could involve analysis of various contracting approaches or assessing the use of engineering tools that may help with a design solution. <blockquote> <div style="text-align:center;"><em>It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that.<br> It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.</em><br> —Paul “Bear” Bryant, former Alabama Football Coach</div> </blockquote> <br> The next challenge involves capturing the game film so we can observe what happened and learn from it. I remember looking at films of our games years ago when I played high-school basketball. I was captivated by the review of how some of our plays broke down because of simple things that could be corrected. A player was out of position, a player did not move to the basket at the right time, our team failed to recognize that the other team switched to a different defensive scheme, and many other problems. We would examine the film, learn from the mistakes, and practice the play again until we got it right. We also looked at the successes to learn how the play could be improved or modified so we could use it in different situations. The learning was fast, relevant, and powerful, and we would apply it to the next game. I remember those game lessons and film reviews vividly to this day, many years after.<br> <br> Given this potential for value added and fast learning, acquisition teams should capture game film. Many events and processes lend themselves to a game film-type review. Consider all the meetings and reviews in a typical program office and the pre-work that leads up to the event. While some people may be anxious about this kind of evaluation, we can soothe their concerns by ensuring that everyone understands that this is not about criticizing any individual or team but rather examining what happened and what we can learn from it. Professionals and teams who desire to learn and improve will welcome the opportunity. For some, learning how to give and receive feedback may be necessary and should be part of the process.<br> <br> How do we actually get the game film and on what should we focus?<br> <br> <img alt="American football players on a field" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/iStock-532002891.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <br> Unlike a sporting event, our acquisition field of play is not limited to a single field or court nor is it of a fixed duration. Teams do significant work in small group meetings, some of it on an ad hoc basis. Virtual and hybrid (some in person and some virtual) collaboration sessions are the new norm. Filming is not practical, but we can record important meetings and collaboration sessions in teams, especially those where we expect multi-functional team collaboration. For in-person meetings, we can prepare to obtain feedback in advance, capture what happened, and then identify what worked and what did not.<br> <br> While the focus of this game film review can include several areas, let’s highlight two critical skills. First, critical thinking is one of the most sought-after skills in both private and public sector recruiting efforts because of its value in getting results. Teams can achieve great synergies with the collective critical thinking of the group. The need for this skill becomes even greater with the rapid pace of change in our acquisition environment. Just like blocking and tackling, teams can review their critical thinking fundamentals and take steps to improve them. As in the case of the football or basketball team, practicing the skill is a good first step. Each team member should also have a common understanding and some proficiency with the thinking method.<br> <br> The second focus area involves team development and interaction skills. Since acquisition is a team sport, team members must be effective in dealing with diverse personalities and backgrounds. Data from team studies suggest that teams who may have less skilled individuals will perform at higher levels than more talented groups if their ability to connect and work together is better. This higher level of performance involves things like effective communications, ensuring all team members have input, establishing team norms, building team trust, and the ability to empathize with team members who are dealing with difficult personal situations.<br> <br> Since acquisition teams are busy executing and planning their programs, finding the right mechanism for capturing game film can be difficult. The good news is that help is available. One example is DAU’s new Kobayashi Maru Multi-Functional Team Workshop (KM-MFT WS) built around a challenging and realistic acquisition scenario. The title comes from “Star Trek” episodes in which cadets face a challenging scenario and receive feedback on how they respond to difficult situations.<br> <br> The Kobayashi Maru workshop challenges multifunctional team members to address difficult acquisition situations to develop their critical thinking and cross-discipline team skills, while obtaining valuable feedback. This valuable feedback will help the teams prepare for the next challenge, applying what they learned to improve their effectiveness. In essence, it provides the team game film of their performance in a “train like we fight” environment.<br> <br> The workshop (also known as <a href="https://icatalog.dau.edu/onlinecatalog/courses.aspx?crs_id=12832" target="_blank">WSM 027</a> in DAU’s iCatalog) will soon be available to both intact teams and individual workforce members. Its target audience includes all six functional areas of Program Management, Contracting, Business Financial Management and Cost Estimating, Engineering and Technical Management, Life Cycle Logistics, and Test and Evaluation.<br> <br> The benefits of this training follow: <ul> <li>Developing critical thinking skills in a multifunctional environment</li> <li>Experimenting in a safe environment and providing or receiving feedback on team behaviors (game film reviews)</li> <li>Having the opportunity to brief a senior acquisition leader on team recommendations and receiving realistic, experiential learning and feedback</li> <li>Using acquisition tools and authorities to accelerate cycle time</li> <li>Observing the results of early decisions over the life cycle</li> </ul> While this new workshop is still early in its deployment, other training opportunities are available as well. Many training events and workshops are tailorable to add this game film review. It just requires some upfront planning with the training team to ensure observations and feedback will be part of the effort. The team can then learn from the review by practicing the skill to correct the shortcomings and build on existing strengths. <h3><span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>Call to Action </strong></span></h3> As Coach Bryant stated, preparation prior to a challenging event often is a critical success factor. Other professions such as football provide valuable lessons for defense acquisition professionals on how to prepare for the next game. Acquisition organizations that want to improve multifunctional team performance are strongly encouraged to consider obtaining game film.<br> <br> Changing behaviors and performance is difficult if we don’t reflect on what we did. The opportunity for fast, powerful learning from game film review is worth the minimal investment. Make the investment and you will have plenty to offer when asked, “What’s on your game film?” The answer can provide the insights needed to take your team performance to the next level! <hr />Schultz is a professor of Program Management and an executive coach in DAU’s Capital and Northeast Region at Fort Belvoir, Va.<br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href="mailto:brian.schultz@dau.edu">brian.schultz@dau.edu</a>. <hr /> <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 authors and the magazine.</h5> <hr /><a href="https://ctt.ac/ma99b" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a><a href="https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=RL4hHDUkv0m8H8ujFxhwWKL1MkZ9ijlJn6eDW2eiPulURThIUzNNN1VaVFRPMzhaTkNHTkMxODE1Ri4u" target="_blank"><img alt="subscribe" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/suscribebutton.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a><a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/Schultz_JanFeb2023.pdf" target="_blank"><img alt="print" src="/library/arj/ARJ/ARJ%20101/print_button.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/GameFilm
Zero Trust Serviceshttps://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=329Zero Trust Services2023-01-20T17:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/Voelker_JanFeb2023.jpg, https://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/Voelker_JanFeb2023.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/Voelker_JanFeb2023.jpg<div class="ExternalClass3B9F225654884C3F89F2046AA9BC9CAF">In the fall of 2010, the requirement for cybersecurity workforce certifications was in force and ongoing. The educational benefits became apparent and created much greater awareness and insight into security within Department of Defense (DoD) information systems and networks.<br> <br> Though workforce knowledge increased, the systems security engineering practices were still implementing static security controls. Intrusion-detection strategies provided alerts and some added defenses, but these still provided insufficient security. In a sense, security consisted of a set of statically configured barriers that formed a puzzle for adversaries to solve. Intruders who defeated boundary protection found an open cyber-landscape there for the taking.<br> <br> Once inside the systems, adversaries could laterally move around the network, deploy malicious software, employ account elevation exploits, and exfiltrate data. Even barely trained intruders succeeded with expertly crafted malware and scripted attack sequences. The lack of patching and widely known Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) provided many Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) a selection of easy targets. Systems operators continued complying with cybersecurity controls, scanning, and auditing requirements. And yet network intrusions persisted. System complexity hinders information system owners who remain unaware of lurking threats slowly moving through their networks and stealing their data.<br> <br> In November 2013, the DoD Chief Information Officer (CIO) issued the<em> <a target="_blank">DoD Strategy for Defending Networks, Systems, and Data</a></em> describing an active cyber defense strategy without naming the collection of covered concepts. The transition from a static to an active cyber defense required automation to orchestrate the daunting and meticulous configuration settings to approve legitimate access. In many legacy systems, operation continues with risk-based, statically set, and seldom-changed security settings. Human-readable security policies demonstrated the best transition to this new paradigm of permitting or denying access under numerous specified conditions. The described underlying automation notionally could handle all of the necessary hardware and software configuration settings to permit or deny access to defended resources and data. <blockquote> <p style="text-align:center;">System complexity hinders information system owners who remain unaware of lurking threats slowly moving through their networks and stealing their data.</p> </blockquote> Little more than a year before the DoD active cyber-defense strategy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published <a href="https://www.nist.gov/privacy-framework/nist-sp-800-162" target="_blank">NIST 800-162</a> and described the Access Control Mechanism (ACM) and Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC). The attributes permitted with ABAC include organizational roles specified in Role Based Access Control (RBAC) and extend them to many other factors such as time, location, and installed software patches. Two important cybersecurity components are described in NIST 800-162, the Policy Decision Point (PDP), and the Policy Enforcement Point (PEP). The PDP’s basic function is reading the access policies created by cybersecurity professionals and deconflicting those policies to enable proper access decisions. A notable benefit enabled by ABAC is the enforcement of compliance measures to ensure devices are running permitted software prior to accessing secured resources. Operationally, users are required to authenticate with the Identity, Credential, and Access Management (ICAM) solution for their organization. ICAM provides the user’s authentication token as proof of the user’s digital identification. The ACM evaluates the user’s digital identification against ABAC security access policies to permit or deny access to protected resources. This requires a written access policy for the digital identification to permit access to a given protected resource. The ACM maps the person or nonperson entity (NPE) digital identification to a set of access policies to ensure that the relevant access conditions are met. The PEP is the other logical component, and as the name suggests, enforces the PDP’s access decision to permit or deny access. The PEP is a command-and-control point in any system or software process where PDP access decisions are enforced. PEPs can be implemented anywhere in the software stack or Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. The PDP operates on the control-plane and transmits permit-or-deny-access commands to the PEPs operating on the data-plane between user and system resources. The PEPs act as gatekeepers and deny all connections on the data-plane by default and only allow communication when expressly directed to permit access. PEPs can be used to divide communication pathways between points of the network or software stack into small, controlled segments. This is similar to the operation of roadway traffic lights and commonly referred to as micro-segmentation. Cybersecurity engineers use micro-segmentation for data traffic control, monitoring, and enforcement of the PDP’s access decision between users and protected resources. Micro-segmentation best practice dictates integrating PEPs nearest to the resource that requires protection. Design-thinking exercises starting from the protected system resource out to the last point of control will help determine the PEP coverage needed to effectively monitor and defend the information system and data.<br> <br> <img alt="a man watching multiple computer screens" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/iStock-1311084122.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <br> The ACM provides the ability to implement layered and decentralized authorizations to specific protected resources. PDP-PEP combinations can be employed logically next to the protected resource to ensure that the local resource owner’s authorization conditions are met by the user’s digital identification for access. User identity attributes provided by the user’s ICAM entry are leveraged to enforce the greatest restriction on access to critical resources. For instance, the user’s Electronic Data Interchange-Personal Identifier (EDI-PI) can be used as an attribute in the access policy. That would enable the system’s owner to permit access for users with certain EDI-PI numbers and deny all others while having no control over the ICAM solution. The human-readable access policies and enforcement architecture enable finely tuned security controls. The downside is that ABAC security access policies written by cybersecurity professionals are static. These ABAC policies provide the initial rules of the road based on predetermined outcomes desired by the network and data owners. Adversaries can use surveillance techniques and spend weeks and even years trying to gain enough understanding to defeat targeted information systems’ security measures. In short, adversaries are still able to identify which users can access data and under what conditions access is granted. Lost or stolen accounts and credentials pose a significant risk, and despite Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), protected resources can still fall prey to APT groups.<br> <br> The DoD Strategy for Defending Networks, Systems, and Data was almost forgotten by the time NIST started developing <a href="https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.800-207">Special Publication 800-207,<em> Zero Trust Architecture</em></a>. Reading the NIST publication reminded me of the active cyber-defense strategy released by the DoD CIO in 2013. On one hand, the strategy spoke to the need for an active cyber defense, and Zero Trust provided the fundamental building blocks to integrate the strategy in information systems. Initially, the <a href="https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-207-draft.pdf" target="_blank">draft NIST 800-207</a> was widely accepted, reviewed, and praised for its deep dive into the Zero Trust concept. In practice, opinions differed on implementing capabilities in industry hardware and software products. This led to a fair amount of confusion among both vendors and customers. In the latter part of 2019, hardware and software companies started providing brilliant solutions that truly proved Zero Trust’s capability and benefit to Cybersecurity. The integrated solutions were designed by leveraging partnerships to provide each capability required for implementing Zero Trust. This led to the saying that “Zero Trust is a journey”—not a one-time upgrade solution but a pathway to continuous improvement. NIST SP 800-207,<em> Zero Trust Architecture</em>, builds upon the ACM by further defining the Policy Administrator (PA) and Policy Engine (PE) logical components inside of the PDP. The PA translates the PE’s access decision into commands understood by the PEPs communicating with the PDP on the control-plane. The PE can generate overriding security access policies based on a number of threat feeds, including user behavior analytics. The PE is further defined as running a Trust Algorithm thought process for determining when a new access policy should be issued to the information system’s PEPs. In basic terms, human-written ABAC access policies can be overruled by a dynamic-generated policy based upon perceived risk to the system. Under Zero Trust, the PEPs have monitoring responsibilities and communicate with the PA to forward requests and receive policy updates. The PEP reports traffic patterns and conditions, also known as telemetry, traversing in and out of its segment of the information system to the PDP. If a permitted user initiates an action not explicitly authorized by an ABAC access policy, like a Secure Shell (SSH) request to a protected system resource, the user’s access can be revoked autonomously. The PEP’s telemetry is continuously sent to the PDP; any unauthorized user actions detected by the Trust Algorithm could result in a new dynamic-generated security access policy, revoking the user’s access and sending an alert to systems administrators.<br> <br> <img alt="a man in a control center reading from a paper" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/iStock-1308842633.jpg" style="width:100%;" /><br> <br> Many industry partners have embraced the concept of the Trust Algorithm to develop powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) solutions. AI/ML capabilities promise to enable timely oversight of network, systems, and data. Systems administrators using AI/ML will become keenly aware of the information system’s operations and autonomous countermeasures deployed to defend protected resources.<br> <br> The AI/ML-enabled Trust Algorithm can dynamically determine access risk and leverage the ACM to issue new security access policies. Adversaries trying to laterally move or exfiltrate data in a Zero Trust-enabled information system will experience a cognitively aware, harsh, and hardened cybersecurity architecture.<br> <br> The cybersecurity industry is advancing with the fundamental concepts of ABAC and Zero Trust by integrating them in their hardware and software service offerings. As a result, software developers have brought to market newly branded products and services promising to enhance the system’s security posture with Zero Trust concepts in mind. Evaluating these new products will reveal various challenges and require a high degree of technical rigor in Cybersecurity Systems Engineering. The DoD CIO’s Zero Trust Portfolio Management Office (ZT PfMO) has developed the <a href="https://dodcio.defense.gov/Portals/0/Documents/Library/%28U%29ZT_RA_v2.0%28U%29_Sep22.pdf" target="_blank">DoD Zero Trust Reference Architecture</a>, Zero Trust Strategy, and the capability roadmap that define target and advanced levels of Zero Trust. These documents will help determine which capabilities and activities are needed to achieve Zero Trust enablement. The capabilities and activities are essential to ensure that Zero Trust concepts have a firm foundation upon which to build. The transformation from traditional, statically configured cybersecurity controls into conditional, policy-based cybersecurity will take time and planning. The payoff will be integrated, behavior-based cybersecurity systems able to provide security awareness in the cyber­domain, continuously evaluate threats to protected resources, and exercise dominance by autonomously countering those threats, thereby significantly reducing the risk of compromise. <hr /><strong>Voelker </strong>serves as Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer (DoN CIO)’s Lead on Zero Trust Architecture. He is currently assigned to the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command as the Information Technology Standards and Systems Engineering Process Technical Warrant Holder (TWH). Voelker holds an M.B.A. from Redlands University and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).<br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href="mailto:david.l.voelker.civ@us.navy.mil">david.l.voelker.civ@us.navy.mil</a>. <hr /> <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 authors and the magazine.</h5> <hr /><a href="https://ctt.ac/f0m62" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a><a href="https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=RL4hHDUkv0m8H8ujFxhwWKL1MkZ9ijlJn6eDW2eiPulURThIUzNNN1VaVFRPMzhaTkNHTkMxODE1Ri4u" target="_blank"><img alt="subscribe" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/suscribebutton.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a><a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/Voelker_JanFeb2023.pdf?Web=1" target="_blank"><img alt="print" src="/library/arj/ARJ/ARJ%20101/print_button.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Zero-Trust-Services
Better Warfighter Outcomes Through Long-Term DHA-DAU Partnershiphttps://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=330Better Warfighter Outcomes Through Long-Term DHA-DAU Partnership2023-01-20T17:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/Sablan_JanFeb2023.jpg, https://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/Sablan_JanFeb2023.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/Sablan_JanFeb2023.jpg<div class="ExternalClass7C07A59FC6FC42A48CB5AB3D5D6A162A">DAU’s Mission Assistance support to the Defense Health Agency (DHA) began in 2013. At that time, DHA was beginning to transition to a more acquisition-focused organization. The partnership with DAU began with a series of Services Acquisition Workshops and similar efforts, including innovative acquisition approaches, such as the <a target="_blank">Commercial Solutions Opening</a> and the <a href="/powerful-examples/Blog/Assessing-the-health-of-your-Contracting-organization" target="_blank">Contracting Office Health Assessment Dashboard</a>. Both efforts helped DHA find the right questions to ask respondents and receive feedback on answers to acquisition problems new to the organization.<br> <br> Since these efforts began, DHA and DAU’s partnership expanded with the creation of the DHA Acquisition Leadership Academy (DALA), which has graduated three cohorts to date. These cohorts were designed to organically build acquisition expertise within the existing professionals employed at DHA. The infobox “Military Health System (MHS) and the Defense Health Agency” provides some additional background on DHA’s mission and efforts.<br> <br> “We have gone from an organization who didn’t understand the acquisition terminology to an organization where acquisition is a part of the conversation at our senior leader meetings,” according to DHA Deputy Acting Component Acquisition Executive (CAE) and Deputy Director for Acquisition and Sustainment Kathleen Berst. Requirements and resourcing are now key topics in meetings with senior leaders. At first, Berst said, DHA did not appreciate how much the “function and principles of acquisition could do for the organization.” <hr /> <table align="center" border="1" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="10" style="background-color:#D3D3D3;color:#ffffff;"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#000000;"><strong>Military Health System and the Defense Health Agency</strong><br> The Military Health System (MHS) integrated readiness and health, and the Defense Health Agency (DHA) is part of the MHS. The MHS aims to <a href="https://health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Combat-Support" target="_blank">increase readiness, better health, better care, and lower costs</a>. DHA is a “<a href="https://www.health.mil/About-MHS/OASDHA/Defense-Health-Agency" target="_blank">joint, integrated Combat Support Agency</a>" that enables the Army, Navy, and Air Force medical services to provide a medically ready force and ready medical force to Combatant Commands in both peacetime and wartime.</span></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <h3><strong><span style="color:#B22222;">DHA’s Transformation and DALA’s Emergence</span></strong></h3> DHA’s transformation required the agency to learn how to operate in the acquisition space as an agency with both acquisition and non-acquisition professionals. Historically, the Department of Defense (DoD) medical community had not applied acquisition principles in the same way; practice varied by Service and by DHA directorate.<br> DALA provides an opportunity to integrate leadership, team building, and acquisition skills into focused change efforts at DHA. Members of each DALA Cohort expand DHA’s acquisition expertise and often function as an extension of the strategic dialogue between DAU and DHA. Its primary mission is to improve DHA acquisition outcomes by raising the probability of success of various change projects. These cohorts work with leadership throughout DHA to ensure that their training and knowledge are used to address current challenges.<br> <br> DALA integrates and accelerates acquisition initiatives through disciplined team building and Lean project management. It also cultivates agency-level opportunities and connections. DALA initiatives are poised to serve as catalysts and archetypes to help foster long-term cultural change by improving acquisition outcomes within the DHA acquisition workforce. DAU faculty pave the way for close connections with participants and their DHA supervisors. “These multipurpose roles open doors to working with DHA professionals across the MHS enterprise, assisting in individual and organizational improvement,” DAU Professor of Acquisition Management Michael Fischetti said.<br> <br> “Some of us are involved supporting DHA at a strategic level,” said Fischetti. He explained that DAU provides support by “understanding how [DHA meets their] mission, managing within the acquisition space, helping address challenges, leveraging opportunities, and fostering further success.”<br> <br> DAU’s support has also expanded, with DAU team members serving on multiple integrated product teams (IPTs) within the agency, such as the Capability Requirements IPT, which started within DALA and will deliver a centralized requirement management process by the end of 2022. This IPT includes all Service combat developers from across the agency. “It’s a single team working through the requirements management process,” Berst said. “It is pretty powerful to have something that came out of cohort to turn into a meaningful initiative.”<br> <br> <img alt="Staff Sgt. Courtney E. Herrera (front), 436th Medical Support Squadron diagnostic imaging technician, trains on a new Computed Tomography scanner at the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, Dover Air Force Base, Del." src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/6200251.jpg" style="width:100%;" /> <h5>Staff Sgt. Courtney E. Herrera (front), 436th Medical Support Squadron diagnostic imaging technician, trains on a new Computed Tomography scanner at the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, Dover Air Force Base, Del.<br> Source: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo</h5> <h3><strong><span style="color:#B22222;">Expanding Partnerships</span></strong></h3> “DHA’s CAE approached us while he attended [the Senior Acquisition Management Course (<a href="https://icatalog.dau.edu/onlinecatalog/courses.aspx?crs_id=7" target="_blank">ACQ 404</a>)],” said Patrick Barker, who served as DAU’s Customer Liaison Officer to DHA. “He wanted to consolidate and grow DHA’s acquisition capability and asked for a strategic thought partner to work through the details. We put a senior team together to do a deep dive look at DHA’s acquisition function.”<br> <br> The long-duration cohort model had been customized to support the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Navy Program Executive Office Submarines, and Missile Defense Agency. Using this baseline, DAU and DHA created what would become a five-year service agreement that included the creation of DALA, a six-month jointly executed program that embodies the DAU-DHA partnership. This partnership would allow DAU to provide an additional level of service unavailable under the prior agreement.<br> <br> The DALA Cohorts were to be one of the leading efforts in enabling DHA’s transformation of its acquisition functions. DAU would supply the initial leadership, education, and expertise to build awareness and acumen within DHA’s workforce. Fischetti and other DAU team members also participated in the cohort to provide leadership and functional expertise as faculty learning and project team monitors.<br> <br> DHA “was attempting a transformation of its acquisition function but it needed help building awareness and acumen,” Barker said. DHA needed “change agents, a cadre of people who saw themselves as leaders and were willing to step outside their comfort zones and put in the time and energy to create positive change.” Individual DALA Cohorts gained recognition and continue to build relationships with new cohorts.<br> <br> <img alt="Dr. Barclay Butler, Assistant Director for Support, DHA; Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Tanya Johnson, Senior Enlisted Advisor, Assistant Director for Support, DHA; and Army Brig. Gen. Katherine Simonson, Deputy Assistant Director, Research and Development Directorate (J-9), DHA, tour a mock laboratory with Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Philip Tinker, an instructor in the Medical Education and Training Campus Respiratory Therapist. " src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/7153038.jpg" style="width:100%;" /> <h5>Dr. Barclay Butler, Assistant Director for Support, DHA; Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Tanya Johnson, Senior Enlisted Advisor, Assistant Director for Support, DHA; and Army Brig. Gen. Katherine Simonson, Deputy Assistant Director, Research and Development Directorate (J-9), DHA, tour a mock laboratory with Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Philip Tinker, an instructor in the Medical Education and Training Campus Respiratory Therapist.<br> Source: Photo by Lisa Braun</h5> <h3><strong><span style="color:#B22222;">Improving Acquisition Success</span></strong></h3> The DALA Cohorts built DHA’s acquisition expertise and knowledge, and DHA continues to see improvements. Gaining an understanding of acquisition principles as an organization has reaped other benefits, Berst explained. “The increased level of common use of terms and understanding has led to significant decrease in tension in communication,” she said. “We can get to agreement and paths forward much faster.”<br> <br> DALA has helped DHA achieve tangible acquisition goals with Enterprise Imaging (radiology, dental, ophthalmology/optometry, endoscopy, cardiology, and point-of-care imaging such as ultrasound and photography). “The user in the DALA Cohort had been messaging his challenges [with Enterprise Imaging] for over 10 years and hadn’t got any traction,” Berst said.<br> <br> DALA turned this into an acquisition opportunity and accelerated the dialogue, transforming a frustrated senior radiologist’s complaint into a tri-Service, agency-led effort. With DHA serving as “the melting pot of all of the Services,” Berst explained the agency found that each Service procured imaging services and equipment in a different way. This gave the DoD an inventory of roughly $10 billion in imaging equipment. The radiologist, an Air Force colonel, eventually joined the second cohort to address the issue directly.<br> <br> “We helped them turn a localized radiology challenge into an enterprise acquisition opportunity,” Berst added. “The DALA Cohort brought together a multidisciplinary team and chartered an IPT.<br> <br> “When we look at that and how each was purchased [and] maintained in different ways, we see lots of opportunities to centralize managing of imaging equipment, processes, and services,” Berst said. This improved, integrated program is based on systems management of equipment throughout the life cycle to maximize the utility of existing programs, and staffing is underway within DHA in accordance with a new draft Acquisition Decision Memorandum. <blockquote> <p style="text-align:center;"><em>DALA integrates and accelerates acquisition initiatives through disciplined team building and Lean project management</em></p> </blockquote> <h3><span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>The Acquisition Workforce IPT and Intangibles</strong></span></h3> <p>Berst described another DALA initiative as “the cornerstone of establishing the Acquisition Enterprise” in the creation of the Acquisition Workforce IPT. This establishes processes and procedures for managing the workforce. DHA is developing policies and coding the acquisition workforce and acquisition positions during the transformation, including implementing <a href="https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/500066p.PDF" target="_blank">DoD Instruction 5000.66</a>. Each Service coded positions differently, and DHA is finding opportunities for training, developing skills, and support for its Acquisition Workforce. “This IPT started within the DALA Cohort program,” Berst said, with the CAE chartering the program.<br> <br> Berst also highlighted other “intangible benefits” that DALA and the transformation have provided to DHA. “We’ve been able to take a step back and build solid working relationships,” she said. “You can’t underestimate the value of that.” These aren’t simply “check the box”-style relationships and lessons; they move the agency forward. DHA has “historically paid a trust tax,” Berst said. But, by gaining a common understanding and building relationships and partnerships, DHA has “created trust” that has led to “very positive outcomes.”<br> <br> <img alt="Lt. Mia Galassi, a certified nurse anesthetist assigned to Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, N.C., joined the Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital surgical department at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, La., to augment operations. " src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/7262906.jpg" style="width:100%;" /></p> <h5>Lt. Mia Galassi, a certified nurse anesthetist assigned to Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, N.C., joined the Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital surgical department at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, La., to augment operations.<br> Source: Photo by Jean Graves</h5> <h3><span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>DALA Going Forward</strong></span></h3> With nearly 120 change agents having passed through DALA, and more graduates in the future, DALA’s impact will continue to spread through DHA. This year, the Virtual Health Program Management Office (PMO)’s spending plan was executed at 100 percent, which David Putnam, then acting deputy/program manager for the Virtual Health PMO and first cohort member, credited in part to DALA.<br> <br> DAU and DHA continue building upon these and other successes, with a focus on helping DHA to recognize its decision support system and identify acquisition workforce challenges. DAU’s support has expanded well beyond just DALA, with DAU experts serving as embedded support for multiple IPTs within the agency. “We’ve gone from traditional DAU support to an organization to something that is a much closer partnership,” Berst said. “Our DAU team has become our thinking partner for many key initiatives. That strategic partnership has really helped us in growing the Acquisition Enterprise.”<br> <br> “DAU has been our thinking partner,” Berst said. DALA has developed “change agents within the organization and then this past cohort to really focus them in on the agency’s strategic initiatives out of director’s campaign plan, coupled with teaching and executive leadership. In every aspect of acquisition improvement, we have a touchpoint to DAU.” <blockquote> <p style="text-align:center;"><em>“In every aspect of acquisition improvement, we have a touchpoint to DAU.” </em></p> </blockquote> <h3><span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>DAU-DHA Cohorts Build Acquisition Expertise</strong></span></h3> <p>DALA arose from the wish of the DHA CAE to consolidate and grow the agency’s acquisition capability. And DALA, with DAU’s support, is helping to achieve that goal.<br> <br> But DAU’s support of DALA seeks to do even more than improve acquisition outcomes. One of the best tests of a new learning program is the relatable experience of its first students. DAU spoke with members of the three completed DALA Cohorts, or sets of students, to learn about their experiences, what they learned, and how that has helped them support the mission.<br> <br> Accounts of those exchanges follow.<br> <br> <strong>Cohort 1: A Small Group of Trail Blazers </strong><br> DALA Cohort 1 launched just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and it became one of DAU’s first successful, completely virtual programs created during the pandemic. Cohorts 2 and 3 also were conducted virtually. Plans are now underway for Cohort 4 in Fiscal Year 2023. Despite the virtual nature of the three DALA Cohort programs completed to date, they have left a powerful, lasting impression upon DHA. Each cohort includes representatives from across the agency, in different functional areas, Services, and directorates to expose members to perspectives and skillsets they may not have worked with previously.<br> <br> “One of the things we talked about was how ‘siloed’ we are,” DHA Operations Research and Systems Analyst Kaye LaFate said. She was one of the first members of the DALA Cohorts and remains in contact with other DALA alumni; she also supported the DAU team in executing Cohorts 2 and 3. Being a part of DALA allowed LaFate to go “through the trenches,” and she describes Cohort 1 as “fire starters,” allowing new growth at DHA.<br> <br> LaFate found the DALA Cohort by “happenstance” and was “instantly intrigued.” She had only been part of DHA for a few months and was excited that DHA gave her this opportunity. “I realized I’m not alone,” LaFate said. “It was a delight to see the level of connectivity that DAU established for us. DALA was life changing. We came together in a way that was unexpected.”<br> <br> “We were brand new to acquisition,” said then-Acting Deputy Program Manager for the Virtual Health PMO David Putnam, who served with LaFate on the first cohort. “We were able to get some support from DAU to guide our young PMO through its growing pains,” he said.<br> <br> Putnam transferred to Program Manager for Pharmaceuticals, Devices, and Medical Support Systems, which he described as moving “from being somewhat affiliated with acquisition to full-blown working in acquisition for the DHA.”<br> <br> “DALA helped get a lot of people who may not have been comfortable with change and ambiguity [grow] comfortable with it. ... Another piece is it helped me learn on the job to build the virtual health PMO from its infant state to a little bit more growth,” he added.<br> <br> “Once you join DALA, you are in a specific, unique group,” LaFate said.<br> <br> The first cohort established the groundwork for future efforts and helped to develop the skills needed to improve DHA’s acquisition. “We’re doing this work on behalf of everyone who needs it in a smart, fiscally responsible way,” LaFate said. “I don’t think I understood everything DAU could offer until I got into DALA. … I could call on someone and ask questions and get help for our teams.”<br> <br> <strong>Cohort 2: Taking the Lessons Beyond DHA</strong><br> The first cohort proved that DALA could not only succeed but that it could embed the necessary skills within DHA’s workforce. Several members of the first cohort, such as Berst and LaFate, supported the second in various ways, from championing to supporting the new DALA students. The second cohort would expand on the success of the first.<br> <br> Dan Burrhus, who now serves as the Deputy Director for the Army’s Medical Test and Evaluation Activity (MTEAC), was previously in DHA’s Medical Logistics while participating in Cohort 2. “Because of that position, and the historical role of logistics in managing equipment acquisition, I became very interested in participating in the DALA,” he explained.<br> <br> DALA was “an opportunity to influence change in a way I thought was relevant and important,” Burrhus said. DHA’s acquisition community had not historically expressed interest in managing medical acquisition, and with DHA’s growing interest in improving its acquisition capabilities, Burrhus saw DALA as an opportunity to achieve this. After Cohort 2, “logistics is now part of acquisition at DHA,” he said.<br> <br> Burrhus still works closely with DHA and, like Putnam, served alongside DAU faculty as a Learning Team Coach. Each cohort brought together “synergy and capability that I didn’t think was possible, especially virtually,” he said. “I’m finding more value every day I look at it and implement it in different ways,” Burrhus said. “I realized we wanted to be a team that generated extraordinary outcomes.” The lessons he learned at DALA have helped him with his MTEAC team, which strives to “be the gold standard for medical test and evaluation for DoD and industry.”<br> <br> The impact from DALA continues to grow as Burrhus looks to find new ways to support Cohort 4 and to bring the ideas from DALA with him. Burrhus’ current work on integrating test and evaluation across Services will become a key shaper for DALA Cohort 4 in Fiscal Year 2023.<br> <br> DALA’s impact was starting to be understood further, with Burrhus explaining how DALA provided a structure and leadership focus. The DALA process and the requirements development process helped senior leaders with acquisition decisions. “Iteratively, as we’ve done more DALAs, the more effective [we’ve become] at translating senior leader objectives into projects that could then further develop and accomplish the senior leader’s goals,” Burrhus said.<br> <br> <strong>Cohort 3: A Changed Perspective</strong><br> “This program really makes a point of saying what it took to get here … and appreciate where you are and where you’re going,” LaFate said. “[DAU showed] us a lot of love and affection, and by Cohort 3, there was a battle rhythm.”<br> <br> DHA Prevention and Surveillance Section Lead Teresa Schulz, DoD Hearing Center of Excellence at DHA, was a member of Cohort 3, and continues to serve at DHA. When she joined, she recognized DALA as an “opportunity to be part of the change” at DHA and for everyone to take on a critical role. But the most valuable thing DALA offers is “perspective,” she said. “DALA gave me perspective of every level and area of the DHA organization.”<br> <br> DALA does more than just provide training—it includes people at all levels, including members from the different Centers of Excellence within DHA. “We wanted more visibility from the highest levels, and a huge layer [of DHA] was just unknown to me,” Schulz said. “Being involved in DALA and networking with other people within DHA” helped Schultz gain the “knowledge and the breadth of perspective that you need to have to get to that next level,” she said.<br> <br> DALA has “put together an infrastructure that gave us the ear of senior leadership,” Schulz said. This infrastructure also gave the DALA Cohort time to learn and develop acquisition and leadership skills that could bring together people from across the Services. The infrastructure built by the previous cohorts “gave us the ability to brief it up the chain of command to the CAE,” Schulz said, adding that this has helped jump-start multiple projects.<br> <br> DALA “is a Green Beret level of acquisition. The sky’s the limit for Cohorts 4 and 5,” LaFate said.<br> <br> <img alt="Erika Sanchez, respiratory therapist, checks a ventilator at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Respiratory Care staff members are responsible for set-up and management of all invasive and noninvasive mechanical ventilation and inhaled nitric oxide, and assisting with diagnostic and therapeutic flexible bronchoscopy procedures." src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/7412738.jpg" style="width:100%;" /></p> <h5>Erika Sanchez, respiratory therapist, checks a ventilator at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Respiratory Care staff members are responsible for set-up and management of all invasive and noninvasive mechanical ventilation and inhaled nitric oxide, and assisting with diagnostic and therapeutic flexible bronchoscopy procedures.<br> Source: U.S. Army photo by Jason W. Edwards</h5> <hr /><strong>Sablan </strong>has provided support to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology and Executive Communications at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. He provides contractor support to DAU Communications.<br> <br> The author can be reached at <a class="ak-cke-href" href="mailto:matthew.sablan@dau.edu">matthew.sablan@dau.edu</a>. <hr /> <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 authors and the magazine.</h5> <hr /><a href="https://ctt.ac/jaCm9" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a><a href="https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=RL4hHDUkv0m8H8ujFxhwWKL1MkZ9ijlJn6eDW2eiPulURThIUzNNN1VaVFRPMzhaTkNHTkMxODE1Ri4u" target="_blank"><img alt="subscribe" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/suscribebutton.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a><a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/Sablan_JanFeb2023.pdf" target="_blank"><img alt="print" src="/library/arj/ARJ/ARJ%20101/print_button.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/BetterWarfighterOutcomesDHADAUPartnership
Rising to the Challenge of the National Defense Strategyhttps://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/Lists/Blog/DispForm.aspx?ID=328Rising to the Challenge of the National Defense Strategy2023-01-15T17:00:00Zhttps://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/LaMartin_JanFeb2023.jpg, https://www.dau.edu/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/LaMartin_JanFeb2023.jpg https://wwwad.dauext.dau.mil/library/defense-atl/PublishingImages/LaMartin_JanFeb2023.jpg<div class="ExternalClass2286C014F8D4492CAF2F9217A65D6960">Waiting. I’m accustomed to waiting—for the fog to clear so we could conduct a flight test, for the announcement of a much-delayed contract award, to get approval to fill a key vacancy, or for laboratory results when suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.<br> <br> Months passed before the Department of Defense (DoD) publicly released the unclassified version of the new <a href="https://www.defense.gov/National-Defense-Strategy/" target="_blank">National Defense Strategy</a> (NDS) on Oct. 27, 2022, the first update since 2018. It was worth the wait. We now have a strategy that, in Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s words, “…will set the Department’s course for decades to come.” As such, it is a call to action for the defense acquisition community (Figure 1).<br> <br> The NDS directs how the DoD will fulfill the top-level National Security Strategy issued by the White House. It drives the DoD’s plans, resources, organization, and activities; it also prioritizes threats, as well as the missions and time frames we will use to meet the challenges. The centerpiece of the new 2022 strategy is integrated deterrence, building capacity by collaborating across the U.S. Government and with allies and partners. <h3><strong><span style="color:#B22222;">Security Environment</span></strong></h3> A long list of challenges confronts the DoD. The strategy casts the People’s Republic of China as a pacing challenge due to its coercive behavior and rapid modernization and expansion of its military. Russia’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine reinforces the need for robust deterrence and the ability to confront irresponsible behavior when it occurs. Threats persist from North Korea, Iran, violent extremist organizations, and transboundary hardships such as climate change. Meeting these challenges demands that the DoD align its policies, investments, and activities. <h3><span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>Defense Priorities</strong></span></h3> Most of the NDS priorities speak to the Combatant Commands and the military Services that organize, train, and equip military forces—defending the homeland, deterring strategic attacks against the United States and its allies and partners, deterring aggressive actions, and prevailing in conflict when necessary. The Defense Acquisition Workforce clearly has a role to play in providing products and services that enable our Warfighters to prevail. Other priorities fall directly to defense acquisition, namely building a resilient joint force and defense ecosystem. That ecosystem includes all those working within and in partnership with the DoD to ensure our future military advantage. <hr /> <table border="1" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="10" style="background-color:#D3D3D3;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <h3 style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#000000;"><strong>What is the NDS?</strong></span></h3> <div style="text-align:center;">The <a href="https://www.defense.gov/National-Defense-Strategy/" target="_blank">National Defense Strategy</a> (or NDS) is produced by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and signed by the Secretary of Defense as the capstone strategic guidance of the Department of Defense (DoD). It flows directly from the President’s National Security Strategy (NSS) and sets broad guidance for force structure, modernization, business processes, supporting infrastructure, and required funding and manpower.</div> <div style="text-align:center;"><br> The NDS informs the National Military Strategy (NMS), written by the Joint Staff and signed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It also provides a framework for other DoD strategic guidance, including campaign and contingency planning, force development, and intelligence. The 2022 NDS includes summaries of the <a href="https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/defenseReviews/NPR/2010_Nuclear_Posture_Review_Report.pdf" target="_blank">Nuclear Posture Review</a> and Missile Defense Review.<br> <br> The NDS was mandated by Congress in Section 941 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-328). It is to be produced every four years and is generally publicly available. In addition to describing how the DoD will contribute to achieving NSS objectives, the NDS also must discuss the global strategic environment, force posture, and the role of the United States in global security.</div> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /><br> <strong>Figure 1. Description of NDS and its Provisions​</strong><br> <img alt="Figure 1. Description of NDS and its Provisions" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/Lamartinfigure1.jpg" style="width:100%;" /> <h5>Source: 1st Lt. Kayla Haas, USMC</h5> The NDS describes three approaches to advance these priorities: <ol> <li><strong>Integrated deterrence: </strong>using every tool available, in collaboration with counterparts across the U.S. Government and with allies and partners</li> <li><strong>Campaigning:</strong> stepping away from business as usual and taking deliberate steps to synchronize the DoD’s activities and investments to aggregate focus and resources and shift conditions in our favor</li> <li><strong>Building an enduring advantage:</strong> acting with urgency to build enduring advantages for the future, which includes making reforms to accelerate force development, focusing on innovation, accessing new sources of technology, making systems more agile, and investing in people. This is paramount to the defense acquisition community.</li> </ol> <h3><span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>Alliances and Partnerships</strong></span></h3> The NDS recognizes that the United States cannot meet its formidable defense challenges alone. Rather, it must leverage its greatest strategic advantage—our global network of mutually beneficial alliances and partnerships. In this regard, international acquisition, including technology exchanges and cooperative programs, increases national and coalition effectiveness and results in direct and indirect cost savings. <h3><span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>Foresight Risk</strong></span></h3> The NDS also acknowledges that its assumptions about the future might be wrong. Perhaps the pace at which adversaries modernize their forces will vary, unforeseen factors begin to drive change, new technologies emerge, or problems occur in execution. This is a significant admission in a strategy document, but it is wise. We in acquisition can hedge these risks by routinely scanning the environment for signals of change, considering the implications of possible alternative futures, adapting plans, and managing change when it arises.<br> <br> The DoD relies on people at every level to make choices about how to carry out the NDS and transform strategy into meaningful work. What can each of us working in defense acquisition do to make this happen? I offer a simple answer: <h3><span style="color:#B22222;"><strong>Pay Attention to the ABCs</strong></span></h3> <em><strong>Align </strong></em><strong>your work.</strong><em><strong> </strong></em>You should do so both vertically with the NDS and horizontally by connecting with the needs of customers and stakeholders. Note that, in this context, customers are not only the Warfighters. Our teammates, colleagues, partners in industry, and sister organizations also are our customers.<br> <br> Answer these questions: <ul> <li>What is the big picture and what is at stake for U.S. national security?</li> <li>How does my organization support the priorities and approaches of the NDS?</li> <li>Why are these strategies important to me?</li> <li>How does my work contribute?</li> <li>What are the metrics to which I must deliver?</li> <li>How can I demonstrate that my team and I contributed to the NDS goals?</li> </ul> The answers can help you adopt a sense of shared purpose and strive to integrate the actions and processes within your control to achieve that purpose.<br> <br> <em><strong>Build your skills </strong></em><strong>and those of your team.</strong> Strengthen the knowledge and abilities needed to do your job well. Take all relevant basic training to master the functional skills you need, but don’t stop there. Add to those skills by earning credentials and seeking additional professional development opportunities. Become a lifelong learner, going beyond required training to learn new things. Take advantage of what’s available. Make the time.<br> <br> Answer these questions: <ul> <li>What skills do I need to remain relevant and support the NDS?</li> <li>What are my gaps in knowledge, skills, or abilities?</li> <li>What are the gaps for my team or work group?</li> <li>How will I close these gaps?</li> <li>Where can I find resources to help my learning journey?</li> <li>How do I optimize my limited time to grow as an acquisition professional?</li> </ul> Also recognize that each of us has the capacity to lead, regardless of rank or position, whether you are an individual performer or a supervisor, team leader, or unit manager. Consider how you will develop the skills you need to think, act, and interact to get things done. Adopt a growth mindset, confronting challenges and learning from your successes as well as your mistakes. Play the long game by taking steps today to lay a foundation for future success.<br> <br> <strong><em>Compete </em>every day.</strong> When we refer to competition, are we talking about competing with China, Russia, and our other adversaries? Yes, but for most of us this direct competition is abstract and removed from our jobs. However, each of us can compete to do acquisition better. That’s a contest you can win.<br> <br> Start by answering these questions: <ul> <li>Who are my customers and stakeholders?</li> <li>How can I satisfy their interests as well as mine?</li> <li>What should we stop doing or do differently to help accomplish strategic priorities?</li> <li>Where can I find help to accomplish more?</li> <li>How can I develop foresight and anticipate what the future might bring?</li> <li>How can we outsmart and out-innovate our competitors?</li> <li>In what ways can we shorten the cycle times of everything we do?</li> <li>What things can I attempt or risks can I accept?</li> <li>When should we adapt plans and actions to respond to change?</li> <li>How can we make it less difficult for people to do business with us?</li> </ul> Then turn your intentions into action—for example, to work more effectively, collaborate with other organizations and functions, innovate, take risks, fail faster, and eliminate wasted effort.<br> <br> Link the work of your team and organization to the changing needs of your customers. Work to deliver what they want, when and how they want it. Review how well things are working in your organization and strive to make improvements.<br> <br> When something goes wrong, correct the underlying processes or reasons so the problem does not happen again. Adjust and/or adapt your work when you discover a new approach is needed. <h3><br> <strong><span style="color:#B22222;">Putting the ABCs to Work</span></strong></h3> There’s a simple tool you can use to put the ABCs to work, the Creative Tension Planning Method (see steps that follow). It uses an outcome-<br> oriented method to develop a plan for an individual, team, organization, or community to achieve new goals. It also is a practical way to create a plan for your personal growth and development as a leader.<br> <br> <strong>Step 1.</strong> Start with a vision of what you desire to achieve or who you want to become—the Desired Outcome.<br> <br> <strong>Step 2. </strong>Then, assess where you are now—the Current Reality. This takes both clear vision and lots of compassion. It’s not about judging; rather, it’s about taking stock of where you are so you can plan your next steps.<br> <br> The gray arrow between the Desired Outcome and the Current Reality represents the creative tension between where you are and where you want to be (Figure 2). Sometimes this tension is uncomfortable, but if you let go of your vision of what you want to create or what is happening now, you lose the ability to move forward. Instead, use the tension to fuel the subsequent activities.<br> <br> <strong>Step 3.</strong> Once you have a clear idea of what you want to create and a firm grasp of where you are, take Step 3 and consider your assets. These might be the knowledge, skills, or abilities of your team and the programs and processes that are in place. Personal assets also include people like a mentor or a coach, knowledge resources, or on-the-job learning opportunities.<br> <br> <strong>Step 4. </strong>Now look at your challenges, which could be anything from dysfunctional processes, silo behavior, and old habits, to work situations that present time constraints or triggers that keep snaring you. You should ask how you might turn these into learning and growth opportunities.<br> <br> <strong>Step 5.</strong> Consider the first steps on your journey. What are some easy wins? What are the most effective first few steps? A first step might be setting aside time to develop a strategic plan that includes foresight about drivers of change and possible futures. One step on a personal journey of developing as a leader might be to engage a coach for support. A good step in either might be to write up your goals and share them with key people, engaging others in contributing to your, and ultimately their, success.<br> <br> You should periodically revisit where you are in achieving your outcome, especially at turning points for your project, team, or organization. <h3><strong><span style="color:#B22222;">Conclusions</span></strong></h3> The NDS is ambitious. Meeting its promise will take concerted effort by each of us in the defense acquisition community. I’m ready to do my part. Are you?<br> <br> <strong>Figure 2. Creative Tension Planning Method​</strong><br> <img alt="Figure 2. Creative Tension Planning Method" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/Lamartinfigure2.jpg" style="width:100%;" /> <h5>Source: Adapted from R. Fritz, The Path of Least Resistance for Managers: Designing Organizations to Succeed.</h5> <hr /> <h3><strong><span style="color:#B22222;">Where To Learn More</span></strong></h3> <ul> <li>National Defense Strategy:<br> <a href="https://www.defense.gov/National-Defense-Strategy/%20" target="_blank">https://www.defense.gov/National-Defense-Strategy/ </a></li> <li>DAU Training Center:<br> <a href="/training" target="_blank">https://www.dau.edu/training </a></li> <li>DAU Leadership Center:<br> <a href="/training/leadership" target="_blank">https://www.dau.edu/training/leadership </a></li> <li>DAU Great Power Competition:<br> <a href="/greatpowercompetition" target="_blank">https://www.dau.edu/greatpowercompetition </a></li> <li>DAU Creative Tension Tool:<br> <a href="/tools/t/Creative-Tensions-Planning-Method-" target="_blank">https://www.dau.edu/tools/t/Creative-Tensions-Planning-Method-</a></li> </ul> <hr /><strong>Lamartin </strong>is a professor of acquisition management, executive coach, and futurist in DAU’s Defense Systems Management College at Fort Belvoir, Va., and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Following a full career as a DoD acquisition professional, he served as an executive in industry. He has a D.P.A. and M.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Southern California and a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland.<br> <br> The author can be contacted at <a class="ak-cke-href" href="mailto:Glenn.Lamartin@dau.edu">Glenn.Lamartin@dau.edu</a>. <hr /> <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 authors and the magazine.</h5> <hr /><a href="https://ctt.ac/NJHb0" target="_blank"><img alt="tweet" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/tweetbutton.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a><a href="https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=RL4hHDUkv0m8H8ujFxhwWKL1MkZ9ijlJn6eDW2eiPulURThIUzNNN1VaVFRPMzhaTkNHTkMxODE1Ri4u" target="_blank"><img alt="subscribe" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Sept-Oct_2021/suscribebutton.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a><a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Jan-Feb2023/LaMartin_JanFeb2023.pdf?Web=1" target="_blank"><img alt="print" src="/library/arj/ARJ/ARJ%20101/print_button.jpg" style="width:10%;" /></a></div>string;#/library/defense-atl/blog/Rising-to-the-Challenge_Nat-Def-Strat

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