Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2016 Contents A FIXED REFERENCE POINT
Recognizing the need for a document to help synchronize the
APFU and camouflage implementation efforts, the program
management office wrote a STRATCOM plan for each effort in
early 2013. Although coordinating review and approva l of these
documents through the Army staff was painf ul, it ultimately paid
big dividends as the programs were questioned by Soldiers, senior
leaders, Congress and the media.
The STRATCOM plans that we used had the following sections:
intent, background, environment, risks, target audience (primary
and secondary), vulnerabilities and mitigation, execution, public
affairs guidance, points of contact and enclosures (top-level mes-
sages, ta lking points, questions and answers, execution matrix,
program support over view and information slides). This may seem
like an overwhelmingly long document, but it certainly does not
have to be. The base document we used was four pages long and
the enclosures were another 10 pages. The program overview
consisted of only seven slides describing the program.
Each document was signed and approved by the key stakehold-
ers from the user community, the Army staff through the CSA,
the acquisition chain of authority through the AAE, and the
Many times, senior leaders tried to “help” the efforts by add-
ing requirements, commenting on efforts or changing the
implementation strategies. Each time, I, as the PM, referenced
and shared the STRATCOM plan approved by the CSA and
SecArmy. The plan proved tremendously useful to avoid require-
ments creep, budget cuts and schedule delays. Additionally, the
STRATCOM plan was the only program document I had that
contained a written “commander’s intent” clearly outlining the
program vision and boundaries for me as a PM.
PMs can tailor a STRATCOM plan to their particular effort and
use it as a “living” document to be updated when program “fact of
life” changes necessitate it.
I know: another document to write and staff ... more oversight ...
less empowerment for the PM ... more coordination. I under-
stand and empathize. The beauty here is that a STRATCOM
plan is not required by statute or regulation. However, I highly
recommend one for any program that has high visibility with
Soldiers, senior leaders, Congress or the media, or any program
that crosses MDA boundaries.
You never know what external factors can derail programs, even
those on schedule, within budget and meeting requirements.
And right now, there is no program document that tells the pro-
gram’s story—that synchronizes the program’s implementation
and execution plan across the service and provides the com-
mander’s intent succinctly—to serve as the program execution
OPORD. The objective of the defense acquisition system is to
get a capability in the hands of warfighters, and a STRATCOM
plan can help a PM and the service do that more effectively.
DR. ROBERT F. MORTLOCK, COL, USA (Ret.), managed
defense systems development and acquisition efforts for the last 15
of his 27 years in the U.S . Army, culminating in his assignment
as the Project Manager for Soldier Protection and Individual
Equipment in PEO Soldier. He retired in September 2015 and is
now a lecturer for defense acquisition and program management
in the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy at the Naval
Postgraduate School in Monterey, California . He holds a Ph.D . in
chemical engineering from the University of California , Berkeley,
an MBA from Webster University, an M.S . in national resource
strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and a B .S .
in chemical engineering from Lehigh University.
THE OLD AND THE NEW
Black socks are now authorized for wear with both the traditional gray
IPFU and the new (black and gold) APFU, worn here by a U.S . Army
Alaska formation participating in an Army Birthday Run in June 2015 on
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The APFU resulted from Soldier
feedback. A good STRATCOM plan kept stakeholders on target and
helped to prevent requirements creep. (Photo by Alejandro Pena, Joint
Base Elmendorf-Richardson Public Affairs)
Links Archive Army ALT January-March 2016 Army ALT July-September 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page