Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT July-September 2017 Contents Communications-Electronics Research, Development and
Engineering Center, when necessary.
This initial supplementation of staff allowed the program office
to grow over time as JNN-N increased in scale and moved
toward becoming a program of record, Warfighter Informa-
tion Network – Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 1. By late 2009,
the WIN-T Increment 1 product office employed over 200 staff
members directly and about 125 contractors and “fielders” sup-
porting the product office’s work.
Program managers (PMs) planning for a rapid acquisition can
and should anticipate possible staffing challenges. To prepare
for likely staff shortages in particular areas of expertise, the PMs
can identify affiliated organizations that could fill the gaps and
explore ways to “borrow” staff for the rapid acquisition. By out-
sourcing, the PM can prevent problems that otherwise would
halt a program schedule.
LL_415: International acquisition teams should be trained
and equipped with the cultural skills relevant to their program.
DOD resources are available to help develop cross-cultural
acumen. (SOURCE: “Are You Ready for an International
Program?” Defense AT&L, July-August 2013)
Cross-cultural acumen—the ability to understand and engage
effectively with people from cultures different than our own—is
vital to most international programs. Without accounting for
cultural differences, it is difficult to establish the trust and cred-
ibility necessary to build international relationships.
International partners might not understand U.S. Army pro-
cesses, regulations, policies and laws and how they often
constrain the choices that acquisition professionals make. Like-
wise, Americans often don’t understand some of the national
constraints on our overseas partners. The different lens through
which each of the partners views the acquisition program has
significant implications for the content of acquisition products.
A good example is the design of an operator training program
for a Middle Eastern country’s air force. The American model
for training U.S. Air Force operators typically would involve a
highly structured course with a linear sequence of instruction
that allots little or no time to building personal relationships.
On the other hand, a Middle Eastern country’s preferred
approach to cross-cultural learning might focus more on how
its culture interacts and learns in a group setting. In fact, rela-
tionship building should come before conducting any serious
business. In one case, cultural ignorance of the importance of
these relationships caused such an erosion of trust that it essen-
tially halted a relatively large program for a few years. Regaining
this trust and credibility is not easy.
The U.S. Air Force Special Operations School at Hurlburt Field,
Florida, teaches cross-cultural communication courses and has
proved to be a valuable tool in helping prepare for international
interactions. Training like this would be a useful part of the
orientation for new hires.
Like the operational community, international acquisition
teams should be trained and equipped to appreciate and respect
cultural differences that they might encounter in their programs.
Many resources are available within DOD that teams can use,
including courses, research papers, briefings and subject mat-
ter experts. Air University devotes a website (http://www.au.af.
mil/culture/usgov.htm) to cross-cultural understanding that
includes links to sociocultural and language resources main-
tained by other services, DOD and other federal agencies such
as the U.S . Department of State and the Peace Corps.
Another helpful tool, at the beginning of an international
acquisition program, is a formal stakeholder analysis to provide
insights into what interests the key partners in the program and
what drives them. The tool can capture the plans and priori-
ties of each participating nation and highlight areas where there
is potential alignment to pursue a cooperative or collaborative
effort. Don’t assume that newcomers to the international part-
ners program will have the same interests and motivations as
The country desk officer at DOD’s in-country Security Coop-
eration Office, which typically works closely with host nation
officials and their staffs, can help acquisition professionals get
to know the foreign partner and understand its processes, needs
and priorities. Another valuable resource is each service’s inter-
national program office.
PUT THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN PLACE
LL_879: PMs who need more Level III-certified personnel
with practical experience working the entire acquisition pro-
cess would benefit from a structured development program.
34 Army AL&T Magazine
TALENT MANAGEMENT IN LEAN TIMES
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