Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT January-March 2011 Contents From the DACM
Rebuilding and Rebalancing the Army Acquisition Corps
LTG William N. Phillips
Director, Acquisition Career Management
This edition of Army AL&T Magazine inaugurates
what I hope will be a productive forum for me
to share my perspectives as Principal Military
Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acqui-
sition, Logistics, and Technology and Director of the
Army Acquisition Corps. My goal is to engage and
inform you, the members of the AL&T Workforce, on
issues of the highest priority, starting with the need to
rebuild and rebalance the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps.
In our Army, there's one centerpiece of what we do every day, and
that is Soldiers and how we support Soldiers. In the case of our
mission in AL&T, it's what capability can we provide Soldiers on the
shortest timeline that gives them the ability to execute the mission,
and then one day after they've executed the mission efficiently and
effectively, to come home safely to their Families and their friends.
A top priority that I work toward in this job is the acquisition work-
force and taking care of the people who work so hard to execute
our AL&T mission. It requires rebalance and growth across the
acquisition workforce for us to continue building a world-class,
professional corps of civilians and military members focused on our
mission. That's what I see as my No. 1 challenge, because helping
Soldiers and getting capability into their hands isn't going to happen
efficiently or effectively without the acquisition workforce.
During my tenure as Principal Military Deputy to Dr. Malcolm Ross
O'Neill, Army Acquisition Executive, rest assured that I'm going to
focus on rebuilding and growing the Army Acquisition Corps. This
includes AL&T, and most importantly the contracting workforce.
The continued growth of contracting remains our greatest challenge.
We have made progress, but there is still much more to do! We're
going to add more than 1,600 contracting professionals---military
and civilian---over the next several years to our contracting work-
force. And they are absolutely essential. I believe that our contract-
ing workforce, at least in previous years, is the most under-appreci-
ated skill in the Army.
We absolutely have to rebuild the skill. It takes, in my opinion, a
minimum of 5 years, but more realistically 8 to 10 years, before you
have a highly qualified contracting officer who can take on almost
any task at hand and execute that most complex contract.
Another of my top priorities, and this applies throughout the AL&T
community, is communications. As you're working your task, if
you're not communicating, you're probably making a mistake
and not taking advantage of an opportunity. If we are going to be
successful today in the acquisition business, it requires that we be
inclusive in the process for building our programs. Programs today
are part of a system, and very rarely will you find a program that
can be viewed and executed in isolation. To be successful today,
program managers must seek partnership and support from those
who are stakeholders in their systems, and the basis for any success-
ful partnership is clear, consistent communications between parties.
It is more important than ever that our acquisition
team seek to work effectively with others to figure out
how to increase system capabilities.
I am very serious about certification and professional
development of our professional corps members. If
you're a member of my, of our, Acquisition Corps and
you're not driving toward being certified in the skills
the Army has asked you to be certified in, I want to
seek you out and provide guidance. Seeking to become
certified is simply being a "professional"---it is expected and actually
"required." So, become certified in the shortest time possible!
It is often stated that the acquisition system hasn't responded
appropriately to the needs of warfighters. We sometimes focus on
what might be considered as having not gone so well. At the heart
of this is ensuring that we're doing all the right things to support our
warfighters. As we have executed programs and learned from those
that have "not gone so well," it remains important that we learn
from the mistakes we have made in the past, seek to change our
processes, and not make the same mistakes again!
The Army is executing an acquisition study led by Mr. Gil Decker,
former Army Acquisition Executive, and retired GEN Lou Wagner,
former Commander of U.S. Army Materiel Command. Secretary
John McHugh has brought them in to charter a study of the acquisi-
tion system. We will soon receive the final outbrief and the com-
plete report, which we expect to provide us with a blueprint to seek
continuous improvement of the acquisition process.
It's also important that we remember the many actions that we've
executed well across acquisition, such as aviation modernization,
Stryker BCTs, Blue Force Tracking, MRAP/M-ATV, the Rapid Fielding
Initiative, short-notice Foreign Military Sales support for Iraq's and
Afghanistan's requirements, and many others.
We have many new challenges as well. First is the building of the
network and network synchronization, the most important program
within the Army today. Lightening our Soldiers' load is another area
where we are putting a lot of effort. Finally, we must be looking
across the board at efficiencies. In order to continue supporting our
Soldiers with the very best capability, we will absolutely have to be-
come more efficient. Our Soldiers are depending upon each of us to
do our part!
I talk about these priorities, successes, and challenges in the recent
interview I had with Army AL&T Magazine. The interview begins on
Page 11 of this edition.
Finally, we have an incredibly talented, dedicated, and hardworking
Army AL&T Workforce. Dr. O'Neill and I have the utmost confidence
that as we continue to support our Soldiers in overseas contingency
operations, you will rise to every challenge and will succeed in
executing the Acquisition Corps' mission, as the true professionals
that you are.
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