Pentagon Honors Best in Acquisition With Packard Award

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan and Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ellen M. Lord, stand with members of the National Reconnaissance Office’s Low Earth Orbit System Program Office, which is among the four winning teams of the David Packard Excellence in Acquisitions Award during a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, Feb. 6, 2018.

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Washington, DC – The winners of the premiere Defense Department acquisition honor — the David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award — made exceptional contributions in support of the National Defense Strategy, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said on Friday (Feb. 16).

“Today is really about taking some time out to acknowledge some really spectacular accomplishments,” Shanahan said at the Pentagon ceremony honoring the four teams that received the award, which is named after former Deputy Defense Secretary David Packard.

Shanahan commended the teams for their hard work, innovation and creative ideas. He described their work as inspirational, saying their efforts support performance, affordability and increasing lethality.

“Your work embodies what we want to accomplish with the National Defense Strategy,” he said. “The type of work that the teams have done is exemplary of what the NDS is all about.”

The undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, Ellen M. Lord, said the teams epitomize the best in acquisition.

“We value acquisition because we are the people who need to take care of the taxpayers’ dollars,” she said. “We have roughly $1.9 trillion in programs of record over the next 10 years so it is significant that we take care of those dollars and spend them well.”

Award Honors Exemplary Innovation, Best Innovation

The David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award recognizes organizations, groups, and teams that have demonstrated exemplary innovation using best acquisition practices that achieve acquisition excellence in DoD.

It was first awarded in 1997, in honor of Packard, a deputy secretary of defense in the Nixon administration.

Packard was co-founder and chairman of the Hewlett-Packard Company and chairman of the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management, chartered by President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

He founded the Defense Systems Management College in 1971 and was a strong advocate of excellence in the defense acquisition practices and a revolutionary founder in how the department acquires products, according to defense officials.

2017 Packard Award Recipients

— The Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office for use of innovative contracting incentives and procurement approaches to manage their large and diverse portfolio of airborne platforms, including the P-8A Poseidon and P-3 Orion series anti-submarine aircraft and other special mission aircraft for the United States Navy and international customers and allies. They developed and implemented groundbreaking agreements and contracts with prime contractors and small businesses that lowered cost and delivered improved warfighting capability to the fleet 30-40 days ahead of contract schedule, while also leading plans to assume lead capability integrator for future P-8A incremental upgrade programs. Specifically, they procured 49 P-8A aircraft at unit costs almost $60 million lower than earlier production average costs and identified cost-saving opportunities to acquire two additional aircraft under congressional authority to “buy to budget.” In addition, the PMA-290 team quickly secured and fielded advanced airborne signals intelligence and classified special mission reconnaissance capability systems to support combatant commanders in theater and ensure the highest level of aircraft and mission readiness within the MPRA fleet;

— The Defense Contract Management Agency’s Special Programs Quick Closeout Team for innovation and creativity in the area of contract closeout. Previously, the rate of physically complete contracts coming due for closeout exceeded the number actually being closed, resulting in a 31.1 percent increase in overage contracts, further exacerbating the problem. The special programs team piloted new, quick closeout techniques that standardized risk factors and changed the paradigm in how contracts could be closed. This resulted in 4,805 contracts being closed using quick closeout alone and enabled a 32.8 percent improvement in overage contract reduction, creating a positive contract closeout rate and reducing the overage contract backlog. In doing so, they reduced the administrative burden to both industry and the government and limited the Department’s exposure to certain financial risks, ensuring the use of unliquidated funds from completed contracts before the funds could be canceled and returned to the Department of the Treasury. The team continued to innovate by expanding application to subcontractors, opening up an additional 10 percent of contracts to quick closeout. They also deployed multiple initiatives to encourage the practice beyond DCMA and across the Department of Defense, as well as other federal agencies, with potential significant improvements to the acquisition community at large in contract closeout records;

— The National Reconnaissance Office’s Signals Intelligence Systems Acquisition Directorate, Low Earth Orbit System Program Office for executing a successful campaign and launching the final Block 2 LEO SIGINT spacecraft in the face of significant obstacles. A catastrophe at the launch base and launch vehicle upper stage problems resulted in a lengthy delay and put the health of the batteries at risk. This forced a rare spacecraft de-encapsulation to allow for battery reconditioning. Once this reconditioning was completed, the launch proceeded without a single fault or out-of-tolerance condition. Simultaneously with the launch activity, the NRO LEO team completed the critical resign review for Block 3, leveraging cutting-edge technology to meet evolving threats in a manner that focuses on affordability. They achieved a reduction of over one billion dollars in recurring costs by distilling the mission needs to a core set and reducing the number of spacecraft requirements by 57 percent. The team’s actions ensure the newest addition to the NRO LEO SIGINT architecture will provide unmatched intelligence to the intelligence community and the warfighter while affordably meeting the tough new intelligence challenges of the future, and;

— The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Agile Web Presence Program Management Office for proactive approach and data-driven decision making efforts in addressing and satisfying external and internal user requirements within the intelligence community, Defense Department and NGA. The AWP PMO fundamentally changed the way users access, search for, and discover geospatial intelligence through NGA’s primary online web presence — the Globe. The AWP PMO took the NGA strategy to heart and made significant changes to the Globe, allowing customers from across the National System for Geospatial Intelligence to discover GEOINT content, expertise, and services. Additionally, the AWP team used agile methodology to deploy software releases with minimal downtime or risk that consequently resulted in an increased capacity to integrate more than 10 data sources with more than 5 million products. This increased authoritative content creation, service, and catalogs, as well as advanced search functions with location, topic, and event fields. Metrics collected showed these newest capabilities are driving more customers to the Globe and enhancing their experience with faster access to the GEOINT data and services, greatly enhancing intelligence-based decision making in support of the warfighter.

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