News: Kendall to DCMA: You're at the heart of BBP
Story by Misha King
FORT LEE, Va. - Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, met with Defense Contract Management Agency commanders and leaders at agency headquarters here June 6 during a three-day Commanders Forum where he spoke in-depth about his Better Buying Power initiatives.
“I think it’s pretty obvious where DCMA fits into all this — you’re at the heart of Better Buying Power,” Kendall said. “Your people are out there with industry partners making sure they fulfill their contracts, helping us with business practices, the quality of products and much more. I’m very grateful for the work you’ve done.”
BBP, which was launched in 2010, is the implementation of best practices to strengthen the Department of Defense’s buying power, improve industry productivity, and provide an affordable, value-added military capability to the warfighter. It encompasses a set of fundamental acquisition principles to achieve greater efficiencies through affordability, cost control, elimination of unproductive processes and bureaucracy, and promotion of competition. BBP is currently in its second version, referred to as BBP 2.0.
“Better Buying Power is all about continuous improvement,” said Kendall. While explaining the progression of BBP, he said many of the things started with BBP 1.0 are very valid and will continue. “There are a few things we decided didn’t work, had to change or were dropped. It’s all movement in the same general direction of improving our efficiency and productivity.”
Kendall said BBP 1.0 tended to be about the rules, whereas BBP 2.0 focuses on the best ways to solve specific DOD problems.
“It’s much more about thinking critically, making good decisions and tools to help people do that. I think all of you who work in this business have seen contracts that are not well-written and could’ve been better-structured. One of my favorite aphorisms is, ‘you get what you accept.’”
Another major area BBP 2.0 covers is professionalism and people.
“I think at the end of the day, the quality of the workforce and the level of expertise, the ability to think creatively — but also to have the professional knowledge and experience that allows you to do that well — is what has to characterize us and what we need to build up. We’re all professionals, but we can all improve and constantly learn something new.”
In looking toward the future, Kendal said BBP 3.0 will go in a slightly different direction.
“I’m increasingly concerned about modernization by others and what it’s doing to us competitively,” he explained. “We can’t afford to stay complacent about where we are. We need to get back to work on technological superiority. BBP 3.0 is going to be about innovation and the process of moving technology from the laboratory into the hands of the warfighter.”
Kendall acknowledged the fiscal challenges DOD faces and said his office has been conducting zero-based budget reviews to better understand the various elements of each DOD agency budget.
“The services have had to cut their budgets dramatically,” he explained. “The intent of this review is to see if AT&L is funding things that are lower priority than the things the services are cutting. Not surprisingly, we haven’t found a lot of fat so far. But, we’ve found some money I think we can offer back up for more important priorities. That’s the sort of thing we should all be doing — think about the greater needs and what we can do to contribute to them as well as do our own missions.”
Army Col. John A. Ellis, DCMA Central Region commander, understands the importance of BBP and said it’s always good to reiterate our commitment to be responsible stewards of the nation’s scarce resources.
“We ultimately work for the nation’s warfighters and taxpayers, and BBP helps us orient our efforts to make every penny scream,” Ellis said. “The professionals of the Central Region — and the agency as a whole — take this responsibility very seriously; it’s at the forefront of all we do.”
During his visit to DCMA headquarters, Kendall also recognized several employees who have demonstrated exceptional and creative performance. Ken Majewski, Office of General Counsel; Jon Nelson, Portfolio Management and Integration Directorate; Jeanette Rhodes, Engineering and Analysis Directorate; and Jed Smith, Operations Directorate, received Spotlight Award certificates and coins for their efforts in improving the agency’s efficiency.
“They’re examples of people who are going beyond just doing their job by thinking of better ways to do the job — ways to gain more with the limited resources we have,” said Kendall. “That’s exactly what we all need to do."