News: Aircraft ops builds success through safety
Story by Patrick Tremblay
FORT LEE, Va. — Navy Capt. Drew Swenson’s career has given him a cumulative understanding of the importance of risk assessment and safety. “Every job I’ve ever had has an influence on what I do today,” he said.
Swenson is executive director of Aircraft Operations at the Defense Contract Management Agency. His team supports contracts for more than 35 aircraft types at more than 50 contractor facilities. This includes the critical test flights and acceptance of government aircraft, where the highest levels of control and safety are necessary to mitigate potentially expensive or dangerous risks.
“Safety, policy, risk assessment and training are the pillars of what AO does,” said Swenson, a career naval flight officer with more than 25 years of government and civilian aviation experience.
Many of the DCMA people functionally aligned with AO are in uniform – active duty service members assigned as government ground or flight representatives at select contract management offices. The directorate works with DCMA Human Capital, Operations, International and Special Programs to identify and fill these positions.
The directorate establishes requirements for ground and flight operations involving all contracted work performed on aircraft, as well as policies and procedures to be followed by government flight representatives. AO also works directly with the services on behalf of DCMA on delineating responsibilities in testing and accepting aircraft.
Swenson said all of AO policies, procedures and training are ultimately related to safely accomplishing the mission. “Our primary purpose is to reduce risk across the Aircraft Operations enterprise.”