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News | April 14, 2016

Senior Executive Partnership Roundtable held at Defense Supply Center Richmond

By Leon Moore DLA Aviation Public Affairs

The Senior Executive Partnership Roundtable took place at the Frank B. Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, April 6. The SEPRT gathers senior executives from the 16 strategic supplier alliances to meet with the Defense Logistics Agency leadership and customer senior leaders to discuss general issues affecting Defense Logistics Agency Aviation suppliers.

Patrick Finegan, Strategic Contracting Directorate, Supplier Relationship Management Division chief, facilitated the event and welcomed all attending.  

"The strategic suppliers attending are our 16 largest suppliers. We do in excess of $50 million annually with each one. A little more than half of our business is with these 16 suppliers,” said Finegan.

“The point is to get them all together in a room, lay out where we need their help, and talk about how we can partner together to get better results for the warfighter.”

DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day started the daylong round table event by talking at great length about the importance of the theme for this event, which was “Getting to Zero Line Stops.”  

“As a supply chain, I realize, the best I can do is give the warfighter everything they need to be able to go out and do the best they can every single day. That’s what we need to do,” said Day.

He said to achieve this goal every action should focus on putting the warfighter first without exception, industry input and participation are critical, and any and all discussions must translate into measurable actions.

“We need to have a full-up team effort to make this work,” said Day.

Guest speaker for the day was Shay Assad, director, Defense Pricing. He’s responsible for contract pricing matters within the Department of Defense and serves as the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and the Defense Acquisition Board on acquisition and procurement negotiation strategies for all major weapon systems programs, and major automated information systems programs.

“The world is changing and it’s changing dramatically within the Department of Defense,” said Assad

He said the fiscal 2016, National Defense Authorization Act made some very dramatic changes in terms of commercial items. Both the Senate and House approved the NDAA, which authorized $607 billion in defense spending as well as $5 billion in cuts.

Assad said because of these fiscally-constraining times, straight to the point decisions have to be made in order to effectively support the warfighter.

“We want to get to the heart of the matter and that is, what should we pay for commercial items? We want higher quality proposals and more intense competition,” said Assad. “We want to go down the path of being much more focused on price-based, market-based, value-based discussions.”  

Charlie Lilli, deputy commander, DLA Aviation, along with representatives from Boeing and Lockheed Martin, gave Captains of Industry updates.

All three talked about the importance of the broad contractual/financial framework of the 10-year commitment between services, DLA and the defense contracting industry.

Lilli said the Captains of Industry leverages strategic supplier alliances, promotes innovation, drives performance, improves support, and reduces cost.

“What this relationship and contract does, it gives us, DLA and you, our supply base, the ability to solve some problems for our customers that we couldn’t have solved before,” he said.

He said COI allows for contracts expandable beyond parts support, service-driven requirements, life-cycle management support, and repair of repairables. Lilli also said COI develops innovative ideas and finds ways to make them work.

“This is really the thing we need to do to get to no-line stops,” said Lilli.

Cyber security within the Department of Defense was also a hot button issue during the SEPRT.

Linus Baker, director, DLA Information Operations Information Assurance told the audience that at the end of last year, DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch posed a simple question with regard to industry partners and cyber security. He said the director asked did we understand the level of risk across our supply chain with our industry partners.

DLA Information Operations then embarked on a cyber threat sharing and assurance initiative called Cyber Integration.

It established the Cyber Program Management Office that supports the execution of cyber elements across enterprise programs and services to identify and assist with planning cyber-related priorities, and provides greater situational awareness of initiatives underway within DLA, the military services, other 4th Estate Defense organizations, and industry.

The initiative increased engagement with industry partners by incorporating a cyber clause into applicable contracts, industry partner cyber incident reporting requirements, and engagement with the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Collaborative Information Sharing Environment (DCISE) and other applicable cyber threat information exchange forums and intelligence.

“This was brought about because we wanted to integrate our industry partners into that space of knowledge and understanding,” said Baker.

He said DLA Information Operations has now turned its attention towards increasing workplace cyber awareness, increasing and refining communications across the agency, as well as DLA’s industrial supplier base. DLA and commercial supplier partnerships are reforming operational readiness exercises that demonstrate and stress tests both DLA’s ability to accept certain levels of degraded services, as well as an industry partner’s ability to employ continuity plans of action and contract language refinement to address enhanced cyber security mandates.

The SEPRT gave Finegan a chance to socialize a new ratings system being put into place that will evaluate the effectiveness of the partnership between DLA Aviation and its supply base, will recognize outstanding partners and get input from all parties.

He said this new system is coming online because the pure metric-based rankings used in the past give incomplete pictures because the metrics are focused on consumables and in production/out of production effects and subjective factors measured less qualitative aspects of the relationships.

“None of this is going to work, strategically and innovatively, if we are not sharing information back and forth, if we are not working together as good partners,” said Finegan.

He said three critical factors will drive overall ratings:

1. Strategic Engagement - measures transparency and innovation related factors.

2. Tactical Support – measures supplier support of tactical workload.

3. Execution Agility – measures supplier’s ability to live up to commitments.

Suppliers can earn a rating of superior, above average, average and below average.

Finegan said the way forward for the new rating system involves quarterly updates of ratings and the first official ratings will be issued for SEPRT 2017.

“Next year, when you come into this forum, you will have your official rating from the relationships and you’ll have time to work under this environment, make changes, and work on things, before we give you something that we are holding you to,” he said.

Another item was DLA Aviation’s commitment to supporting the North Star Weapons Systems, a concept that came about from the Senior Leader Conference held earlier this year. Day said they asked the services, “What would be the one weapon system that we would focus on this year?”  

The Army identified its H-60 helicopter. The Navy and Marine Corps both came back and stated the F/A-18 models A-D fighter jets and the CH-53E helicopter. The Air Force identified the F-16 fighter jet.

Among the other topics on the SEPRT agenda were: supporting challenging weapon system platforms from customers and supplier’s perspective and rapid manufacturing.

At the end of the day, Finegan said the conference was a win-win situation across the board. “It gave us a chance to lay out our goals and our challenges and things we want. They [contractors] also benefitted because it gave them the opportunity to hear what our needs are and propose things that they can do to help.”

Day challenged the crowd to keep the positive dialogue going long after the lights in the Lotts Center go out.

“When we come together, there is really no force that can stand against us. The question is, can we get to that integrated solution that allows you to do the best you possibly can and leverage that for the warfighter?”

All in attendance agreed that the answer to Day’s question is “yes.”