Research Projects - Academic Year 2015-16
HOW DO RISK AVERSE CULTURES WITHIN THE DOD CONTRACTING COMMUNITY INFLUENCE THE ACQUISITION
OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS?
By Shauna J. Dover (Limited distribution. Requests for distribution should be referred to the author at, email@example.com)
The DoD IT systems contracting community has been under scrutiny for not keeping pace with the changes in technology. The buying process from requirement to delivery takes over 18 months. This situation has garnered attention from many sources, including Congress, industry, customers, and scholars. Many attempts have been made to “fix” IT systems contracting, but none has achieved the results or traction necessary to make a significant change in the
buying tempo. This research project focused on exploring the influence that risk averse cultures have on DoD IT systems contracting. By reviewing various Government and industry reports, books, and articles—along with discussions with senior DoD acquisition officials—three themes emerged as potential underlying causes of the dilemma in DoD IT systems contracting. The factors that had the most influence were identified as the experience level of the contracting officer, the influence that legal counsel exerts over contracting decisions, and the support of senior acquisition leaders. This paper concludes with recommendations for
shifting risk averse cultures to more risk tolerant cultures within the DoD IT systems contracting community.
HOW DOD PROGRAM MANAGERS IMPLEMENT FOREIGN MILITARY SALES INTO THEIR ACQUISITION STRATEGY
By Willie Jackson (Limited distribution. Requests for distribution should be referred to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org).
This research examined how Department of Defense (DoD) program managers (PMs) plan, integrate, and implement foreign military sales (FMS) into their acquisition strategy, including security considerations. DoD PMs are receiving increasing demands to execute FMS to their foreign partners in order to mitigate the uncertain fiscal environment they find themselves in today. This study examines the implementing process for FMS and determines whether the current policies and processes are deemed adequate for release of critical program information (CPI). It also examines how PMs can make better informed decision concerning FMS. This study employs an evidence-based research approach using primary and secondary sources of data. The findings from this study support the hypothesis that “DoD PMs are not fully complying with the process to ensure that certain CPI are fully identified and protected when planning for FMS. This is due primarily to a lack of planning prior to receipt of a letter or request under FMS procedures.”
The central study recommendation is that DoD PMs must plan, integrate, and implement program protection measures into their acquisition strategy at an early stage or during the Materiel Solution Analysis phase. Generally, program security concerns should be given high priority to identify and address all program system security engineering elements. Thus, DoD PMs and their respective security managers must remain vigilant in ensuring that necessary precautions are taken to avoid the accidental transfer of CPI under the auspices of FMS. PMs must plan early to develop regulatory security documents that are integral to the DoD program protection plan.
RETENTION OF MILLENNIAL EMPLOYEES IN THE ARMY ACQUISITION WORKFORCE
By Dr. Melanie L. Loncarich
Millennial employees are not flocking to government organizations in large numbers. And employees that do decide to join the Army acquisition workforce are staying only for a short period of time. As this trend continues and the older generations retire, the skilled Army acquisition workforce shrinks.
This research assesses whether there is a correlation between the Millennial generation and the well-documented employee retention factors, in order to devise a method for retaining Millennials in the Army acquisition workforce. Specifically, it explores the employee retention factors, generational characteristics, and generational differences in employee retention factors.
The research uses existing case studies and additional scholarly sources, producing a conceptual model to illustrate the importance of the aforementioned components to accomplish the retention of Millennial employees in the Army acquisition workforce. Understanding the factors that enable Millennial employee retention will allow organizations to grow and prosper in the future. More...
THE EFFECTS OF BETTER BUYING POWER 2.0 ON THE CULTURE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
By Patrick D. Morse (Limited distribution. Requests for distribution should be referred to the author at email@example.com).
The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of Better Buying Power (BBP) 2.0 and the extent to which BBP initiatives have impacted the culture of the Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition community. Specifically, the research examined whether the acquisition workforce was inculcating the critical and creative thinking tenets of BBP 2.0. Based on review and analysis of relevant literature on previous acquisition reform efforts and published BBP results to date, the research indicates slight improvements in cost savings and program efficiency, but does not indicate any change in workforce behaviors which differentiate BBP from previous acquisition reform mandates. Thus, the research suggests that BBP 2.0 has had a negligible effect on DoD acquisition culture to date and it is recommended that further studies be conducted to gain a greater understanding of both the qualitative impact of BBP and also the correlation of future cost savings with specific BBP initiatives.
ASSESSING THE ARMY’S SOFTWARE PATCH MANAGEMENT PROCESS
By Benjamin Alan Pryor
With the proliferation of information systems in the Department of Defense’s inventory along with the rise of third-party software vulnerabilities, software patch management has become a key focus for the Department of Defense Cyber Command. The implementation of a software patch management plan is the first line of defense to protect the network from exploitation from cyberattacks. Three organizations are responsible for testing, integrating, and distributing software patches to the end-users: program management offices, the U.S. Army Software Engineering Command, and the Sustainment Automation Support Management Office (SASMO).
With the increasing rate of third-party software releases, the challenge facing the SASMO community is how to install these third-party software patches in the most
expeditious and cost-effective manner. Nearly 15 years since the enactment of the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 as Public Law No. 107-347, many Federal agencies continue to report deficiencies in managing software patches within their systems. This study provides an overview of the software patch management process, an analysis of the reasons for the deficiencies in patch management, and some recommendations to assist the SASMO community to implement software patch management across the enterprise. More...
MOTIVATING THE ARMY ACQUISITION WORKFORCE
By Nicholaus Saacks
Many leaders and managers constantly deal with the problem of increasing their workforce’s motivation to improve organizational achievement. This is no different
within the Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW), a subset of Army employees that is in turn a subset of Department of Defense employees and of Federal employees as a whole. In order to provide AAW leaders and managers with insight about how to reach their workforce better, this study explores the motivation preferences of the AAW. The researcher leverages current discussion about motivation in general and public service motivation in particular, along with the results from the most recent
Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, to study this unique public sector population. More specifically, this research study attempts to determine whether the AAW is
primarily motivated by monetary incentives or by nonmonetary incentives.
This study analyzes and summarizes motivation theory and strategies through a literature review. The researcher also conducted secondary research using the 2015
Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, integrating the results into two motivation models as a means to survey the AAW motivation level and assess its motivation preferences. While this research study did not conclusively prove the AAW motivation preferences, the research, analysis, and data provide insight to supervisors and leaders wishing to increase the AAW’s motivation. More...
THE APPLICATION OF BOUNDARY-SPANNING LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES IN ARMY ACQUISITION PROGRAM TRANSITION
By Daniel A. Schwartz (DISTRIBUTION B. Distribution authorized to U.S. Government Agencies only; operations security, June 26, 2016. Other requests for this document shall be referred to U.S. Army, Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005.)
This research looks at how Army product support managers (PSMs) are using boundary-spanning practices and principles in their responsibilities to plan for and implement the transition of Army major weapon systems (including automated information systems) to long-term sustainment The research draws on work on boundary spanning from the Center of Creative Leadership, as well as on various case studies of programs that have transitioned to long-term sustainment or failed
to transition for a variety of reasons. The literature supports the notion that boundary-spanning practices, when used in a disciplined manner, can overcome impediments caused by stovepipe organizational constructs in the vertical, horizontal, and external stakeholder domains. This is especially relevant given the hierarchical nature of governmental organizations including the Department of Defense and the Army. The literature review discusses how Army PSMs and their
project managers are either unaware of the basic practices of boundary spanning as a formal discipline, or do not see the urgent need to institutionalize the discipline in practice. The program case studies described in this research illustrate a critical gap between the Army’s life-cycle management commands and their counterparts in the materiel developer community, who develop and field these major weapon systems. This research shows that the use of boundary-spanning practices in a disciplined manner can fill this gap to a great extent. Army leadership should consider boundary-spanning training for PSMs and reconsider their
processes and criteria for selecting PSMs.
Army Program Management in System Sustainment
By Wing C. Young (DISTRIBUTION B. Distribution authorized to U.S. Government Agencies only; operations security, July 1, 2016. Other requests for this document shall be referred to CECOM SEC Security Office.)
The Department of Defense (DoD) spends about 70% of its acquisition budget on weapon systems sustainment. It has emphasized total life-cycle systems management by program management and has mandated the use of product support managers (PSMs) to fill the void of sustainment management. PSMs, separate from program manager (PM) positions and direct reports to the PMs, are responsible for sustainment management. DoD PMs, with support from PSMs, will have full
accountability and responsibility for a system’s life cycle.
This research paper examines whether current DoD and Army regulations and guidance are consistent with regard to the incorporation of PSMs in Army acquisition systems. It also examines whether the current Army construct (e.g., the way sustainment is resourced) enables assigned PSMs to carry out their responsibilities to manage sustainment efforts. The research was completed by consulting secondary data available from the DoD, other Government organizations such as the Government Accountability Office, and other published sources. The research found that the Army guidance has been inconsistent and that the current Army
construct is not conducive for sustainment management by assigned PSMs. It recommends that the Army update its PSM-related guidance and regulations so that a consistent message—that a PSM is required for each Army acquisition program regardless of its Acquisition Category level—is clear to all Army acquisition personnel. It further recommends that sustainment budgets be approved by the PSM and that PSMs hold annual sustainment reviews with sustainment support personnel.