2019 Government Innovation Awards

Rising Star: Michelle Johnson

Communications Manager and Senior Research Analyst, Section 809 Panel, Defense Acquisition University

Michelle Johnson 

Reforming the Defense Department’s acquisition system is a daunting challenge, but Michelle Johnson has made the Section 809 Panel’s attempt to do that immeasurably easier. She has investigated how commercial IT markets have developed and coordinated with industry partners, government agencies and academia to better understand and improve DOD’s IT acquisition strategy.

The panel officially completed its mission in July, but Johnson’s contributions continue to resonate. The group’s recommendations were woven into the 2018 and 2019 defense policy bills and are expected to be incorporated into the upcoming 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

Lawrence Asch, who also served on the Section 809 Panel, said Johnson’s knowledge and expertise grew steadily throughout the process. She started out editing, styling and formatting regulatory tomes — a feat in itself — and then led data collection efforts that resulted in seven key IT recommendations to Congress. She spearheaded two of them: establishing an exemption to Clinger-Cohen Act provisions and creating a pilot program that allows IT consultants to directly contract with DOD via an online marketplace.

“At every point, Ms. Johnson made the case for transforming the defense acquisition system into one that delivers lethality to the warfighter in time to meet current challenges while being adaptive enough to respond to emerging global threats well into the future,” Asch said.

About the Author

Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.


  • Management
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    Where does the TMF Board go from here?

    With a $1 billion cash infusion, relaxed repayment guidelines and a surge in proposals from federal agencies, questions have been raised about whether the board overseeing the Technology Modernization Fund has been scaled to cope with its newfound popularity.

  • IT Modernization
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    OMB provides key guidance for TMF proposals amid surge in submissions

    Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat details what makes for a winning Technology Modernization Fund proposal as agencies continue to submit major IT projects for potential funding.

Stay Connected