By Steve Kelman

Blog archive

The Lectern: Naval Postgraduate School acquisition research conference

Every May for the last five years, the Naval Postgraduate School has brought together practitioners, "pracademics" (a cross between a practitioner and an academic), and academics for a two-day conference presenting research of various sorts on topics related to defense acquisition, particularly for weapons systems. The conference provides a nice window on what people in the acquisition community are thinking about. Some of the themes that seem to get mentioned a lot included: (1) competition is good for the government: Jack Gansler (senior Defense Department acquisition official during the President Clinton's second term, now at the University of Maryland) noted that the evidence is pretty strong that for major systems, competitive prototyping seems to more than pay for itself in terms of cost, schedule, and quality. (2) jointness across the services is happening: "Today everything is joint," a Navy participant said, at least to some extent (joint components, joint development of capabilities). "Young users expect capabilities to be joint" and for people to collaborate, somebody else said. (This person criticized the government's negative attitude towards social-networking sites and tools.) (3) with COTS, the challenge is integration and interfaces: the risk and cost moves from development risk/cost to interface risk/cost.

Compared to standard academic conferences, this was a guy event -- about 90 percent of the participants were men, there were a fair number of sports analogies, and PowerPoint slides of assorted weapons frequently looked phallic. I mentioned this to a senior government manager at the conference, who is a woman, and she said that compared to most conferences with DOD folks, this one had a lot of women, which she attributed to its academic nature. Everything's relative, I guess.

Posted by Steve Kelman on May 16, 2008 at 12:10 PM


Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.