To collaborate, share best practices and tackle cross-platform issues, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s F-22 Program Office hosted its inaugural Rapid Acquisition Forum June 11-12 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
The event, which was organized by and geared toward mid-level and junior acquisition professionals, included informative panel discussions and interactive presentations highlighting various acquisition issues, program specific topics and networking opportunities.
“We were inspired to host the event in part due to the experiences we’ve had in our program,” said Maj. Zach McCarty, program manager for F-22 Pipeline Operations. “In F-22 we have been on a journey to go faster and be more effective in delivering capability. We’ve learned a great deal and have been trying to share what we’ve learned with others. In the process we have learned many great things other offices are doing and we recognized that the acquisition community doesn’t have a good platform for sharing ideas and lessons learned. So we decided to create an event to improve communication and collaboration among program offices and other stakeholders.”
Featured at the forum was keynote speaker Dr. Jeff Boleng, special assistant for Software Acquisition to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, who spoke about the importance of software in acquisition.
“It’s my strong contention that most, if not all Department of Defense programs are software intensive and we should always work on our software first,” said Boleng. “Software is infused in every program. Even if the end product is not heavy in software, all the modelling, simulation, and supporting development tools are largely all software. One challenge I have for program managers is to continuously invest in refactoring and modernizing our codebases and include in their acquisition strategies and program plans, the resources to ensure we are keeping our codebases healthy.”
More than 25 offices were represented at the forum, with a number of attendees being from outside of AFLCMC, including the Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, Air Force Research Laboratory and AFWERX.
“The objective of this event was to kick off a broader effort to get the working-level acquisition community talking, sharing and helping each other accelerate the way we do business from the ground up,” said McCarty. “The success of this initial forum proved tremendous value. We have now formed a coalition of change agents who will be scaling these gains even broader within the Air Force and to include our joint partners. More events and online collaboration spaces are in the works. We welcome fellow acquisition warriors to join us and help change the game.”
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