DAU-SSCF program participants visit Pentagon and speak with leaders

By Stefanie Pidgeon

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (March 11, 2019)—Participants in the Defense Acquisition University Senior Service College Fellowship program (DAU-SSCF) visited the Pentagon for two days of engagements with Army and DOD leaders earlier this month, part of the program’s goal to broaden participants’ understanding of the numerous organizations involved in defense acquisition.

The DAU-SSCF program is a 10-month educational and leadership development opportunity for Army and non-Army civilians in the acquisition field who are on track for executive-level service.

During their Pentagon visit March 6-7, they heard from senior leaders in acquisition and Army headquarters staff elements, giving them a behind-the-scenes look at into how the administration and Army leaders work with industry, government agencies and congressional leaders to support the National Defense Strategy.

“We need to work in real time and get things done,” said Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment. Lord stressed the importance of government-industry partnerships and the ability to communicate about what’s of value to the department in terms of readiness and modernization. She also discussed the mission of the Defense Innovation Board, which is set up to address challenges associated with people and culture, technology and capabilities, and practices and operations.

Later in the day, participants heard from Brig. Gen. Omar J. Jones IV, the Army chief of public affairs. Jones told the group that as high-level civilians they should embrace communications and help tell the Army and acquisition story. “Our messaging is tied to the Army’s priorities, the Army vision and the National Defense Strategy,” he said.

On day two, participants met with Craig A. Spisak, director of the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC) and the Army Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACM). Spisak spoke about the importance of finding, hiring and retaining talent, noting that jobs in the acquisition career field require “a lot of creativity and innovation.” He pushed the participants to ask themselves and their team: “Why don’t we try something different?” and stressed the importance of ongoing training and education, which is critical in an industry that changes so fast.

In addition to the Pentagon visit, program participants take part in leadership courses, conduct research in acquisition issues and processes, and participate in a mentoring program with government and industry leaders.

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