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Contracting Challenges in the Missile Defense Agency. Andrew C. Obermeyer, Director of Contracting Tests, Targets & Countermeasures Missile Defense Agency Date August 5, 2008 Time 10:45 – 11:45. The Challenge. So you think you want to be

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Contracting Challenges in the Missile Defense Agency

Andrew C. Obermeyer, Director of Contracting

Tests, Targets & Countermeasures

Missile Defense Agency

Date August 5, 2008

Time 10:45 – 11:45

The challenge
The Challenge

So you think you want to be

the Director of Contracts for a large organization…….?

Missile Defense Agency (MDA)

Who and What is MDA?

A Little Background…

  • What exactly is MDA? (Timeframe: November 2004)

  • - A new “Other Defense Agency” under DoD AT&L

  • - Previous heritage was SDIO and BMDO (circa 1984)

  • - Numerous, quasi-independent systems – “Elements”

    • Each element managed and “optimized” separately

    • Individual budgets and resources – Few constraints

    • Most contracting was done by Services (Army, Navy Air Force)

    • Very little centralized control of contracts or programs at MDA

    • No demonstrated missile defense capability to warfighter

  • - MDA was chartered in 2002 by Presidential Mandate

    • Goal: integrated “system of systems” w/C2BMC capability

    • Control and integrate all assets, then integrate with warfighters

    • MDA given leeway from DODD 5000 series, other flexibilities

  • - Approximately 65% of MDA Personnel are Contractors

    • SETA Support: Does not count personnel from R&D Contracts

  • MDA “dares to be different” – for better or worse!!

Integrated ballistic missile defense system
Integrated Ballistic Missile Defense System


Forward-Based Radar

With Adjunct Sensor


X-Band Radar

Early Warning Radar

Defense Support Program

Space Tracking And Surveillance System

Sea-Based Radars

Boost Defense Segment

Terminal Defense Segment

Midcourse Defense Segment

Sea-Based Terminal

Airborne Laser

Kinetic Energy


Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense / Standard Missile-3

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense

Patriot Advanced Capability-3

Ground-Based Midcourse Defense

Multiple Kill Vehicle

Command, Control, Battle Management & Communications







An integrated approach to ballistic missile defense
An Integrated Approach To Ballistic Missile Defense





Kill Vehicle







Refinement and

Interceptor Updates


Location and





Node (FDC)





Node (MDE)




and Track


Cobra Dane Radar


Aegis Radar







Standard Missile

AN/TPY-2 Radar


Capability based acquisition
Capability-Based Acquisition


Capability Delivery

Funding Profile









Warfighter Feedback

Warfighter Feedback





Requirement and Threat Definition

2 Year Cycle





Rqmt Def.





Service Prog. Mgt.

Test Auth.


Fielding Auth.

  • Strengths

    • Fully flexible funding

    • Combined development and operational testing

    • Integrated capability management

  • Risks

    • Transition to services

Approved for Public Release

07-MDA-2362 (27 MAR 07)

The scene november 2004 1 of 2
The Scene: November 2004 (1 of 2)

  • New MDA Director – Lt Gen “Trey” Obering

    • Focused on Integrated Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS)

      • Completely integrated mission capability for warfighter

      • “Limited Defensive Operations” established per president’s mandate

    • Desire to transition from loose confederation of R&D organizations into an integrated, interdependent systems acquisition organization

    • “Capability Based” Acquisition and management

    • MDA Director is SAE, HCA and BMDS Program Manager

The scene november 2004 2 of 2
The Scene: November 2004 (2 of 2)

  • Most MDA contracting accomplished externally

    • Service contract numbers, policies and procedures – not MDA

    • MDA desired more centralized control, decision making via:

      • MDA contracting personnel awarding and administering……

      • MDA contracts (pursuant to contracting authority from MDA HCA)

      • Notwithstanding “quality of service” provided by services

  • Director’s Mandate: establish an MDA “system contracting” organization with robust capability across the entire BMDS!

The scene cont d
The Scene Cont’d…

  • MDA Contracting Locations

    • National Capital Region (NCR) – MDA

    • Aegis BMD (NCR) - Navy

    • Huntsville (HSV) - Army

    • Colorado Springs (COS) - MDA

    • Albuquerque (ABQ) – Air Force

    • Los Angeles (LOS) – Air Force

  • Lots of Dispersion, No Control

  • Goal: Develop an Organic MDA Workforce

Fast forward spring 2005
Fast Forward – Spring 2005

  • New, evolving agency – “herding cats”

  • BRAC move to Huntsville by 2010

  • Transition from R&D to system acquisition

  • Transition to organic capability to do MDA contracting and program management

  • Focus on the future vice precedence

  • Reengineering of policies and processes

  • Everything was changing - and still is!!

Wanna be a contracts director
Wanna Be A Contracts Director?

  • Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to recruit, retain, and develop a highly competent system contracting organization to support transition of advanced technology into an operational mission

  • Your constraints:

    • You must provide immediate, high-quality support

    • The mission and workload are rapidly expanding

    • You’re already severely undermanned

    • You must “take back” programs from services

    • MDA is BRAC’d to Huntsville by NLT 2011

    • Govt 1102 availability is scarce in NCR, elsewhere

    • The HR hiring system is seriously deficient

    • MDA is suffering significant budget cuts

    • OSD opposes using contractor support vice 1102

Perspective nov 2004 1 of 2
Perspective: Nov 2004 (1 of 2)

  • MDA senior leadership criticism

    • Contracting directorate was too “top heavy”

      • Too many chiefs, not enough Indians

      • Result of specific direction of previous MDA Director

    • Contracting directorate was overmanned

      • Number of slots were cut based on this assumption

    • Frustration over external support by services; inability to account for specific quantity of support acquired

Perspective nov 2004 2 of 2
Perspective: Nov 2004 (2 of 2)

  • Actions taken by Contracting Directorate (DAC)

    • Reduced number of directors, gave more responsibility

    • Maintained workload level; previous cuts were restored after recognition that Contracting was actually undermanned

    • Prepared plan for MDA Director to stand up completely “organic” MDA contracting directorate by 2010 – approved!

The challenge creating an organization in huntsville 1 of 2
The Challenge: Creating an Organization in Huntsville (1 of 2)

  • Spring 2006

    • Accelerated BRAC transition already evident

    • Largest MDA program – Ground Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) had major disconnect/problem

      • Program Office in Huntsville, Contracting Office in NCR

      • GMD Program Director expressed desire for collocation

        • Mandated significant acceleration of planned schedule

The challenge creating an organization in huntsville 2 of 2
The Challenge: Creating an Organization in Huntsville (2 of 2)

  • Other MDA programs needed HSV presence

    • THAAD – already in HSV, but not MDA contracting

    • Targets - same as above

    • NCR programs – some moving to HSV ahead of schedule

    • Numerous programs in HSV administered by SMDC for MDA

  • The Goal: Create major presence in HSV ASAP!!

  • Desired attributes huntsville
    Desired Attributes - Huntsville 2)

    • Diverse backgrounds and experience – “jointness”

      • Recruit personnel from around the country

    • “Best and Brightest” capability

    • Strong work ethic and dedication

    • Ability to perform well under continuous pressure

    • Adaptability, flexibility and creativity – “risk taking”

      • “Find a way to get the mission accomplished”

    • Teamwork: with program office, contracting office

    • Willingness and ability to accept ambiguity

    • Bottom Line: “Delight the Customer!”

    Standing up the new organization management concerns
    Standing up the New Organization: Management Concerns 2)

    • Who to recruit?

      • Majority of NCR personnel unwilling to relocate to HSV

      • Majority of available 1102s are in Huntsville

      • Desire to avoid “raiding” existing agencies in Huntsville

        • But most SMDC personnel already doing work for MDA

        • Market for 1102s increasingly scarce – even in Huntsville

      • Avoid “Huntsville-centric” way of thinking

        • Desire of agency to do things differently

        • Want to avoid established paradigms and “groupthink”

    • Where to put them?

      • Acceptable office space critically short – “quality of life”

    Standup concerns cont d
    Standup Concerns Cont’d 2)

    • Timing

      • If you need people now based on workload, do you hire “best currently available” instead of taking longer to hire “best ultimately available” – may be a big difference!

    • Contractor Support Services (CSS)

      • An established part of the MDA workforce in the NCR

        • Perform Contract Specialist duties

        • Critical to mission accomplishment in NCR

        • Can be recruited more easily and faster than normal govt process

      • Not generally used in most agencies – but increasing

      • Augment with CSS if can’t hire desired quality/quantity?

    • Critical Issue: What is the right balance?

    • Tradeoff: How much “hurt” can we accept if delay?

    • Decision: Hire best available, let market sort out

    The current environment 1 of 2
    The Current Environment (1 of 2) 2)

    • NCR programs are moving faster than anticipated

    • NCR personnel are leaving MDA faster than anticipated

      • Difficult to hire replacement personnel in the NCR – BRAC impact

    • Overall MDA workload is increasing – everywhere!

    The current environment 2 of 2
    The Current Environment (2 of 2) 2)

    • Creates need for accelerated recruitment for HSV

      • But are there enough qualified people? By what standard?

      • 1102s are in short supply everywhere – especially 1102s with systems acquisition backgrounds

      • What is impact to losing agencies? How much control do we have?

    • MDA “reengineering” – different structure, processes

      • Agency will do most of its contracting in Huntsville by Summer 2008

    Huntsville projections
    Huntsville Projections 2)

    • Fall 2005: 0

    • Fall 2006: 10

    • Fall 2007: 100

    • Fall 2008 130

    • Fall 2009 150

    • Fall 2010 200

    Organic contracting capability
    Organic Contracting Capability 2)

    • NCR (Aegis) – Conversion to MDA by end of 2007

    • LOS (STSS) – Conversion to MDA by end of 2007

    • ABQ (ABL) – Conversion to MDA by end of 2009

    • COS (MDIOC) – No conversion necessary

    • HSV (SMDC) – Conversion NLT 2010

    • Goal is consistency and transparency across MDA

      • Common policies

      • Common processes

      • Common culture

    • Contracting is leading the way in MDA

    Current status huntsville
    Current Status - Huntsville 2)

    • Contracting directorates stood up to support:

      • GMD

      • THAAD

      • European Site

      • Kinetic Energy Interceptor

      • Multiple Kill Vehicle

      • Targets and Countermeasures

      • Advanced Research Center

      • Simulation Center

      • International Support

    • More programs are on the way!

    Current environment for mda
    Current Environment for MDA 2)

    • Congressional mandate: restore quantity and quality of acquisition workforce – MAJOR DPAP Objective

    • Congress/OSD concern over inherently governmental functions – are we operating as we’re supposed to?

    • 2007 DPAP PMR Audit of MDA Contracting

      • Criticized heavy use of contractor support personnel and the way in which they are used (at MDA, KR support perform all functions (including negotiations) except PCO decisions and signature)

      • Perceived abuse of authority, potential COI

    • Subsequent DPAP Direction to MDA to create plan to eliminate use of contractor support personnel

    • Okay, Director: What would you do??

    What else lies ahead
    What Else Lies Ahead? 2)

    • Building a replacement workforce

      • Focus on a robust intern program

        • Nationwide recruiting

        • Intense training program with rotational assignments

      • Increased national recruiting at journeyman level

        • Good people want to come to Huntsville – we need to find them

    • Major emphasis on internal training

      • Cross-pollination based on diverse backgrounds

      • Challenge workforce to improve their capabilities

    • Ultimate goal: a “world class” workforce