President’s Message

It has been a few months since I sent a “Prez” msg out to the membership.  A lot has transpired since that time.  Two outstanding hot topic forums took place in quick succession – on 27 February and on 7 March.  These were followed by the DAU Acquisition Training Symposium on 3 April.  It was a close thing, but the DAU staff and faculty, and our own DAUAA staff, pulled it off – and well.

The first forum on 27 February was a presentation formatted as a “fireside chat” regarding major acquisition topics between Mr. Robert Stevens – former chairman, president, and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation – and DAU’s Forrestal-Richardson Industry Chair, Mr. Tom Davis. The discussion included a broad range of topics based on Mr. Steven’s lengthy experience in acquisition and systems development including requirements, practical issues on some major programs, the current industrial surge capacity, and the health of the defense industry following major consolidations of the 1990s. He had some penetrating observations regarding the U.S. in major power competition with other world countries.  The auditorium had 250 physical attendees and there was a wide VTC and WebEx audience.  This was the first use of the “fireside chat” format and it worked very well.

Then on 7 March, Mr. Nicolas Chaillan, Special Advisor for Cloud Security and DevSecOps to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, presented his vision for how to transform DoD software acquisition into secure, responsive software factories.  The DAU faculty sponsor for this event was Professor Bob Skertic, who is leading the DAU effort to update the DAU curriculum to reflect the “software factories” concept.  The main issue is that today’s DoD software acquisition is not responsive to our warfighter needs. As a result, DoD’s ability to keep pace with our potential adversaries is falling behind. Mr. Chaillan discussed how to use modern software acquisition processes and tools to revolutionize the Department’s ability to provide responsive, timely and secure software capabilities for our warfighters.  This session was physically attended by 250 acquisition professionals at Fort Belvoir (Howell Auditorium) and another 100 or so VTC and WebEx attendees.  Another success story for DAU!

After the outstanding 7 March hot topic forum we then had almost a month to complete planning for the Wednesday 3 April DAU Symposium.  Lots of details, but Ms. Caren Hergenroeder – the DAU Protocol Officer (and a DAUAA member) did most of the heavy lifting on DAU admin support for this major event in the DAU year.  Also got great support from the staff of our DAUAA contractor – Howard Associates – including the registration website, check-in, and many other functions.  The event came off on schedule and the plenary session and classroom breakouts keyed off the National Defense Strategy (NDS) – good decision by DAU C/S Joe Johnson (also a DAUAA member).  The theme was “Agile Acquisition – Delivering Capabilities Faster.”  The Honorable Alan R. Shaffer, Deputy USD (A&S) opened the 2019 Symposium with an incisive keynote address in which he stressed the need for acquisition professionals to become more knowledgeable and innovative in data management, artificial intelligence, intellectual property, and agile methods so as to counter the growing capabilities of our potential adversaries.  He has a “down-to-earth’ demeanor, and got his points across very well.  He also steered the audience in the direction of becoming very familiar with the National Defense Strategy (NDS) and its chief tenets:  Increase Lethality, Strengthen Alliances, and Reforming the DoD.  Overall, the goal is to “go faster” – with speed of relevance – on implementing the NDS and DoD System Acquisition.  Mr. Dave Floyd of the DAUAA Board worked a DAUAA display at the symposium and accrued many new members for the Association.

If you think we were done as the symposium wound down, you are wrong.  We had thank-you letters (50 of them) to write (great support from executive assistant to DAU C/S – Ms. Trish Griggs).  And we needed to load both the slide shows and videos of the plenary sessions and classroom breakouts for work force consumption.  Key to that were the DAU Coordinators for each breakout session, Mr. Mike Dorohovich working the DAUAA Training Page, and Mr. Sam Parks of the DAU Comm Team.  Sam worked WebEx with our Video Services Department and the Information Services Department.  Within 2 weeks of the symposium, we had the videos and slide shows available to the DoD and Industry work forces – a lot quicker than previous years when it would take about 4 weeks to load videos to the DAU Video Library (Media.dau).  The introduction of WebEx for not only video streaming, but also for audio sessions (with slide shows), is remarkable and a real breakthrough for DAU.

Today (17 April) is day 2 of the 2nd Annual “Leaders Building Leaders” event staged by the 4th Estate Defense Acquisition Career Manager (DACM) – Mr. Scott Bauer.  Our Capital Area Chapter is sponsoring the refreshments for this 3-day event and we have a display set up in the foyer of Scott Hall.  Hopefully it will translate into more memberships for the Alumni Association.   We always need new blood and new ideas.

  • Regards to all,   Bill Bahnmaier, President, DAUAA

About Bill Bahnmaier, DAUAA President: Bill Bahnmaier is a retired Marine and a former (retired) instructor at the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). In his last tour of duty as a Marine he was a major system PM of the Marine Corps Assault Amphibian. Since retirement, Bahnmaier works as an official volunteer at DAU and also is a part time consultant and instructor on defense acquisition matters. He and his wife Peggy reside in Alexandria, VA. They have 9 nephews and nieces and 18 great nephews and nieces.