The aggressively evolving landscape of rapid acquisition requires both Government and Industry to adapt and be prepared to pivot at a dramatically accelerated pace. Other Transaction Authorities, Consortia, Middle-Tier Rapid Prototyping and Fielding, Partner Intermediaries, Pitch events, Hackathons, and the like have reshaped how technology is identified, researched, developed, tested, and transitioned to the field. For industry, this means that the pipeline for production may very well begin in a nontraditional manner.
Check out this recorded presentation below with Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, the Honorable James “Hondo” Geurts, Michelle Hodges, Senior Contracting Official for the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, and other esteemed guests for a discussion of “Mamba Acquisition: Incorporating new techniques; experimenting; missing shots, and learning from mistakes, fearlessly.” Attendees will hear first hand how the DOD and industry partners are leveraging and adjusting to new authorities and techniques for rapidly transitioning technology, and gathering lessons learned along the way.
Mr. Jim “Hondo” Geurts was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (ASN (RD&A)), following his confirmation by the Senate in November 2017. As the Navy’s acquisition executive, Mr. Geurts has oversight of an annual budget in excess of $60 billion and is responsible for equipping and supporting the finest Sailors and Marines in the world with the best platforms, systems, and technology as they operate around the globe in defense of the Nation.
Mr. Geurts previously served as the Acquisition Executive, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), at MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, where he was responsible for all special operations forces acquisition, technology, and logistics. In this position, his innovative leadership and technological ingenuity provided rapid and affordable acquisition that positively impacted the USSOCOM acquisition workforce and the special operations forces capability on the battlefield. These contributions were recognized by both private and public institutions during his tenure to include earning the Presidential Rank Award, USSOCOM Medal, William Perry Award, and Federal Times Vanguard Award for Executive of the Year.
Prior to Senior Executive Service, Mr. Geurts began his career as an Air Force officer where he served as an acquisition program manager with engineering and program management leadership positions in numerous weapon systems including intercontinental ballistic missiles, surveillance platforms, tactical fighter aircraft, advanced avionics systems, stealth cruise missiles, training systems, and manned and unmanned special operations aircraft.
He has over 30 years of extensive joint acquisition experience and served in all levels of acquisition leadership positions including Acquisition Executive, Program Executive Officer, and Program Manager of Major Defense Acquisition Programs.
Mr. Geurts is a distinguished 1987 ROTC graduate from Lehigh University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB and in National Security Resourcing from Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Washington, D.C. Mr. Geurts also attended executive leadership and international studies programs at Harvard Kennedy School and George Washington Elliot School.
Benjamin McMartin is Managing Partner of the Public Spend Forum, a Washington DC-based firm dedicated to enabling open public markets worldwide. Ben is a nationally recognized expert, and speaker in Federal procurement and non-traditional acquisition methodologies, who spent more than a decade developing some of the most unique procurement solutions for the Department of Defense. He was instrumental in the development and implementation of defense policy and guidance for the use of Other Transaction Authorities and is a regular speaker on topics related to alternative acquisition methods, public procurement culture, and acquisition reform.
Ms. Michelle Hodges is the Senior Contracting Official for the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO). The RCCTO serves to expedite critical capabilities to the field to meet Combatant Commanders’ needs. The Office enables the Army to experiment, evolve, and deliver technologies in real-time to address both urgent and emerging threats while supporting acquisition reform efforts.
In a detailed assignment from May – December 2018, Ms. Hodges supported the standup of the Army Futures Command as the Contracting Cell lead. She was responsible for advising the leadership team on all matters relating to contracting, prioritizing contracting requirements with the Army Contracting Command, monitoring contract execution in support of Army Futures Command and the Cross Functional Teams, and managing the internal headquarters Army Futures Command contract requirements.
Ms. Hodges served as the Chief of the Army Contracting Command – Aberdeen Proving Ground Belvoir Division from July 2015 to May 2018. Ms. Hodges ensured the execution of the contracting mission for a variety of mission partners on Fort Belvoir, including Project Manager Biometrics and Project Manager Terrestrial Sensors for Program Executive Office (PEO), Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (IEW&S), Project Manager, Expeditionary Energy and Sustainment Systems (PM E2S2) for PEO Combat Systems and Combat Service Support (CS&CSS), and the Night Vision Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD). This required contracts for research and development, production of and services for Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, as well as grants and Other Transaction Authority agreements.
Prior to this Ms. Hodges was a Branch Chief and Contracting Officer for ACC-APG, where she was responsible for planning and executing contract actions in support of programs under the purview of Project Manager Close Combat Systems for PEO Ammunition. As a Contracting Officer, Ms. Hodges was responsible for the management of two highly complex Quick Reaction Capability programs in direct support of the war efforts; the Husky Mounted Detection System (HMDS) and the Vehicle Optics Sensor System (VOSS). Both programs were initiated under Joint Urgent Operation Needs Statements (JUONS), and were under simultaneous development, testing and fielding to meet the inflexible fielding requirements in Theater.
Ms. Hodges holds an M.B.A. from George Washington University and a B.B.A. in Management from James Madison University. She is a graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows at the Harvard Kennedy School and awards include the Army Superior Civilian Service Award and the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service. Ms. Hodges is an Army Acquisition Corps member with Level III Certification in Contracting and Level I Certification in Program Management.
Anne Laurent, NCMA Professional Practice and Innovation Director, has spent more than 30 years leading analysis and reporting on federal acquisition, management, and the federal market. She created the NCMA Acquisition Innovators Hub webpage and the monthly INNOVATIONS column in Contract Management magazine. She curates the Acquisition Innovators Weekly, an online newspaper.
She founded The Acquisition Innovators Hub—an online forum, weekly newsletter, and information source. Through the Hub, she created the Federal Innovation Ecosystem Map, a guide to federal acquisition groups created to bring innovation and innovative suppliers into the federal market.
Anne has been a National Academy of Public Administration fellow for 20 years.
Bernice Kiyo Glenn, newly named Vice President of Strategic Program Development of NineTwelve, develops innovation facilities, prototyping programs, and public-private partnerships for national security and commercial applications. Glenn leads Partner-Nation Teaming as a Board Member of the International Security Industry Council-Japan and co-leads a Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity organization, PacSec. Glenn is also the Managing Partner of Inovi Group, providing an interactive map of the federal innovation ecosystem and technology scouting services. She is the mother of an 82nd Airborne Combat Engineer (Sapper) USMA ‘17 currently deployed and daughter of an 11th Airborne Paratroop Infantry Commander and career Army officer USMA ‘39. Bernice specializes in innovation collaboration between the United States and the Allied Nations.