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Teamwork overcomes cultural, language differences

By Elizabeth Szoke DCMA Public Affairs

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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, July 27, 2017 — Defense Contract Management Agency International recently teamed with German officials to host its 16th Host Nation Conference. The conference provides a forum for partnering nations to discuss quality assurance and contract auditing, which are exchanged through international agreements.

International Commander Navy Capt. Sonya Ebright was impressed with the amount of collaboration during the event.

“The teamwork that happens at these host nation conferences is phenomenal to see throughout the discussions,” Ebright said. “Despite the cultural and language differences and the different ways we do business, everyone is still very enthusiastic about making things better between our countries.”

In its 16th year, the conference continues to grow in both number of participants as well as content discussed.

“This year, we had the first real insight into contract audit and how those countries with host nation auditing agreements plan and conduct cost and pricing reviews.” Fred Kuhm, International deputy commander, said.

To further support the directorate’s global mission, Kuhm said International is establishing a contracts audit position at DCMA Europe to standardize field audit issues and implement contract auditing recommendations and improvements from our foreign partners.

This year’s gathering also added a senior leader’s panel. Leaders from the United States, Germany, Canada, France and the United Kingdom discussed common issues and challenges during the panel. Other countries attending the conference included Lithuania, Turkey, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Navy Vice Adm. David Lewis also visited the conference while in Europe during his first tour to the region as the agency director. “I had a great discussion with all the attendees,” he said, “It was invigorating as a former program manager and engineer to exchange ideas and discuss processes with representatives from our 20 partner nations.”

Ebright and Kuhm said they were encouraged by this year’s conference and hope to build on the success next year. Plans for next year’s event, expected to be held in Ottawa, Canada, include working group breakout sessions, additional time for discussion and coordinating course-of-actions for future changes.

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