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NEWS | Nov. 23, 2016

Rotational Excellence Program broadens horizons

By Kimberly Davis DCMA Manassas

Editor's note: Kimberly Davis provides a personal account of a career-broadening assignment she participated in this summer. For more information about the program, visit http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbs/workforceinitiatives/rep.shtml.  

There are a variety of professional training opportunities I would encourage fellow Defense Contract Management Agency employees to research and apply for.

I am a divisional administrative contracting officer here who was selected to participate in the Department of Defense’s Office of Small Business Programs Rotational Excellence Program from June to September. As a divisional administrative contracting officer, I ensure compliance with contractor business systems, and establish forward pricing rates and final overhead rates.

The REP objective is to provide insight to acquisition professionals on small business program areas such as subcontracting; workforce development; policy; mentor and protégé relationships; outreach; compliance; Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs; and the Indian Incentive Program.

I had the opportunity to support the OSBP under the mentorship of Janice Buffler, who is the associate director for Subcontracting Policy. She provided exceptional guidance, and I engaged in many facets of small business.

I embarked upon this rotational assignment with an open mind. My goals were to better understand DoD’s small business initiatives, including strategic goals, legislation, partners and stakeholders, and programs and resources. Additionally, I established other objectives. I wanted to understand the impact of small business and its contribution to DoD acquisitions, and I wanted to complete the Defense Acquisition University’s Small Business Programs coursework, Part A, known as SBP 101. I also wanted to identify where my position fits into the small business arena and interact more with small business professionals.

During the three-month assignment, I accomplished a lot. I helped prepare a memorandum of agreement between DCMA and OSBP. I participated in senior executive meetings with small business professionals from both the government and industry. I met with staff from the Maryland Procurement Technical Assistance Program located at the University of Maryland and the Defense Logistics Agency Office of Small Business Programs.

In addition, I assisted in drafting Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations and procedures, guidance, and information policy changes and participated in a Defense Acquisition Regulations council meeting. I also assisted in drafting a response to a Government Accountability Office report as well as a congressional report.

The program allowed me to write a draft copy of standard operating procedures for small business subcontracting, and I participated in a new student pilot course on subcontracting. Another highlight was participating in the Navy Gold Coast Small Business Opportunity Conference in San Diego, California, Aug. 23-24, with fellow employees from DCMA’s Small Business Office under the leadership of Tatia Evelyn-Bellamy.

This was an incredible experience, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of small business. My understanding of legislation, policy, compliance, outreach and subcontracting will empower me in my current position as a contracting officer. Many times we often see legislation and policy presented after the fact. As a public servant protecting the warfighter, I am now able to envision the broader picture.

REP is poised to empower potential leaders to be on the cutting edge of small business innovation. REP is an excellent program to learn more about DoD, but most importantly, the impact of small businesses. We often hear about the large government contractors and their success. However, we must be aware of the efforts and support that small businesses provide to the warfighter as prime contractors and subcontractors as well as the impact on the industrial base.

OSBP strives to increase the involvement of small business through outreach, matchmaking, training and programs. Future REP participants should anticipate an outstanding opportunity that will help them in their careers and supporting their customers.

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