News | March 22, 2017

Tip of the spear: DCMA Phoenix takes lead role in tablet deployment

By Kristi Fishler and Jerry Hingtgen

PHOENIX, March 22, 2017 — When Defense Contract Management Agency Phoenix uses the term “mobility,” it no longer means dragging paper and pencil along for meetings, supplier visits or collaboration among employees. To the Phoenix office, being mobile means leveraging modern technology to enable personnel to work anywhere and anytime.

Last month, information technology specialists descended on DCMA Phoenix for the initial fielding of tablet computers. This marked the beginning of a new era of increased efficiency for the agency, and it put Phoenix at the tip of the spear for the rollout of tablets to the rest of DCMA. The end result was the successful deployment of more than 155 tablets throughout the Phoenix office, including two streamlined commands.

The tablet is actually a 2-in1 device running the full Windows 10 operating system. When used with the detachable keyboard, it functions like a standard issue laptop computer. With the press of a button, the screen separates from the keyboard to become a stand-alone touch-screen tablet that can be easily held with one hand. Perry Garcia, DMCA Phoenix quality assurance specialist, stated, “In the short time I have had with the tablet, it has performed flawlessly, and it is much faster than my older laptop.”

While the deployment is initially targeted towards the quality assurance workforce, the mobility program is a multi-functional initiative. Tablets were also deployed to engineers, industrial specialists and contract administrators.

According to Richard Harris, DCMA Phoenix industrial specialist, “The tablet has provided mobility and data access, whether inside or outside our (contract management office). I have been able to take my tablet with me and conduct training right at a coworker’s desk. During site visits with contractors, the tablet gives me full access to files, tools and surveillance documents. I can't wait for the evolution of our templates and checklists to match this mobile capability”

Michelle Walters, DCMA Phoenix lead analyst, said, “I anticipate reduced printing needs for small audience briefings and data reviews, plus many more areas of improved efficiencies from working with the tablet.”

Personnel using the tablets have found them to improve not only work efficiency but the work experience itself.

During the tablet deployment, a tiger team consisting of IT specialists partnered with local IT staff to refine the migration procedures, incorporate lessons learned and develop a repeatable process for IT Field Services to use in future deployments throughout DCMA.

The tablets run Microsoft Windows 10, which means agency employees can hit the ground running with an operating system and office suite they already know how to use. Also, from the IT perspective, Windows 10 improves the agency’s cybersecurity posture, streamlines the IT operating environment via Direct Access, and lowers the cost of computing technology.

One of the primary goals of the program is to have all employees within the agency 100 percent mobile by the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, using either a new tablet computer or their current laptop with wireless capabilities. After that, out-of-warranty laptops will be replaced with 2-in-1 tablet computers.

Another vital piece of the mobility effort is the replacement of all BlackBerrys, cellular flip phones, air data cards and wireless “mi-fi” devices. The agency will be moving to Apple iPhones to perform all of the functions of these devices.

When asked about the difference the tablets are making, Army Col. Robert Miceli, DCMA Phoenix commander, said, “DCMA Phoenix has always prided itself on innovation and enterprise solutions. The positive results from the tablets were instantaneous. Ideas were immediately being voiced as to how we can use tablets to do things better and more efficiently. Even future apps for enterprise solutions were being contemplated.”

Because of DCMA’s unique mission to deliver actionable acquisition insight from the factory floor to the front line, increased mobility enhances how the agency accomplishes this mission.

For more information, watch this short video for an overview of the DCMA mobility vision (

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