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News | June 20, 2017

MRT tips CAP to positive change

By Thomas Perry DCMA Public Affairs

Editor’s note: To watch a video highlighting the new Mission Review and External Audit Corrective Action Process, click here.

FORT LEE, Va., June 20, 2017 — The performance of Defense Contract Management Agency’s contract management offices directly impacts warfighter performance — at home and abroad. It is often a high-stakes mission that requires consistency, efficiency, readiness and mission accomplishment.

Approximately every three to four years, agency CMOs undergo a mission review to ensure these principles, along with policy compliance and mission objectives, are supported by the most efficient and effective methodologies and processes.

In 2016, DCMA’s Mission Review Team — aided by feedback from the regions and headquarters component leads — realized the Mission Review and External Audit Corrective Action Process often did not aid in preventing repeat findings, duplication of efforts and inefficiencies in root-cause analysis. According to DCMA’s Office of Independent Assessment, these shortcomings did not address systemic non-compliances in a timely manner.

“External audit findings and recommendations were not being worked in accordance to the timelines the agency committed to with external audit agencies — the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General,” said Bob Conforto, the OIA executive director. “There was a general lack of accountability. The agency did not have a forum to track and report on every finding and what was being worked at the strategic level for agency-wide solutions.”

With these challenges in mind and spurred by the agency’s Strategic Initiative 2.2.1, the MRT — with continued regional and headquarters support — began to develop a new CAP Process Manual and tracking site.

“The goals were to improve accountability and create agency-wide solutions through strategic-level thinking,” said Jim Carroll, an OIA quality assurance examiner. “Beginning in early 2016, as CMO’s underwent their MRT reviews, a new CAP Process was implemented.”

Carroll explained that prior to the introduction of the CAP tracking site and Manual 933-01, “the MRT assessed compliance to every ‘shall’ statement identified in the applicable policy governing the areas under review,” said Carroll. “It led to a high number of findings with each requiring root cause analysis and CAP implementation.”

These results countered the agency’s desired performance standards, and in an organization where battlefield performance is the ultimate imperative, consistency is king.

“These changes provide DCMA with a systematic, standardized process for identifying possible non-compliances, policy gaps and barriers to processes, policies, and procedures that if not in control could have a direct impact on product not being delivered on time and within specification, to include the acquisition insight on contract cost, schedule and performance,” said Conforto. “The new process is an enabler and assists the agency with mission accomplishment, efficiency and readiness.”

Navy Capt. Preston Gill, the DCMA Europe commander, recently experienced the new process during his CMO’s mission review.

“The new process is transparent and provides actionable information to ensure successful mission execution,” said Gill. “The information provided by the OIA tools afforded our CMO the opportunity to tailor our Manager’s Internal Control Program to address systemic issues as well as engage in root cause analysis and identify corrective action plans to improve our methodologies and processes to make us more effective in compliance and mission objectives.”

The DCMA Manual 933-01 supports this process through uniformed documentation and timetable guidance.

“It provides a standardized method for documenting root cause analysis and corrective action plans, and provides a timeline for their completion,” said Carroll. “DCMA is now better positioned to resolve minor to systemic non-compliances. In addition to the standardization, the manual also defines and categorizes finding levels I, II, and III, which can reduce the administrative burden on CMOs and their cognizant regions. This allows the CMO’s to only focus on root cause analysis for level II findings, which have an inherently higher risk.”

According to Ning Santiago, an OIA quality assurance examiner, the risk aversion is underway as 14 CMOs have undergone the transformation so far — with Lockheed Martin Denver, Detroit and Boeing Seattle upcoming. Santiago hopes that all agency team members utilize the new CAP tracking 360 site, even if their CMO has yet to cycle through an MRT audit under the new process.

“Everybody in the agency has access to the information on the CAP tracking site,” said Santiago. “The site offers the agency access to the MRT assessment guides and workbooks, policies, the 933-01 manual, bright spots, barriers, and policy gaps.”

Now a site veteran, Gill is excited by the long-term viability the database offers.

“The 360 OIA database provides commanders a resource to help improve readiness in a ‘one-stop shop’ designed by providing collective lessons learned products to improve the support to the warfighter and strengthen compliance,” said Gill.

Currently populated with 2016 and 2017 results, the CAP library of findings, analytics and trends will continue to grow with each passing mission review.

“The library is one of the most exciting new features. It offers DCMA team members at every level an opportunity to see root causes and corrective action solutions that were created at other CMO’s to address findings,” said Santiago. “By using this data, a CMO can be fully prepared well ahead of its mission review.”

To read the new 933-01 manual (login required), or experience any of the available MRT tools, check out the CAP tracking 360 site (login required).