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News | June 30, 2017

DCMA Pacific first to welcome new director

By Stephen Hickok DCMA Public Affairs

On his first tour as the new director of Defense Contract Management Agency, Navy Vice Adm. Dave Lewis recently held a DCMA Pacific all-hands in Japan to discuss his plans and direction for the agency.

“Stay focused on delivering to the warfighter,” Lewis stated as his primary goal. “Focus on Product Delivery — by the numbers. We have to measure ourselves by what we deliver. If we don't deliver a product that the warfighter needs and can use, we haven't done our job."

The visit started in Nagoya, Japan with the unveiling of the first Japan assembled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Lewis also toured facilities across the country getting a first-hand look at the JSF F135 engine production and Japanese V-22, F-18 and H-60 aircraft depot maintenance facilities.

“It is clear to me that we are doing groundbreaking work in Japan and throughout the Pacific region,” Lewis said. “I am impressed with your strong work ethic and dedication to our mission. I was pleased to see the value you have added through facility improvements, process improvements and your effective and fruitful interaction and integration with the contractors.”

According to International Commander, Navy Capt. Sonya Ebright, touring international offices is an uncommon first trip for a new director but she said they were excited for the opportunity.

“We took full advantage of the F-35 unveiling.” Ebright said. “He was here for the F-35 but we were able to take him out to see all the other weapon systems, as well as get in on the first all-hands.”

She added that the attention was an encouragement for the region. “I think it was really heartening to them to have the director come over for his first stop. It really meant a lot to the people of Pacific. They have had a really good track record in the last three years.”

In addition to multiple safety awards in Japan and Korea, Ebright says the Pacific’s aircraft team has stood out for their accomplishments winning Aircraft Program Team of the year and having both the government ground representative and government flight representatives of the year selected from the region.

Lewis encouraged the Pacific workforce to see obstacles and challenges within the agency as opportunities to improve how DCMA does business. “There is opportunity in adversity,” he said. “Tell me what you think needs to be changed. I have few preconceptions about DCMA. I’m open to new ideas and will go after changing policies and regulations if they are preventing us from delivering product on time and at cost.”

Two challenges the admiral singled out were growing information technology to stabilize systems and reduce the time it takes for employees to access those systems, and to quantify agency return on investment.

How to put a price tag on some of the services DCMA provides has been an ongoing discussion according to Ebright.

“Return on Investment is asking, ‘How much does it cost to put us in country? What are we returning? What is that value?’” said Ebright. “The other part we're delivering is the acquisition insight. We're on the floor looking at what subcontractors and contractors are doing. What it comes down to is that when we see something that is going to harm our warfighter we can see it before something goes wrong downrange. Some of that you can’t even put a numerical value on, but we owe it to leadership and the taxpayer to ask the questions.”

A director’s blog is being created on the DCMA intranet to continue the discussions started during the all-hands discussions. “I've taken aboard what you've told me,” he said. “I will continue to build on the foundational views you provided me in the coming weeks and months as I meet with your fellow employees in the other regions and visit other DCMA sites.

In a letter thanking Pacific for the hospitality, Lewis says the other regions have their work cut out for them. “Thank you team Pacific for your warm welcome on my first trip to the field. You have set a very high bar for your peers across the globe! I truly appreciate your professionalism and excellent work.”