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News | Nov. 22, 2017

Gathering strengthens relationships critical to international QA

By Paul Hudson DCMA United Kingdom

Defense Contract Management Agency United Kingdom recently welcomed 62 participants from four different nations to an information sharing event at Royal Air Force Wyton.

This event, the first in over 12 years, encouraged collaboration between DCMA U.K.’s quality assurance specialists and the U.K. Ministry of Defence’s, or MoD’s, QA representatives. The MoD’s QA’s represent the Defence Quality Assurance Field Force, or DQAFF.

The event consisted of activities to foster information sharing between the nations in an effort to improve joint responsibilities of quality assurance engagements.

“Those structured activities left all participants with improved understandings of their roles in the broad host nation’s government acquisition process,” said Jennifer Hischer, a DCMA U.K. QA specialist. “It also left them with an appreciation for the roles other stakeholders play and how those other stakeholders relate to and affect one another.”

With the working relationships between these partner nations, that understanding is critical despite cultural differences that can complicate contract administration.

“This event provided an excellent opportunity to increase our awareness of each other’s needs and expectations,” said David Greenwood, MoD’s head of DQAAF. “Of course, it’s also nice to build and maintain stronger relationships.”

Additionally, leaders from the Norwegian Defence Material Agency, or NDMA, and the Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organization, also known as DALO, attended with initial intentions of observing, but soon became full participants as they immediately saw value in the contributions.

“The session was more than I hoped for,” said Susanne Freltofte, DALO’s head of QA. “The interactions were outstanding, and I was thankful to be able to discuss how we do things. I really appreciate being given the opportunity to participate, and I look forward to participating with my full team next year.”

The material and knowledge communicated amongst the participants appeared to better align the organizations across international borders.

“We have unanimous agreement that all participants valued the experience,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Ferguson, DCMA U.K. commander after reviewing feedback of the event. “It also broke down communication barriers and helped build professional relationships.

“Those relationships are essential for us, just as they are essential for DCMA U.K.’s host nation partners. With our collaborative efforts, we are able to deliver the acquisition insight that matters to the buying offices around the world.”