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News | Feb. 7, 2018

Business Capabilities Framework bridges the agency’s mission and vision into standardized procedures

By Jacqueline Meadows DCMA Lockheed Martin Dallas

The Defense Contract Management Agency is well into the Department of Defense’s construct of the Business Capabilities Framework. 

There have been multiple articles written as well as a DCMA 360 page dedicated to the mechanics of the framework (see Related Stories, below). There are 11 capability boards within three overarching capabilities — primary, integrating and enabling — that incorporate multifunctional expertise across DCMA. 

Agency leadership is tasked with shifting to the multifunctional environment; reporting activities as they are related to each of the capabilities; providing an analysis of the activities DCMA performs; identifying a return on investment to our customers in the acquisition enterprise; and analyzing organizational and individual performance and making adjustments to align with the Business Capabilities Framework. 

This framework also helps the agency to conform to the DoD policy writing in plain language. DCMA began implementation of the policy writing change in alignment with the framework. In its simplest terms, the framework will bridge the agency’s mission and vision into standard procedures. 

Capability working groups were established and are responsible for writing the instruction at the strategic level, among other tasks. Instructions are written at a higher level to capture strategic initiatives and the audience is intended to be at the most senior level. 

Action officers are assigned to write the manuals that implement the strategic level instruction. AOs are considered the subject matter experts. The manuals are streamlined, and as a result, the “shall” statements have been removed. 

In the past, the points of contact were usually someone at the headquarters level in the agency. Policy writing was centralized, not multifunctional, and there was minimal input from the field. Now points of contact will be the formally assigned AO and could be anyone located anywhere in DCMA who is referred to as a SME. 

The capability teams are geographically dispersed and formulated from all levels of the agency’s functional backgrounds. Everyone in the agency is given an opportunity to provide input into the development of the manuals through the informal coordination of manuals being distributed with a comment matrix. The intent of the informal coordination is to receive feedback from everyone, not just a functional aspect. There are no bad ideas, comments, or recommendations. Everyone gets a voice. 

The agency is also soliciting for local procedures to look for gaps in how things were previously accomplished and if local processes can be utilized across the enterprise. This practice significantly reduces doing things differently from policy. 

Operational efficiency and effectiveness are crucial. Everyone’s contribution matters in this process. Comments are accepted, partially accepted, or rejected. Significant rejected comments are briefed to senior leadership by the AO. In recent months, instructions and manuals have started to be published.

Each capability will have a set of metrics. Each manual has aspects of the daily tasks that are performed on the job and the key controls are tied to operational metrics and/or individual performance plans. The operational metrics will tie to the strategic metrics, which in turn, will have results showing DCMA’s return on investment to the acquisition enterprise.

So what does this mean for a supervisor or a functional expert? There is clarification on responsibilities as a multifunctional organization; the manuals define how to accomplish a particular activity; and the resource page provides how to charge your time, references, job aids and templates to be used for consistency and training. As functional experts, there is the opportunity to make contributions to how this organization is operating.

For more information, visit

Editor’s Note: Jacqueline Meadows is a contracts and cost price supervisor at DCMA Lockheed Martin Dallas.