By Thomas Perry
DCMA Public Affairs
When Defense Contract Management Agency Middle East informed the agency's Earned Value Management Systems Center of recent Air Force contract awards directly to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the F-15S conversation contract, the team headed to Texas for an education on Muslim concepts and culture prior to its trip abroad.
Defense Contract Management Agency’s Earned Value Management Systems Center provides customers with actionable assessments of contractor effectiveness. It is an effort often fueled by large numbers. The agency manages 348,866 contracts at 19,355 facilities for a total amount of $5.2 trillion.
Many of these contracts, facilities and dollars are in some way impacted by Earned Value’s workload. The agency’s effort to support alliances and strengthen international partnerships regularly involve decimal points and rows of zeroes. One EVMS team, however, while preparing for an international assessment, discovered that a journey’s most important relationships can unfold before departure.
The events that led to this discovery began in early 2019. DCMA Middle East informed the center of recent Air Force contract awards directly to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the F-15S conversation contract.
“Saudi Arabia is entering a historical period that future generations will refer to as a turning point for modern industrial capabilities in that nation,” related Rick Whitenack in the Middle East contract management office to Donna Holden, the EVMS Center deputy director. “As part of the largest foreign military sales contract ever awarded, the Air Force contracted with a company in Riyadh to remove the wings and forward fuselages from Royal Saudi Arabia Air Force F-15S models and replace them with new wings and forward fuselages being manufactured on the other side of their facility under a separate contract.”
According to Holden, the foreign military sales F-15S conversion contract fits the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement requirement condition as a cost-plus type contract greater than $20 million.
“In addition to this modification, the company is transforming the older F-15S to a ‘fly-by-wire’ system that replaces manual flight controls with an electronic interface,” said Holden, whose group falls within DCMA’s Portfolio Management and Business Integration Directorate. “The flight controls are converted to electronic signals transmitted by wires and flight control computers to determine how to move the actuators at each control surface to provide the correct response.”
Many EVMS team members are located near the agency’s Fort Lee, Virginia, headquarters, but like many of the agency’s non-regional directorates, it maintains key team members throughout DCMA’s global network of acquisition support. As a DCMA Center, they have six geographically dispersed “hubs” providing EVMS support to over 45 different corporations across Boston; Orlando; Minneapolis; Dallas; Tucson, Arizona; and Carson, California.
After being contacted by the Middle East contract management office in April, the EVMS Center team, led by Patty Gonzalez from the Dallas office, scheduled a trip to Eskan Village, a Saudi Arabian-owned military compound southeast of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
EVMS Center team members John Ricci, Bryan Whitesell and Holden joined Gonzalez in planning for the assessment of the manufacturer's EVM system compliance in accordance with the industry standard EIA-748.
Before departing for Saudi Arabia, however, the group met with students and faculty at Qalam Collegiate Academy, a private school in Richardson, Texas, to speak with students and faculty familiar with Saudi Arabia and included Muslim concepts and culture. The group said they were welcomed into the school’s general meeting room, which contained 38 female students and adults eager to address any questions from the DCMA traveling team.
“It was a wonderful sharing experience. We were embraced by the school attendees, and they were so willing to share personal experience, suggestions for behavior, do’s and don’ts of the location, and to address DCMA travelers’ expectations,” said Holden. “The school even provided the necessary garments required to be worn by women in public in the country of Saudi Arabia. They freely provided a selection of abaya dresses and hijab headscarves from which to choose, supplying the women with proper clothing for the trip. We took full advantage of this wonderful learning opportunity allowing the girls to school us in the proper manner of arranging the garments.”
Now prepared, the group left for Saudi Arabia. During the next four days, contract management office representatives, the EVMS Center team and Air Force members participated in a collaborative contract requirements review, technical requirements review and EVMS training exercises. The office and EVMS center met with the contractor's finance team, program management team, project controls and other contractually integrated teams to provide expectations of the coming months in order to prepare all parties toward achieving a compliant EVMS. The team was afforded a tour to visit the F-15S models in various stages of induction and conversion, and ask questions of the contractor's employees.
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