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By Tonya Johnson
DCMA Public Affairs
Cindy Monohan is a parachute guru who knows a lot about the various types of parachutes that service members use often.
“There are multiple types of parachutes,” said Monohan, who is the Defense Contract Management Agency’s lead parachute program integrator. “The MC-6, T-11 and RA-1 personnel parachutes are three of the most widely used systems. During the 2019 fiscal year alone, there were over 194,000 parachute jumps completed by our warfighters in both training and operational scenarios.”
Monohan serves as a critical conduit between parachute stakeholders, leveraging product specific knowledge of personnel and cargo parachute systems, to ensure successful aerial delivery operations.
Monohan, who is a part of DCMA Hampton based at Fort Eustis, Virginia, facilitates a multi-functional team comprising of quality assurance professionals, technical team leads, supervisors and personnel from several headquarter elements. During the bi-weekly meetings, they address current and emerging issues within the parachute industrial base, develop and propose on-the-job professional development opportunities for functional specialists, coordinate agency-level responses to external stakeholders, and facilitate sharing of commodity-specific information across the agency.
DCMA Hampton is the lead contract management office for this commodity, and was chosen for this crucial role because a major supplier with the majority of the agency’s parachute workload, resides within the CMO’s geographic area of responsibility.
“Providing a single, unified face to the parachute community meets a stated customer need and enables rapid response to critical aerial delivery product issues,” said Navy Cmdr. Ronald Hoak, DCMA Hampton commander. “The parachute high-visibility commodity construct enables dynamic problem identification and fully coordinated resolutions to urgent and routine matters affecting the parachute supply chain.”
Monohan, who has been in her position since last December, said there are more than 30 CMOs and approximately 130 contractors who provide parachutes through approximately 1,000 contracts that require agency oversight.
She transitioned into her position when DCMA’s Portfolio Management and Business Integration, also known as PMBI, identified the need for a single person to interact with the buying commands on the commodity. DCMA supports $5 billion in parachute contracts. The Defense Logistics Agency is the largest customer, representing 66% of the active parachute contract workload.
“It is easier for the customers such as the Defense Logistics Agency to have a single point of contact within DCMA to discuss any questions or concerns related to parachutes,” she said.
In her role, she is also the liaison between external parachute stakeholders and DCMA QA specialists. For example, she works closely with DLA to make sure DCMA’s QA specialists are included in the Request for Variance process. This ensures product updates are received, reviewed, processed, implemented and delivered in a timely manner.
Other critical aspects of the position include resolving discrepancies between DCMA and buying command processes, facilitating information sharing among all stakeholders, and coordinating timely responses to customer inquiries.
As a program integrator, Monohan also travels around the agency to other CMOs such as DCMA Santa Ana in California to assist QA specialists with various post-award actions, including recently participating in a lot acceptance test for the RA-1 personnel parachute system. In addition, she visits parachute contractors and attends Parachute Industry Association symposiums to stay up-to-date with contractual and design information. She also attends the tri-annual Airdrop Malfunction and Safety Analysis Review Board, which reviews parachute malfunctions and lessons learned.
“The review board allows me to interact with service personnel to see if there are any systemic issues our agency needs to be aware of, which could affect contract oversight,” Monohan explained. “We want to continue to enhance the service we provide to our customers. Their feedback is important.”
Overall, Monohan said she enjoys her job.
“As a program integrator, I am the face of DCMA to the customers, and I enable enhanced, focused support for these critical warfighter systems,” she said. “Buying commands now have a single, dedicated point of contact to engage for parachute-related questions and issues instead of having to contact multiple DCMA personnel to address their concerns.”
Monahan’s previous experience as a program integrator at DCMA Manassas prepared her for the current role. In her previous position, she learned the importance of communication as part of the Program Support Team and with external customers.
“My current job includes facilitating a stronger partnership with the CMOs and the buying commands,” she said. “All of us work closely together to support our warfighters to make sure they get quality parachutes. We want to make sure warfighters get the right item at the right price and on schedule.”
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