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NEWS | Nov. 16, 2020

DCMA’s Commercial Item Group earns Packard Award

By Patrick Tremblay DCMA Public Affairs

A group of subject matter experts within the Defense Contract Management Agency received substantial Defense Department recognition recently. The agency’s Commercial Item Group earned the 2020 David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award for successes in integrating commercial products and services within DoD, streamlining procurement and securing warfighters cutting-edge technology at a fair price.

“I am extremely proud of, and honored to lead, this elite team of commercial acquisition professionals,” said Dan Hawley, CIG director. “Receiving the Packard Award validates the work this outstanding team continues to perform supporting the agency, department and warfighter.”

The award was first given in 1996 and is named in honor of David Packard, a deputy secretary of defense during the Nixon administration. Perhaps best known as co-founder and chairman of the Hewlett-Packard Company, Packard also founded the Defense Systems Management College, now part of the Defense Acquisition University, and was an advocate for excellence in defense acquisition practices. 

Army Lt. Gen. David Bassett, DCMA director, called the award “prestigious,” adding, “We are all honored and privileged to have the CIG as team members, highlighting the great value DCMA brings to the department in our great support to our warfighters.”

DCMA manages nearly 300,000 contracts with a total value approaching $6 trillion, so determining reasonable prices for even simple items can be critical. The CIG and its 57 assigned personnel is part of the agency’s Cost and Pricing Regional Command, an organization with the unique technical expertise essential to this mission.

“Our nation’s ability to effectively train and equip our warfighters to deter or win future wars is at stake,” said Jorge Bennett, executive director of DCMA Cost and Pricing Regional Command. “Success will require a whole-nation approach where the unmatched production prowess of our traditional defense industrial base is infused and transformed with the innovation, agility and flexibility of the commercial market place.”

In the complex world of defense acquisition, there is often an overlap between what might be considered a commercial item and something designed and produced strictly for military use. It’s in this between-area that the DCMA CIG operates. The group provides expertise and serves as a resource to the DoD and the military services in determining what is commercial, as well as conducting market research and determining what a reasonable price should be for these items and services.

Through its work, the CIG has saved hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as expedited procurement timelines, all in support of the National Defense Strategy’s third line of effort, reforming the department for greater performance and affordability. Notably, this year the group supported 745 requests involving commerciality decisions, price analysis or other support to acquisition strategy, valued at $4.7 billion in contract proposals. From these, the group recommended over $1.1 billion, or 24%, in savings to Defense Department customers.

An unanticipated use of the group’s skills came this year as well. As part of the whole-of-government response to COVID-19, the CIG was able to leverage its commercial item determination authority, freeing military buying commands to quickly and efficiently procure products and services to battle the pandemic.

Hawley said his group’s innovation is helping drive efficiency for DCMA and DoD. “I look forward to continuing pushing the boundaries of commercial acquisitions by identifying and implementing creative methods of supporting our national defense team.”

Bennett said he’s proud and honored to have the CIG as part of the Cost and Pricing organization. “I want to congratulation the group on winning the Packard Award,” he added. “It’s a well-deserved recognition for the outstanding contributions they make every day to improving affordability, agility and innovation for DoD’s acquisition enterprise.”  

The Packard Award is presented as part of the annual Defense Acquisition Workforce Awards, this year composed of 34 awards being presented to 86 awardees. In a coronavirus-prompted break from tradition, this year the awards will be presented through individual virtual events, rather than the usual in-person ceremony. These will be combined together in a single video production, introduced by Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord, who said, “It is important that we continue to recognize the outstanding contributions of our defense acquisition professionals who are critical in supporting our warfighter and the defense mission.”

DCMA's Special Programs Quick Closeout Team received the 2017 Packard Award.

Visit the DCMA CIG webpage for more information about the group, and read about the team's fiscal year 2020 here.  

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