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News | Nov. 12, 2020

My DCMA: Air Force Reserve Capt. Rachel Redfearn, acquisitions special projects manager

By Tonya Johnson DCMA Public Affairs

My DCMA showcases the Defense Contract Management Agency’s experienced and diverse workforce and highlights what being a part of the national defense team means to them. Today, Air Force Reserve Capt. Rachel Redfearn shares her story.

My name is Rachel Redfearn, and this is “My DCMA.”

I am an acquisitions special projects manager at DCMA Boston. My job duties include organizing, leading and helping to execute an array of acquisition-focused command projects that fall outside the scope of normal day-to-day contracting officer duties. As a special projects manager, I review data from various systems and databases and assist with developing and implementing action plans, military training guidance and other administrative directions for the contract management offices in the Eastern Regional Command.

I have been a part of the DCMA team for two years. I like working at DCMA because it allows me to see a larger picture of the acquisition career field. Most of my career has been spent in procurement, so this assignment provides insight into the full spectrum — from procurement to closeout.

DCMA is important to America’s warfighters because the agency provides contractor oversight and consistency in areas where buying commands may have blind spots. This ensures quality materials and services are delivered to warfighters on time and on cost.

As the agency celebrates its 20th anniversary, I remember the advice from the previous DCMA director. Last year, Navy Vice Adm. David Lewis set a strategic goal to reform the agency’s business practices by working smarter, not harder. Over the last year, I have seen many changes in acquisition practices within the Air Force, and I’m starting to learn more about how other departments are making changes of their own. I’m excited to see how DCMA takes the various department changes, their own business practice reforms, and translates that into a more streamlined approach to acquisition. I’m also excited to see how the agency then communicates that to industry. Although I haven’t been with DCMA long enough to identify major changes yet, acquisition as a whole has changed quite a bit over the last couple of years, and I look forward to working with the agency through those changes.

As this year comes to an end, I understand how 2020 has been difficult for all of us. I am balancing a full-time civilian job, a reserve position and a new telework-from-home-while-also-being-a-school-teacher job. Some of my teammates are dealing with aging parents or sickness. Some are struggling with travel limitations. Many of the programs we support are facing issues because of COVID restrictions that were not originally contemplated. We all are being called to be flexible, proactive and creative with problem solving this year. My primary goal to achieve as we close out this year is to maintain my physical and mental health.

Some of the great things about working here include living in New England, which has so many amazing things to see and do, especially if you are an outdoorsy person. From farms to the city, from the mountains to the ocean, New England has it all. As a Southern girl, I never thought I’d want to settle anywhere north, but now I never want to leave this area.

My future career goals include helping to bridge the gaps between the buying and administrative commands. Something unique about me is that I am part of a contracting family. In my civilian career, I work full time in contracting for the Department of Air Force, and I spend my reserve time with DCMA. My husband is also a contracting officer with the Air Force, so it’s pretty much procurement 24/7 in my house.

My favorite hobbies include hiking in all the wonderful New England spots, tabletop gaming and reading fantasy and adventure non-fiction books.