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News | April 21, 2023

DCMA LM Fort Worth hosts F-35 supplier summit

By Tonya Johnson DCMA Central Region Public Affairs

Defense Contract Management Agency Lockheed Martin Fort Worth held an F-35 supplier summit here April 4-6. Approximately 130 people, including the DCMA director, Army Lt. Gen. David Bassett, attended the event.

“This F-35 summit was the first of a few program specific deep dives to ensure DCMA is deliberating managing risk across major programs,” said Bassett. “The ultimate intent is to come away with a clear comparative understanding of our surveillance of major programs and hopefully rebalance efforts across the agency. The next summit is on the KC-46 (Pegasus), and I hope we take lessons learned from these efforts and mirror on the classified programs side to better inform decision making.”

According to Air Force Col. Joseph Wimmer, DCMA LM Forth Worth commander, the summit “provided an opportunity for DCMA employees and F-35 stakeholders to discuss and assess acquisition support based on program risk and mission readiness.”

Some of the topics discussed included program strategy, risk management, engineering letters of delegation and supply chain surveillance. Participants also toured the F-35 production line facility.

“The purpose of the summit was to facilitate cross talk and program support,” said Wimmer. “We want to provide the best possible relevant acquisition insight supporting affordability and readiness with DCMA F-35 stakeholders while maximizing DCMA’s personnel resources. 

“Since there are not enough resources available to perform every inspection and acceptance activity, nor other DCMA surveillance activities across the entire F-35 supply chain, the emphasis needs to be assigned to the highest risk areas based on a common, objective understanding of the risks across the entire weapon system portfolio.”

During the summit, participants developed objective risk measures and criteria for the supply chain and determined how to balance DCMA surveillance of the supply chain versus the contractor. DCMA personnel also discussed whether resources, particularly employees, needed to be increased or decreased based on risk and if DCMA policies needed to be adjusted to better manage surveillance for high-risk activities on F-35 supply chain contracts. Wimmer emphasized to the group the use of existing agency business tools to collaborate on to determine risk.

“This summit allowed us to strengthen the DCMA F-35 team,” said Wimmer. “We want to develop a common DCMA picture of the F-35 enterprise. We also want to strengthen relationships among the F-35 enterprise with our stakeholders and determine the value of conducting future forums for other major Department of Defense weapon systems such as the KC-46.”

George Slagle, the contract management office’s deputy commander, said he received positive feedback and looks forward to more on-going dialogue, which will allow the organization to enhance support to the F-35 enterprise.

“The summit allowed us to share the F-35 strategic vision with others,” he said. “We were able to let DCMA senior leaders and our customers know where our team and our suppliers are working well. We also identified potential gaps within the supply chain DCMA needs to identify and correct. It was a productive three-day event.”