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News | Nov. 3, 2023

QAs ‘carry water’ during information-sharing opportunity

By Elizabeth Szoke DCMA Public Affairs

Defense Contract Management Agency’s Quality Assurance Division recently hosted their first summit focused on all things related to quality. Approximately 125 quality assurance personnel attended the event in person and an additional 250 participated virtually.  

The theme of the event was “Carry the Water,” where attendees used metaphorical water to represent vital information needed for teammates and subordinates.  

“Communication is one of the most difficult things people can do,” said Christopher Ford, DCMA quality assurance specialist. “Information isn’t necessarily received in a manner that’s appropriate and can be further challenged by remote connectivity issues.” 

To help alleviate these obstacles, and in keeping with the event theme, QA leadership encouraged attendees to carry the information, or “water”, back to their teammates who were unable to attend. 

“The breadth and scope of DCMA QA actions is massive, and by that, I mean that standardized execution is a continuous challenge,” said Dwayne Bennett, QA Division director. “To the benefit of our warfighters, it’s important for stakeholders to accurately discuss risk-related matters and procedures in order to reach an effective consensus.”  

To accomplish this, participants discussed 20 topics associated with, and critical to, quality assurance policy, tools and training. Topics included risk assessments, quality assurance workload model efforts and training, and project development through PDREP, a product data reporting and evaluation system.   

DCMA’s mission is to enhance warfighter lethality by ensuring timely delivery of quality products and providing relevant acquisition insight supporting affordability and readiness. The agency has a global footprint and serves as the independent eyes and ears of the Department of Defense and its partners. 

“[This] mission puts us in factories and flight lines to evaluate everything from the smallest parts to rockets and satellites,” Bennett said. “DCMA’s vast enterprise faces an ever-present danger of policy and execution being out of sync, so it’s critical for us to communicate clearly between headquarters staff and operating units.”  

The summit received positive feedback from the attendees through a survey made available after the event. The topics received “good” to “exceptional” ratings and attendees found the information helpful.  

“There have been other Technical Directorate conferences or summits that focused on quality assurance topics and breakouts,” said Jeff Church, a quality assurance engineer. “However, this was the first summit solely focused on QA and it would appear to have set a high standard for future events.” 

The division hopes to host more events in the future, to include an integrated quality, manufacturing and engineering division summit.