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News | June 10, 2024

My DCMA: Navy Lt. Antonio Hart, program integrator

By Tonya Johnson DCMA Central Region Public Affairs

My DCMA showcases the Defense Contract Management Agency’s experienced and diverse workforce and highlights what being part of the national defense team means to them. Today, Navy Lt. Antonio Hart shares his story.

I am a program integrator for the F/A-18 Hornet Infrared Search and Track Program at DCMA Boeing St. Louis. My job duties include leading a multi-functional program support team consisting of engineers, quality assurance specialists, industrial specialists, contracting personnel, and management analysts. They represent the contract management office to the buying command customers. As a program integrator, my responsibilities include identifying, mitigating, and reporting emerging program issues, risks, and opportunities to the Department of Defense stakeholders and buying commands.

I have been a part of the DCMA team for two years. I am embarking on the final year of my orders here. Some of the great things about working at my location include the flexibility we have, which allows us to work in the office and the production plant. Also, when I’m off duty, St. Louis is a good sports town that is family friendly. It’s a down home mid-western city. It’s centrally located, so it’s easy to travel.

I like working at DCMA because of the variety of people with different skillsets I get to work alongside. From this vantage point, I can see the contractor, program office, and DCMA professionals formulate ideas, work through issues, and transition plans from paper to fully developed weapon systems. The agency’s multi-functional and multi-cultural workforce fosters an environment that is inclusive, embraces professional development, and provides the opportunity for all personnel to be successful.

I enjoy working at DCMA because this is a joint billet assignment. As a result, I work with members from the different branches of the armed services and DOD civilians. The workplace is fun, and the excitement is often led by a military retiree who shares stories about their glory days.

DCMA has changed in the last couple of years. I started working here in 2022 when back-to-work plans were still up in the air. Since then, the workplace has returned to operational tempo. After the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears the agency has evolved for the better and found ways to optimize productivity, regardless of whether people are in the office or not.

DCMA is important to America’s warfighters because we provide the final check for the warfighter and ensure the books are balanced for the American taxpayer. Our contract teams and program analysts review and validate contracts, cost, and value of the work performed. Our engineers and industrial- and quality-teams verify, validate, and deliver acceptable products. It is our mission to ensure the timely delivery of quality products and relevant acquisition insight supporting affordability and readiness.

I set several personal goals this year. I have already completed my program management certification. My next two goals are to run 600 miles this year and read 20 books. Currently, I am on track to do both.

Professionally, my goal is for my team to continue to ensure on-time deliveries to meet our next milestone. Our stakeholder meetings and metrics are trending well. We are optimistic.

My future career goals include being promoting to lieutenant commander within the next year. I also plan to earn my doctorate in education in 2026. In addition, I would like to be a commanding officer prior to retiring. I feel youthful, and I’m enjoying the ride, so I’ll keep striving.

My favorite hobbies include coaching youth and high-school level basketball and football. I like to travel abroad and take road trips to sightsee and partake in the local culture. Additionally, I enjoy reading personal growth and development books.

Something unique about me is I started off as an enlisted aviation technician in the Navy. I joined the Navy because I wanted to see the world and earn more money for college. I considered getting out of the Navy after each enlistment contract ended. But after 13 years, I applied for Officer Candidate School and was selected. I was commissioned in 2017, and I made 20 years of service in September 2023. I always said, “I’d never be a lifer.” But here I am. The lesson I learned is to never say never.