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News | Jan. 4, 2016

Director visits Ottawa, attends DCMA Americas' 50th anniversary

By DCMA Public Affairs

OTTAWA, Ontario — In the course of single week, the Defense Contract Management Agency Americas’ office here hosted agency Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Wendy Masiello, celebrated its 50th anniversary, and rounded out the week with an annual Thanksgiving event.

During Masiello’s visit, she hosted a leadership and staff discussion and heard how the office has embraced the agency’s strategic plan and translated specific goals and objectives into tactical operations. The contract management office, while functionally organized, operates in a collaborative multi-functional manner under the provisions of international agreements.

Several staff members described how they were able to provide program offices and buying commands with actionable information by maximizing their host nation partnerships to enhance audit support, pre-award timeliness, industrial capability assessments and technical reviews of unpriced orders.

“DCMA Americas has postured itself at the forefront of providing acquisition insight around the globe through their long-standing host nation partnerships and their strong international presence,” said Army Lt. Col. Isaac Williams, DCMA Americas deputy director. “The office was first established in 1965 under the Defense Contract Administration Services and has gone through several substantive reorganizations through the years, but the spirit of international cooperation and support to the warfighters has endured.”

The meetings here also included executives from host nation partners. Of particular interest was the success of the Canadian Department of National Defence, which has transitioned from product acceptance to process reviews.

Terry Crich, DND director of quality, described the cost savings and improved efficiencies achieved by this change in culture. “The supplier is under contract to provide products and services — the right quality, within budget and on-time. DND, similar to the ISO-9000 auditing process, assesses the supplier’s management systems that are in place and DND (quality assurance representatives) only perform product examinations when absolutely necessary.”

The Public Works Government Services Canada, known as PWGSC, provided a discussion on how they perform negotiations as part of their auditing process, whereby the Canadian government provides its assurance that the price negotiated is “fair and reasonable.”

Jolle Paquette, senior director at PWGSC, also discussed how his organization assesses rates by performing their review after the contract begins, but well before the final delivery — thus providing the U.S. with early insight of projected costs.

The office launched into its 50th anniversary celebration following the discussions. In addition to Masiello, guests included the DCMA International commander, Navy Rear Adm. Deborah Haven, as well as dignitaries from DCMA Americas’ Canadian host nation partners, the Canadian Commercial Corporation and PWGSC.

William Evans, DCMA Americas’ director, highlighted the history of the organization in his opening remarks. “In the course of its history, DCMA Americas has been known by several different names and has been organized under a variety of administrative structures. As the CMO flag has remained in Ottawa, tertiary commands and satellite offices have been established and disestablished over the years — Puerto Rico, Haiti, Homestead, London, Halifax, Argentina, Houston, Montreal and Toronto.”

DCMA Americas has supported contracts throughout North America, Central America and South America. The programs supported by the command over the years have been “as broad and diverse as they have been interesting,” Evans said, using examples such as the Stryker Vehicle; landing gear for a full suite of U.S., NATO, and Foreign Military Sales customers; grant funding for an Ebola vaccine; and several contracts for NASA. “This is just a small subset of the exciting work that has been administered by Americas over the years.”

In her comments, Masiello recognized the importance of the bonds between DCMA Americas and its host nation partners, specifically citing the contract performance guarantee provided by the Canadian Commercial Corporation, audit services provided by PWGSC, and the inspection and acceptance of products performed by the DND. Of special relevance was the support offered by the Canadian partners after a fire destroyed the DCMA Americas office in 2008. During that difficult period, the Canadians offered invaluable assistance with the reconstruction of contract files and help with temporary office facilities.

At another moment during her visit, Masiello was able to visit Lt. Gen. Christine Whitecross, the commander of the Canadian Forces Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct. They discussed the challenges of changing the culture so victims of sexual harassment or abuse know how to report and not fear retribution. After an office call at the Canadian Forces headquarters, they attended an event at the Canadian Women’s Museum hosted by Women in Defence Industry.

The director’s visit ended with a unique and exciting Thanksgiving tradition. “DCMA Americas relishes and enjoys putting their remarkable organizational culture and climate on display,” said Evans. “The visit by the director was a great opportunity to showcase the annual U.S. and Canadian Thanksgiving potluck.”

Each year at the mid-point between the U.S. and Canadian Thanksgiving days, the CMO celebrates the culture and diversity of the office. This year was no different, and as is the military tradition, the CMO senior leaders manned the serving line and provided the turkey and ham as a way to give thanks for the contributions of the staff.

“We greatly appreciated Lt. Gen. Masiello’s visit and look forward to continuing to promote her strategic vision across the CMO,” said Evans.