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News > General speaks on change, calls for mission focus during 'State of ESC'
ESC Commander presents state of Center
Electronic Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. CR Davis presents his 'State of ESC 2012' briefing on Jan. 19 at the Newton Marriott in Newton, Mass. Davis highlighted the upcoming Center transition and transformation, including challenges. Mentioning the Defense Strategic Guidance, he said ESC has to ensure it is structured to meet the challenges presented by the President and Secretary of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rick Berry)
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General speaks on change, calls for mission focus during 'State of ESC'

Posted 1/23/2012   Updated 1/23/2012 Email story   Print story


by Patty Welsh and Chuck Paone
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

1/23/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Transition and transformation were the main topics highlighted when Electronic Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. CR Davis presented the 'State of ESC' Jan. 19 at the Marriott Hotel in Newton, Mass.

However, the general emphasized that, even with all the change on the horizon, it's essential for ESC to keep focusing on critical missions. He spoke about the Strategic Defense Guidance, highlighting ESC mission areas, such as cyber, that are essential to current and future operations.

"You are the only ones who can actually carry out that mission to the level of the challenge that's been given in those documents," he said. "Regardless of what happens over the next few months here at the Electronic Systems Center, those mission areas are going to be very important to the Department of Defense."

While angst over organizational changes and manpower and monetary reductions is understandable, the general asked that people keep these mission requirements at the forefront.

"We've got a long game here to play, and it's only going to get more intense as time goes on," he said.

Davis also presented Air Force Acquisition Executive David Van Buren's top objectives for the first half of 2012. He specifically mentioned the need to ensure better value and noted that acquisition resources from program management would need to be reallocated to contracts and pricing and program integration. He said the ESC workforce needs to be rebalanced to achieve these goals.

Some rebalancing will be accomplished through planned restructures, including the Air Force Materiel Command five-center reorganization construct. As part of the construct, ESC will merge with other acquisition centers to form the Life Cycle Management Center to be headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

"This is going to happen," he said, dispelling any lingering belief that the changes might be stymied. "It's up to us to make this a reality and realize success."

Lots of people have ideas about how to measure that success, the general said, but "the only thing that will matter is did a program improve - better cost or schedule? That's the only measure that matters to the rest of the Air Force."

Davis encouraged the audience to come up with creative ideas to meet impending challenges.

"Even if we have the money and the schedule, that means nothing in this day and age, unless we can solve a problem," he said.

As for meeting ongoing mission challenges, the general listed several things he thought would help. One is enhanced organizational stability. So much recent change among the program executive officer portfolios and directorates has created uncertainty, he said.
He also said that more focus must be put on delivery. Even with all the acquisition process changes, it's essential to concentrate on "getting product out the door."

Those who fail to do so must be held accountable, he said.

Davis also listed numerous initiatives, including helping the Air Force chief information officer build an IT governance process and developing a single cyber organization that supports Air Force Space Command and 24th Air Force. He also emphasized the need to rebalance the workforce to meet current priorities - and also to restructure ESC use of federally funded research and development centers.

Earlier, the general noted that an "unintended consequence" of DoD's 'Better Buying Power' initiative has been an unwillingness to take the risks that naturally accompany innovative solutions. One of his initiatives is to build more aggressive, less risk-averse business processes, which still adhere to DoD's principle intention of getting the best value for each dollar spent.

The general also addressed looming Advisory and Assistance Services cuts, saying that the Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition is looking for a 76 percent reduction and noting that budget authority has been reduced by almost $1 billion due to congressional appropriation reductions.

For the A&AS cuts, Davis said he knows they are "very drastic," but said ESC needs to ensure that work is described accurately so that needs are clearly understood.
"We need to correctly categorize direct mission support," he said.

Adding that there would still be business opportunities available, Davis highlighted a number from each of ESC's program executive office portfolios. He also provided information and dates for the upcoming Engineering and Technology Acquisition Support Services (ETASS) II and Professional Advisory Support Services (PASS) II business opportunities.

As for how industry can support ESC, he said the center needs industry to provide options to costly or risky requirements and for them to design programs that field important components in 12 to 18 months.

The general also offered his take on a vision for what the Center is and what it should be known for.

"ESC will be the choice source for affordable secure networks, world class C3 intelligence systems, and both combat and mission support capabilities to enable the joint mission," according to the vision statement he offered. "It will rapidly deliver and adapt cyber and combat capabilities for effectiveness in a rapidly evolving operational environment."

The State of ESC address was sponsored by the Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

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