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NEWTON, Mass. - Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, C3I and Networks program executive officer, speaks to attendees during the first day of the New Horizons Symposium Feb. 25. The symposium, which is sponsored by the Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, provides an opportunity for Life Cycle Management Center program executive officers and program managers to exchange information with industry on current and emerging business opportunities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rick Berry)
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PEOs share information, emphasize collaboration at symposium

Posted 3/4/2014   Updated 3/5/2014 Email story   Print story

    


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


3/4/2014 - NEWTON, Mass. -- Government and industry working collaboratively was continually highlighted during this year's New Horizons Symposium Feb. 25 to 26.

During the event, both of Hanscom's program executive officers, Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, C3I and Networks, and Steve Wert, Battle Management, shared information about their organizations, portfolios and upcoming business opportunities.

Olson described the C3I and Networks portfolio in terms of the differing domains of space and aerial, terrestrial, and cyber and how his organization provides capabilities to ensure the connectivity.

The general also talked about the importance of working closing with industry, emphasizing that "they are our partners in national defense" and everyone needs to remember that they are equally focused on supporting the warfighter.

Continuing to highlight the point of how significant relationships with industry partners are, Olson relayed a story about one of his first experiences in acquisition where he and the industry program manager sought to work together to understand and build trust with all their stakeholders.

"In this instance, we had to focus on the relationships first," he said.

Olson said he encourages frequent and transparent dialogue with industry partners. He urged companies to present their best ideas, especially regarding work in the information environment.

"We really need to leverage best commercial practices in order to succeed," he said.

Wert also focused on interaction with industry, emphasizing partnerships and early interaction to understand technical requirements, trades and cost impacts.

"We're more sophisticated in how we do business," he said. "We're managing cost, not just managing obligations."

Wert also stressed the criticality of relationships between industry and program managers, saying he wants that dialogue to happen so any problems can be found and fixed early.

"Help us get it right," he said.

After providing a status on some of the organization's major defense acquisition programs, such as the Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar, which is in source selection, and the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program, which recently deployed on Global Hawk in the area of responsibility, Wert said his organization is very mission-focused and he feels they are doing well despite uncertainty.

He added that some of their focuses now include looking for open architecture approaches, increasing competition and increasing small business opportunities.

Sponsored by the Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, the symposium provides an opportunity for Life Cycle Management Center program executive officers and program managers to exchange information with industry on current and emerging business opportunities.

Scott Warren, Business and Enterprise Systems deputy director, also provided a presentation during which he talked about potential upcoming changes to his organization and highlighted the Vendor Exchange Forums and Vendor Industry Days that are hosted by BES at Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Ala.

Other speakers represented Special Operations Command, Natick Soldier Systems Center, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the MITRE Corp. and General Services Administration.

This year's event also featured a legislative affairs panel and media panel with interactive discussions.

Bud Vasquez, local AFCEA chapter president, said he feels the forum has never been more important, as everyone is working to get capabilities to the warfighter quickly and affordably.



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