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New Horizons
NEWTON, Mass. - Steve Wert, Battle Management program executive officer, speaks to attendees during the New Horizons Symposium at the Marriott Hotel March 6. The symposium highlighted government and industry working together (U.S. Air Force photo by Rick Berry)
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Symposium emphasizes collaboration

Posted 3/19/2013   Updated 3/19/2013 Email story   Print story


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

3/19/2013 - NEWTON, Mass. -- Government and industry working together in a time of limited resources was a key message during the New Horizons Symposium at the Marriott Hotel March 5 and 6.

The annual symposium provides an opportunity for the Life Cycle Management Center program executive officers and program managers to interact and exchange information with industry. It is sponsored by the Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association. This year's theme was "Securing our Nation's Future in Today's Turbulent Times."

"Dialogue is more important now than ever," said Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, C3I and Networks program executive officer. "We still need to successfully defend the nation despite the constrained resources available. We need our industry partners to help us accomplish that."

Both PEOs from Hanscom - Olson and Steve Wert, Battle Management - provided presentations about their organizations, portfolios and potential business opportunities.

Olson told the audience he could see collaboration occurring in the cyber domain. He added that his organization is in the process of "normalizing" cyber, treating it like a weapon system.

"This is a high visibility area where we have the opportunity to document the needs are and then turn those needs into capabilities."

Wert emphasized monitoring program work to ensure that if a problem was arising, there would be an opportunity to get the program back on track.

"If I see a critical event turning yellow, or red, I'll call the contract partner," he said. "I call into industry VPs fairly regularly, but I've yet to have one call me. I'm asking for your help."

He also said that despite current constraints, he sees some new business opportunities, such as in foreign military sales.

Both PEOs said that industry and government need to work together to find solutions for upcoming challenges.

Wert said the government is looking at strategic contracting approaches, telling attendees about recently awarded indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts.

A panel discussion on the first day of the symposium, "Working Together to Improve Communications," focused on the interactions between government and industry, and where each group saw opportunities to make the dialogue better. Members suggested that the best place for industry to engage is at the program manager/system program manager level.

Olson and Wert both stressed the way the PEOs are organized now and the increased interaction between the various PEOs within LCMC, saying this is something industry also needs to consider.

"Today, there is much more integration with other PEO portfolios," said Wert.

Other presentations during the symposium included MIT Lincoln Laboratory, MITRE, the General Services Administration and the Mass. National Guard.

There were also reverse matchmaking sessions for small businesses and the opportunity for some one-on-one sessions between government and industry.

"We need your ideas," said Olson. "We're working harder than ever to make the warfighter successful."

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