ATAC seeks to improve digital management strategies

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mikaley Kline, Air Force Life Cycle Management Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Advanced Tactical Acquisition Corps (ATAC) is a highly selective leadership development program designed to identify and develop talented acquisition professionals to become future leaders in the Air Force and Department of Defense. ATAC has three equally balanced pillars: leadership, enrichment, and problem solving. 

The program, operated by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), is designed to help develop and prepare the individuals selected to be future Air Force leaders.

“Participants work closely with senior leaders from the Air Force, government, and industry partners to analyze a Program Executive Officer (PEO) problem and recommend solutions,” said Lindsay Verhoff, a contract officer assigned to AFLCMC. “By providing participants with the opportunity to work closely with senior leaders and develop solutions to any challenges faced, the program is helping to ensure that the Air Force remains at the forefront of innovation and acquisition excellence.”

ATAC-14 was presented a problem statement on how to integrate the cost estimating process with model-based system engineering (MBSE) practices.

“Presently there is a need to support Digital Materiel Management (DMM) strategies & implementation for all functionals within program offices,” said Caleb Cloud, a program manager assigned to AFLCMC. “Throughout the 14-week program the team researched, surveyed, and collected data to develop actionable recommendations, along with an implementation roadmap to senior Air Force leaders. During this time the ATAC team gained a basic understanding of the SysML model design & development process as practiced by model developers, and the process used by the financial management cost analysis community to analyze a program’s technical characteristics and how they arrive at their cost estimates.”

Recommendations made by the team are intended to provide decision makers with more accurate, relevant, timely and traceable cost data to get the right resources for the right capabilities at the right time.

“Initially the team entertained the possibility of executing a cost estimate within Cameo, a [Model Based Systems Engineering] tool as opposed to the current cost estimation process in excel or [Automated Cost Estimating Integrated Tools] for example,” said Verhoff. “After much trial and error and research the team learned it wasn’t ideal to execute cost estimates in Cameo for a multitude of reasons.  It had a steep learning curve, minimal identifiable benefits, and ultimately wouldn’t have gained much improvement for the cost estimators or programs at large.”

Through hours of research and discussion, the team ultimately narrowed in on a recommendation that incorporates a financial model which captures actual cost data such as Cost and Software Data Reporting (CSDR) or Earned Value Management (EVM) and ties the cost data to technical data in the existing System Engineering Model. 

“The impact of the recommendations is to support data integration which optimizes resource allocation, consolidate and curate data to better provide accurate, expedited, traceable, and consistent cost estimates to fortify budget decisions, and ultimately enable continuous analysis of alternatives and maximize program agility,” said Verhoff.

Cloud joined the program fueled with a strong desire to further enrich his existing experience, embrace new challenges, and improve as both a leader and program manager.

“Over the last four months, I have gained insights into the intricate workings of various functions including cost, logistics, and engineering,” he said. “Additionally, I have had the privilege of engaging with influential figures from government, military, and industry, learning about their leadership philosophies, cutting-edge best practices, and revolutionary technologies.  Beyond the wealth of knowledge the program provides exposure to, it is the friendships and unforgettable memories that I cherish the most.”

A call is sent out to put together two ATAC cohorts per year.  Applicants should be motivated self-starters, ready to lead and work as a member of a high-caliber team. The program is looking for high-performing Captains and Civilians (GS-12/13/NH-03) with four to 10 years of acquisition experience.  Those with 4-10 years of experience are welcome to apply. All functionals are welcome to apply.

Other members of ATAC-14 include:
Ms. Jordan Boring, IT Project Manager, AFLCMC
Mr. Doug Edmonds, Logistics, AFLCMC
Mr. Greg Weaver, Cost Analyst, AFLCMC
Capt Mark Williford, Program Manager, AFLCMC
Capt Diego Carrillo, Engineer, AFMC
Ms. Kerianne Klug, Program Manager, AFLCMC
Mr. Rocky Vo, Engineer, AFLCMC
Capt Caleb Cloud, Program Manager, AFLCMC
Ms. Lindsay Verhoff, Contracting Officer, AFLCMC