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DOD PEOs meet at Maxwell to discuss challenges, share innovations

Rich Aldridge (center), program executive officer for Air Force Program Executive Office-Business and Enterprise Systems, hosted a PEO Cross-Service Summit at Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Alabama, Jan. 16, 2019. The summit brings together PEOs from across several DOD agencies to discuss and share lessons learned and common challenges and identify best practices to support their related organizational missions and joint ventures. The summits are held quarterly and the locations rotate amongst the agencies. (Courtesy photo)

Rich Aldridge (center), program executive officer for Air Force Program Executive Office-Business and Enterprise Systems, hosted a PEO Cross-Service Summit at Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Alabama, Jan. 16, 2019. The summit brings together PEOs from across several DOD agencies to discuss and share lessons learned and common challenges and identify best practices to support their related organizational missions and joint ventures. The summits are held quarterly and the locations rotate amongst the agencies. (Courtesy photo)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

Program executive officers from several Department of Defense agencies met at the Air Force Program Executive Office-Business and Enterprise Systems headquarters here recently to share information on current and emerging information technology solutions and updates to acquisition processes and policies.

The quarterly PEO Cross-Service Summit, held Jan. 16, 2019, serves as a forum for the PEOs who direct their respective military and government agency’s IT and business systems acquisition programs to share lessons learned, discuss common challenges and identify best practices to support their related organizational missions and joint ventures.

The summit’s theme was “Processes, Policies and Procedures leading toward a Total Agile Organization.”

Defining an organization’s agility is more than just measuring its flexibility and speed in finishing and fielding a product—it’s the shift in its cultural mindsets and processes, said summit host Rich Aldridge, PEO for AF BES.

“The real meaning is shifting software programs to deliver in an agile development methodology, standard practices commercial industry has been doing for over a decade,” he said. “What ‘agile’ fosters is the user, acquirer and developer all sitting together, looking at a prioritized list of requirements and collectively deciding, ‘What can we field to the user in the next three weeks?’”

Agility allows for flexibility, Aldridge added. It allows for the user to change requirements in mid-stream or the development team to adapt to new laws or business processes and delivers capabilities over time and not by a defined date.

Attending the meeting in-person or virtually were military and civilian PEOs from the Defense Information Systems Agency; Army Enterprise Information Systems; Air Force Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks, or C3I&N; Navy Enterprise Information Systems; Defense Logistics Agency; Office of the Undersecretary of Defense; and U.S. Transportation Command.

“These summits are really important because it is our only opportunity to discuss what we’re doing in our respective services,” said Ruth Youngs Lew, Navy PEO EIS. “Whenever we meet to share what we’re doing, we see a ‘leap-ahead’ in the maturation of a concept or idea. One service will work on something and share their lessons learned, then another service will leverage that and leap ahead to the next thing. We’re always learning from each other, building on the work of another service and steadily working forward. It works really well that way.”

During the one-day summit, the PEO’s focused their discussions on innovations and enterprise-wide collaboration opportunities in major areas such as software development, common language for agile contracts, the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System and acquisition and IT reforms and policies.

“Having the PEOs from across the DOD come together helps de-conflict where we might be duplicating efforts and leveraging the really innovative ideas going on out there,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Schmidt, PEO C3I&N.

The Defense Logistics Agency is scheduled to host the next summit in April.

The AFPEO-BES delivers comprehensive IT solutions and provides contracting, acquisition and program management support to Air Force and DOD communities. It acquires, operates, sustains and enables enterprise IT capabilities while bolstering infrastructure modernization in support of the warfighter across the combat and mission support spectrum.