The Training and Simulation Industry Symposium’s (TSIS) first panel of day two, “Accelerated Acquisition: How is the Government Limiting Industry from Moving Faster,” was moderated by Angela M. Alban, president & CEO of SIMETRI, and featured members of industry: Harry Buhl, director of Synthetic training at V2X Inc.; David Emsley, vice president of business development at Cole Engineering Services; John Hayward, CEO of DiSTI; and Carla Holoman, JHT president & chief operating officer.

To begin the discussion, Alban asked the panelists to give examples of when the government could have moved faster and how they could accomplish that.

“Acquisition strategy can have multiple contracts, and you have some set of collaborating and parallel supporting efforts coming together to provide a capability,” said Buhl. “For industry, money is very important to incentivize businesses to continue to deliver capabilities. For that to happen, it is ideal to have as much transparency as possible when it comes to the money available and how it affects the acquisition strategy.”

Buhl also noted that companies are ready to take risks because they want to be part of the solution, but they need to have the information to succeed.

Holoman focused on what she would like the government to continue to do, because it is working well within industry acquisition. “My experience has been that whenever contracting and the technical side are in partnership, they understand the requirements and technical need,” she said. “They are in lockstep with each other, and it works out very smoothly for all parties involved. When there is a lack of understanding it can create turmoil and prevent industry from clearly understanding the requirements involved.”

“A lot of delays in activity tend to be surrounded by unclear requirements from the user community to the acquisition community to the contracting community,” said Emsley. He continued saying that the implementation of cross-functional communication between the different parties could begin to solve some of the questions.

Hayward addressed the disconnect that is often present between industry and the government.

“There are often different visions and different driving factors that can create disconnect despite the best efforts of the government and the corporate stakeholders,” he said. Hayward suggests open dialog between industry and the government to allow industry to have a better understanding of the requirements, which allows them to put together the best solutions to address customer requirements.

“In my experience, access to all the stakeholders helps us meet the mutual goal of getting the best training out for our warfighters,” he concluded.

Though all the panelists had suggestions to improve the relationship between the government and industry, they all shared what they feel has worked well in the past. Buhl spoke about reverse industry days and working in partnership with the government.

“It is all about finding the way to invest and move forward to improve and reach those requirements,” he said, noting that understanding the broader acquisition goals over the specifics will ensure all parties strive for the same goal.

Hayward shared how having open and collaborative discussions about the opportunities reduced the questions back and forth regarding the proposal. “Any insight we can have is always helpful,” he said.

Holoman explained that for a small business, any adjustments to the acquisition cycle can greatly affect business and the need for consistency when it comes to the acquisition cycle. “When industry and the government follow the cycle, industry can get the contracts quickly and ensure the workforce is performing the services.”

“Fundamental business execution and government target execution centers around cost, performance and competition for resources to fulfill requirements,” said Emsley. “The better visibility that the government can provide to industry and maintaining cost schedules on when acquisitions will be solicited are crucial for industry.”

Throughout the entire discussion, the common goals noted were communication and transparency between industry and the government. Improving those leads to the best possible solution and training for our warfighters, which is the top goal for all parties involved, both government and industry.

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