Office helps others ‘ACE’ acquisitions

  • Published
  • By Daryl Mayer, AFLCMC Public Affairs
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (AFLCMC) – There is an organization in AFLCMC whose primary purpose is to act as a force multiplier for the broader acquisition workforce.
The Acquisition Center of Excellence, led by Melanie Marshall, is a group of multi-functional experts ready to offer on-demand assessment and advisement to groups facing challenges in the acquisition process.

“We are here to help teams think through those complex strategies and acquisition challenges our program teams are facing today,” Marshall said.
Previously, they focused much of their support on the “pre-award” acquisition phases but the team is now experiencing a growing demand for support across the acquisition lifecycle. While competitive USAF acquisition is much of their demand signal, the ACE also supports FMS and sole source acquisitions.  They offer support across five AFLCMC operating locations.
“I like to say there is no typical support request,’” Marshall said.  “We jump in wherever we’re needed.  Many programs do focus on support in the pre-award acquisition phase, but we are also seeing an increase in programs coming to us for milestone decision support and other execution challenges.” 
The idea behind ACE was to create a team of experts available to all.  They created a broad pool of subject matter experts that can give an objective view from outside the organization.  Without the need to closely track any particular program, the team can focus their energy on keeping current with the latest developments in acquisition tradecraft.
They are also in a good position to carry lessons learned across organizational boundaries on topics such as digital transformation. 
“The team is focused on the mission of helping organizations implement digital across the center,” Marshall said.  “We’re partnered with other organizations like the Center Engineering Directorate, the Digital Transformation Office and the Digital Campaign across the center and command to help implement digital strategies.”
The diversity of assistance they offer drives a commitment to diversity in their personnel.  Marshall said they look for a broad range of skills and experience levels when selecting new members. 
“Most importantly, we are looking for people who not only embrace the acquisition of old but embrace what’s happening in acquisition now and in the future,” she said.    
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