as a method to harness innovation
for emerging needs, noting that it has
worked well for the National Security
Agency’s mobility work. “Regardless of
who does the work, we definitely need
to tap into that innovation based in
industry,” he declares.
When it comes to improving
DISA’s acquisition processes, industry
already is doing its part, Packard adds.
“Industry responds to sources sought,
responds to requests for information
and participates in industry days and
pre-proposal conferences,” he relates.
“They are actively engaged in better
ways of procurement.” He notes that
industry has given DISA direction
to take advantage of its products and
services in the most efficient and cost-
effective ways possible. “They know
emerging technology better than we do.
They are doing a phenomenal job. I’m
very pleased with our interaction with
Packard also describes small business
participation in acquisition as “phenom-
enal,” as he works closely with DISA’s
director of its Office of Small Business
Programs, Sharon Jones. DISA has a
special focus on Historically Under-
utilized Business Zones (HUBZones)
through a separate sources sought
approach (see page 23).
Packard does offer a caveat to industry. He cautions against leading a program manager toward buying a specific product if many other products
serve its purpose. “I’m very much a
proponent of competition. I do not
want the one-all product sole-sourced
to company X. I want a product we
can buy on the marketplace that ultimately drives prices down, and that
competition is healthy for pricing,
terms and conditions and for delivery
of the product or services by industry,”
Industry also must not take advantage of open dialogue or being
involved in the evaluation process that
is part of procurement in a way that
creates an unfair competitive advantage, Packard warns. If either occurs,
then the offending firm will be ineligible to compete, he declares.
DISA recognizes that it has administrative processes in its bureaucracy—
as do all large organizations, public
and private—and officials work hard
to remove them. They always are open
to constructive criticism. “If [some
process] is not right, then give us the
solution of what would work. It is
much better to know what the art of
the possible is,” Packard attests.
contact: Robert K. Ackerman,
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