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Transition: MCSC, PEO LS evolve, keeping commands responsive, relevant

US Marine Corps News

By Bill Johnson-Miles | Marine Corps Systems Command | November 06, 2012

11/5/2012 -- QUANTICO, Va. — To continuously improve acquisition programs and personnel management, and to keep standards high and effective, the Marine Corps acquisition team has evolved. Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) realigned under core competencies to "become the systems command the Marine Corps needs and deserves," said Brigadier General Frank Kelley, MCSC’s Commander. The aim, he added, is to strengthen the Command's five primary functions: program management, engineering, contracts, resource management and logistics.

Becoming a competency-aligned organization isn't the only change for the Command. Programs have also transitioned between and among organizations within MCSC and Program Executive Officer Land Systems (PEO LS).

"These executions are key elements in Department of the Navy (DoN) and Marine Corps strategy to adapt to changes in the security and acquisition environments such as declining budgets, managing to payrolls, reduced resources, etc.," Kelley said. "MCSC will be responsive and relevant in this changing strategic environment. As a thinking and learning organization, we will look for future possibilities to gain organizational efficiencies. These actions will enhance MCSC mission capabilities while contributing to DoN's commitment to maximize the value of our personnel and financial resources."

“We had to do something different in order to provide a very rapid, agile workforce that meets the demands of the Marine Corps and the acquisition community as a whole,” added Dr. John Burrow, MCSC Executive Director. “These consolidation efforts will prove to be game changers in the long-term both from an execution and efficiency point of view. So we're excited about it. When you can group similar efforts together, you can leverage resources and capitalize on common functional knowledge and expertise to accomplish the mission with increased efficiency.”

The new groupings and transitions have affected the current makeup of MCSC and PEO LS. The term "Product Groups (PGs)" and PG numbers will no longer be used. Former PG Directors are now Program Managers (PMs), and many former PMs within those PGs are now Product Managers (PdMs). Both commands have also stood up new PMs, and others have received new programs and responsibilities. A listing of the new command structures are posted on MCSC’s website at http://www.marcorsyscom.marines.mil/UnitHome/Organization.aspx.

“We more logically aligned our portfolios and grouped related developmental and legacy programs together,” said Mr. William Taylor, PEO LS. “Collectively, I believe we are better serving the Marine Corps interest by managing our programs much more efficiently as a result. In large part the credit goes to General Kelley for having the courage to kind of step out of the box and do what was obviously the right thing to do.”

The reorganization of the Marine Corps acquisition team is something leadership felt they had to accomplish.

“We felt compelled to redefine the way we do business,” Taylor said. “General Kelley and I came to the obvious conclusion that we had to effect major organizational changes, portfolio realignments in particular, due to the extreme budgetary pressures in order to adapt and manage our programs within the limited resources we have, particularly manpower. We believe the program realignments that we have executed not only were logically aligned programs within similar domains, but we also strongly agreed this will bring more synergy and efficiency between related programs by essentially allowing us to align and do similar work with less manpower.”

Manpower is our most important resource according to Dick Bates, MCSC’s Assistant Director for Programs and the Team Lead for the Strategic Plan Objective 3.2 (SPO 3.2) Team, the team that worked on competency alignment.

“Prior to competency alignment, individual opportunities for development and professional growth were largely overseen by supervisors who may or may not have been in the same career field or job series as their direct reports,” Bates said. “In many cases our supervisors were not fully attuned to the specific requirements of the wide range skill sets they were supervising, nor were they always able to adequately assess the quality of contribution their direct reports were making to team performance.”

Under competency alignment, supervision generally flows within competency chains, providing the workforce with more opportunity for training and advancement.

“For example, engineers are supervised by senior engineers who are in the best position to manage the professional growth of engineers under their leadership and to assess the quality of their work,” said Bates, a retired Marine Corps Colonel. “We believe this new supervisory arrangement will also serve to ensure that individual competency members are being used in positions that serve both their best interests and the interests of the enterprise as whole.”

“Competency alignment allows the competencies to focus on the development of their personnel through varied assignments throughout the Command and leverage best business practices,” added Dominic Foster, Deputy Program Manager for Armor and Fire Support Systems and a member of the SPO 3.2 Team. “It will also allow them to be responsive to the Program Managers' requirements by resourcing across the Command. This will ensure the Command is relevant and responsive in the changing environment.”

“As the environment we've operated in over that past decade shifts, so must we change the way we do business in order to remain relevant,” said Todd Wagenhorst, Deputy Assistant Commander for Programs and a member of the SPO 3.2 Team. “We have been very focused and successful with supporting the war effort – responsive yet inefficient with funding and undisciplined in processes. We are now moving toward a time of reduced resources where affordability drives decisions. It is critical that we operate as a team in a collaborative and well coordinated manner in order to garner as much as possible from our affordability initiatives and remain relevant to our customer – the warfighter.”

It took a huge acquisition team effort to pull it all together.

“There have been a lot of changes, but I really want to let you know how proud we are at Marine Corps Systems Command for everybody’s participation and willingness to make what might appear to be a new organizational structure take place,” General Kelley said. “I really do appreciate everybody’s cooperation and dedication to make this successful.”

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