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ACQUISITION

by COL Gail Washington

When you think of Army acquisition, you might picture PowerPoint briefings, memos for signature, strat egy sessions in the Pentagon, or testimony on Capitol Hill. You probably don’t thinkof innovation in the desert.

But during the past year, a team of military, civilian, and contractor personnel from across the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASAALT) community has expanded what it means to work in acquisition.

As the Army executes Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs) as a key component of the Agile Process, these individuals—engineers, technicians, planners, operations experts, and other staffers of all stripes— are working constantly behind the scenes to ensure a successful transformative process.

The NIE environment—encompassing Fort Bliss, TX, White Sands Missile Range, NM, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, and other sites across the country—poses unique challenges. The sheernumber of Army organizations, industry partners, and Soldiers involved makes coordination a monumental task. The pace of the events is brisk, with one NIE executed every six months and others simultaneously in various stages of planning, risk reduction, and follow-up. Add to that the personal sacrifices that our employees make in support of the NIE mission, and it's clear that this job is not for everyone.

Here’s what it means to be part of the agile acquisition workforce: Put aside your organizational allegiances for the sake of a better-integrated solution for the Soldier; stay flexible and accept that the process will continue to evolve with each NIE cycle; be willing to learn not just in a classroom or from a policy manual, but from those around you and through your own hands-on experience; and even when the work is mundane or complex, keep in mind the big picture—because in the big picture, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The goal of the Agile Process and NIEs is to field integrated capability sets that deliver unprecedented network connectivity to Soldiers for a decisive

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